Friday, June 01, 2007

Troubled waters in Anchorage

After a week in the crowded plenary room of the IWC meeting talking about whales in Anchorage, I look forward to spending a few days to see and enjoy whales and other natural features of Alaska before returning home.

The IWC meeting started in calm waters with everyone pretending to be friendly-friendly. But this was the calm that preceeds the storm.

In the first two days of the meeting, delegates did their best to pretend that there wasn't a "pro-" and an "anti-whaling" block, to offset the verbal violence that characterized the previous annual meeting in St Kitts & Nevis a year ago. But the reality is that there is one group that is trying to hold the dyke to prevent the international whale conservation regime from falling apart, while another group is busy eroding it further. It's hard to know for how long the pro-conservation countries can continue with their fingers in the holes in the dyke.

The IWC decided today to hold, before its next annual meeting, a special meeting to discuss its long-term future. There were hardly any comments from NGOs and the press about this decision. Yet, that special meeting may be the last opportunity to restore the IWC edifice before we need to rebuild it from the ashes.

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