On Friday, the final day of IWC-67, delegates wrapped up all remaining agenda items under Chair Morishita’s leadership.
Delegates voted on Japan’s revised ‘Way Forward’ proposal. To address the fact that the proposal included both a Schedule amendment and resolution, which have different voting thresholds (simple majority for resolutions), Japan proposed revised text establishing that the resolution would only go forward on the condition that the Schedule amendment was adopted by the Commission (requiring a three-fourths majority). The final vote was 27 in favor, 41 opposed, and two abstentions.
Statements made after the vote included comments on: support for the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, including marine mammals; and the need for the IWC to spend more time striving for consensus and understanding divergent visions. Masaaki Taniai, Japan’s Vice-Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, expressed disappointment over the outcome and said Japan will undertake a fundamental reassessment of its position in the IWC, scrutinizing every option.
Delegates adopted, without further revision, the reports of the Scientific, Conservation, and Finance and Administration Committees; the Infractions, Budgetary, Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Sub-Committees; and the Whale Killing Methods and Welfare Issues Working Group. The report of the Standing Working Group on Special Permit Programmes was adopted after agreeing to include in the Chair’s summary report a statement reflecting Japan’s opposition to the report and a list of other countries supporting Japan’s position.
Delegates elected Robert Suydam (US) as the Scientific Committee Chair (SC) and Alexandre Zerbini (Brazil) as the SC Vice-Chair, with many congratulations extended for outgoing SC Chair Caterina Fortuna.
Australia was elected as the new Budgetary Sub-Committee Chair and Switzerland as Vice-Chair.
Adding a bit of levity toward the close of the meeting, Haydée Rodriguez Romero, Costa Rica, was the top vote-getter in a contest for the best whale-themed jewelry.
The meeting elected a new Bureau, with Andrej Bibič (Slovenia) as IWC Chair and Amadou Diallo (Guinea) as Vice-Chair, and accepted Slovenia’s offer to host IWC-68 in Portorož, Slovenia in 2020.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Ángeles Estrada
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