This is the end

IWC 2012 Day Five

With apologies to The Doors, here are a few notes from the last day of IWC 2012:

  • Monaco modified its strategy for involving the United Nations in the fate of migratory whales in the high seas, and withdrew its resolution.  The resolution was doomed from the start because of Japan’s opposition, though it clearly had substantial majority support in the room.  Rather than press the issue to a vote on this occasion, Monaco issued an open invitation to interested countries to work towards its UN goal.  Numerous countries have expressed interest, so doubtless Monaco’s dream idea will resurface at the next IWC meeting.
  • Japan failed in its attempt to create an ad hoc working group to resolve the issue of “small type” coastal whaling.
  • The Commission agreed to move from annual to biennial meetings, so the next IWC meeting will be held in 2014.  There were no offers to host the meeting, so the locale is unknown.
  • The Scientific Committee will continue to meet annually.  Its next meeting will be held in South Korea, in May-June 2013.
  • The new Chair of the IWC is Saint Lucia Commissioner Jeannine Compton-Antoine.  The Vice Chair is Belgium Commissioner Frederic Chemay.
  • The Commission established a Bureau to handle its affairs between meetings.  This currently consists of the Chair (St. Lucia) Vice Chair (Belgium) Chair of the Finance & Administration Committee (Australia) and 4 other members who represent the range of views in the Commission (USA, Japan, Ghana, Panama).
  • A significant disagreement followed the proposal that unpaid fees will be subject to an interest charge of 2% above the bank rate at the time of non-payment, and a vote was held.  The proposal by St. Kitts and Nevis to peg interest at a flat rate of 2% was defeated, with 73% opposed.   The upshot was that the proposal of the Finance & Administration Committee regarding payment of fees was accepted by consensus.
  • A resolution aimed at providing financial assistance to small developing nations in order for them to participate more fully in the work of the Commission was tabled and referred to an intercessional working group.
  • The meeting’s Swiss Chair received applause from all sides for his efficient and fair conduct of the meeting, which ended at 1750.

Additional comments on the meeting will be posted at www.orcalab.org/blog soon.

by Paul Spong,

July 6, 2012

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