IWC plenary session adjourned for one and one-half days

22 June 2010

Following the administrative opening of the plenary session of the International Whaling Commission on Monday 21st June, Vice Chair Anthony Liverpool adjourned the meeting for one and one-half days. During this period, Commissioners would meet in small groups to negotiate the proposed Consensus Decision for the Conservation of Whales in private; non-governmental organizations like the Cousteau Society are prohibited from many areas of the Convention Centre, where the action takes place, lest they interfere with the lobbying efforts of compromise advocates.

This blatant demonstration of disregard for transparency and accountability means wasted time and money for more than 130 representatives of public interest in decisions that will affect the future not only of the Commission but also of whales. Yes, we are able to cadge occasional hints of the direction of discussions but we are kept from verifying our own governments’ positions. NGOs are also being excluded, in terms of their contributions to the Commission’s business, by a strict limitation to one-half hour for interventions when plenary resumes.

“Frustration” and “disappointment” are the bywords of the day. We look forward to nine o’clock tomorrow morning to hear what spin is put on the results of this hiatus. Suspicion Is strong that no more will be accomplished to improve the conservation of whales during this interim than would be accomplished in the proposed ten-year interim of the Consensus Decision.

Agadir (Maroc) - Clark Lee Merriam and Noémie Stroh - The Cousteau Society