Monday, May 28, 2007

Whale conference starts

I took this photo this morning at the entrance of The Whale Tail, the pub of the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska where the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting just started. There is whale and whaling paraphenalia everywhere here in Anchorage.

Check out the Pew Whales website, an extension of the original Pew-sponsored New York Symposium website.

We had a successful Side Event yesterday here, to present the New York Symposium outcome. Approximately 120 delegates attended the Side Event. This is good because the New York Symposium outcome will be discussed tomorrow afternoon under Item 7 "The IWC in the Future" at the IWC Plenary. We also had a short press conference this morning, where Monica Medina of Pew drew attention to the letters of a significant number of US legislators demanding the Bush Administration to actively support the conservation of whales. We also called upon the IWC to modernize in line with the principles and practice of the majority of modern multilateral environmental agreements.

As I am writing this post from the Plenary room (great WIFI connection), the delegate from Ecuador is speaking to explain why his country decided to rejoin the Commission, to support the international efforts to conserve whales. The group of signatories of the pro-conservation Latin American Buenos Aires Declaration that promotes the non-lethal use of whales (whale watching and other benign research methods) has become a real super-power within the IWC.

At the last count, there are 73 countries present here in Anchorage, the majority of which should be in favour of the continuation of the moratorium on commercial whaling.

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