IWC day four: so the band plays on – June 25th 2009

This 61st meeting of the International Whaling Commission began with a wonderful medley from Madeira’s Mandolin Orchestra, the oldest such in Europe.  It brought back memories of a former time when families sat around the radio, imagining themselves stepping off a train into a crowded street where music played and people danced in each others […]

IWC day three: on the edge – June 24th 2009

It became clear today that this 61st meeting of the IWC has only one substantive item on its agenda, Greenland’s attempt to obtain the Commission’s approval for killing humpback whales.  Just before the afternoon session closed (it was running an hour late) Denmark announced that its request on behalf of Greenland was being reduced from […]

IWC Day Two: Greenland humpbacks: to kill or not – June 23rd 2009

The morning session of IWC 61 (’09) Day Two was taken up by discussion of the “future” of the IWC, and the need to continue Chairman Hogarth’s efforts to resolve the deadlock that has arisen in negotiations, i.e. the failure of wishful thinking.  The meeting was presented with a draft document titled “Consensus resolution on […]

Under the volcano – June 22 2009

This year’s meeting of the international Whaling Commission (IWC) is its 61st, and is being held in Portugal’s Atlantic island paradise of Madeira.  There, starting today, delegations from more than 80 countries are once again gathered to debate and determine the fate of whales.  It seems oddly appropriate that the meeting is being held in […]

IWC 60 wrapup: back to the future – July 4th 2008

More than 500 people from 76 countries attended the 60th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Santiago, Chile.  Of these, 316 were members of delegations, 161 were observers and 103 were media representatives. As a planet burning exercise (in accumulating air miles) it was no doubt a great success, but as a […]

IWC 60 day five: going, going… – June 27th 2008

Perhaps the most telling sign at the end of IWC 60 was that no-one wants to host the 2010 meeting. Usually, someone steps forward willingly, and quite often there is a competition. Last year, there were offers from Japan and Portugal, but Japan’s offer was withdrawn in response to what it perceived as unfair treatment, […]

IWC 60 day four: the war zone – June 26th 2008

It wasn’t difficult to discern by the end of yesterday that the fragile truce engineered by Chairman Hogarth was breaking down. This morning it shattered. The precipitating cause was Denmark’s request on behalf of Greenland to add 10 humpbacks per year, for the next 5 years, to its long list of large and small whales […]

IWC 60 day three: once more unto the breach – June 25th 2008

It wasn’t quite open warfare, but the third day of this Wonderland exercise in Santiago came close a couple of times. The consensus approach so dear to the heart of Chairman Hogarth never was a declared truce, more like a bunch of former but still active opponents standing around, uncomfortably, at a peace conference; neither […]

IWC 60 day two: a closed shop – June 24th 2008

The morning session of today’s IWC meeting in Santiago lasted all of 33 minutes. It was a perfect indicator of how things are going here. During that brief time, the Chair finished dealing with the most important item on this meeting’ s agenda – the future of the IWC. A document, circulated by hand to […]