IWC-67 opened Monday in Florianópolis, Brazil, chaired by Joji Morishita (Japan). Participants include representatives from 75 of the 89 IWC contracting parties, one non-member government, four intergovernmental organizations, and 80 non-governmental organizations.Delegates heard opening remarks from: Edson Duarte, Minister of the Environment, Brazil; Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Australia; Masaaki Taniai, Vice-Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan; Mitsunari Okamoto, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan; and from new IWC members from São Tomé and Príncipe, and Liberia. IWC Executive Secretary Rebecca Lent then reported on the status of credentials and voting rights of different parties.Delegates heard presentations from the Scientific Committee and the Conservation Committee on work since IWC-66 held in 2016.They also heard a presentation on an independent review of the IWC and then adopted a resolution to develop an implementation plan on institutional and governance reform for consideration by IWC-67 in 2020.
After overview presentations on Schedule amendments, delegates deferred further action, pending discussion in informal groups, on:
- aboriginal subsistence whaling;
- South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary; and
- setting catch limits for certain whale species.
After presentations on draft resolutions, delegates also deferred further review pending informal discussion. The draft resolutions were on:
- anthropogenic noise;
- food security;
- the way forward for the IWC;
- ghost gear entanglement among cetaceans;
- Agenda 2030;
- the Florianópolis Declaration; and
- advancing work on the role of cetaceans in the ecosystem functioning.
By the end of the first day, the character of IWC-67 was taking shape, including:
- a steady workflow through the agenda items; and
- the significance of proposals submitted by Japan, seeking introduction of sustainable use whaling, and by Brazil: defining the IWC’s forward-looking role as focused on 21st century threats to conservation of whale populations.
In the evening, participants attended a welcome reception hosted by the Ministry of the Environment, Government of Brazil.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Ángeles Estrada
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