Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Nothing to celebrate

I am writing from the plenary room of the IWC meeting here in Agadir, where (as it was becoming obvious yesterday) the members States one after the other are declaring dead the negotiation process initiated three years ago to seek an exit to two decades of impasse on whale conservation.

After two days of meetings behind closed doors, they had no courage and no political will, and they threw the baby with the bath water.

The big winners are the three countries, Japan, Iceland and Norway who can go home with the assurance that they can kill thousands of whales with no international control.

And there are two big losers:

The whales of course, who will continue to be hunted commercially (or scientifically as Japan says), including in the Southern Ocean “sanctuary”. The credibility of the IWC is next to nil now, but this is not all.

The incapacity of the 88 IWC members is bad news for the broader picture of international environmental governance too. If the international community is not capable of fixing an issue like this one, where – after all – the interests at stake are very limited and small, what hope does this leave us with that governments will put aside their narrow national interests and principles when they face much more important and complex challenges, such as climate change?

The Environment Minister of Australia, Peter Garrett has just said that the collapse of Agadir (to which he has contributed actively) “is not the end of the world”. Well, I’m not so sure.

(Click here for the Spanish version published by the Spanish news agency EFE)

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