While The Voting Stops, Killing Whales Does Not

Day one of the International Whaling Commission meeting is wrapping up and I thought I’d update you on the latest happenings from Santiago. In a surprise move non-government organizations (NGOs) are going to be allowed to address the commission during plenary session. It’s been about ten years since this happened last. (I think the last non-government representative to address the IWC during plenary was John Denver.)

It’s a delicate situation as IWC chair Bill Hogarth does not want
anything mentioned that could upset either side and throw off the trust
building atmosphere.  For example: I doubt I’d have much support for
standing up to speak on ‘vote consolidation’. On the same count I doubt
any pro-whaling NGO accuse us of all being a bunch of tree huggers.
Giving NGO’s an opportunity to speak to the assembled commissioners is
a huge deal.  It acknowledges the millions around the world concerned
about whales is bigger than any government, and deserves to be
recognized as such.  A ton of thought is going into how we can make the
most of such an opportunity.  Of course, I’ll be sure to keep you
updated as soon as any developments happen.

It’s very possible there could be no votes at this years Commission
meeting and while negotiating, trust building between opposing sides,
and moving forward by consensus are all great characteristics of a
forward looking team, in the end there cant be any compromise on the
commercial killing of whales.  If no votes happen it means the IWC has
frozen itself in time to work out their own internal administrative
issues while the protection the world’s complete halts.  Scary stuff
when you think about it.   If the IWC is in a state of suspended
animation, it means that Japan is still whaling in the North Pacific and will again
depart for the Southern Ocean in the October. While the voting stops,
the killing of whales does not.

and on a final note…

Give a warm welcome to the latest nation to join the IWC earlier today, Tanzania.

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