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MARCH 2008 Intersessional Meeting

 Intersessional meeting on the future of the IWC, London, 2008

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Chair's Report Chair's Report of the Intersessional meeting (pdf)
Press Release 1 The Future of the IWC
Press Release 2 Statement on Safety at Sea
Background Background information
Agenda Draft Agenda and invited participants
Documents Documents to download



Chair's Report

pdf-icon.gif Chair's Report (420Kb)


“The intersessional meeting has spent three days discussing positive ways forward for the IWC”, Dr. Hogarth, the Commission’s Chair, said today releasing a statement summing up the meeting.

“The IWC has in recent years shown increasing signs of polarisation and has reached something of an impasse.  That is why the Annual Meeting in Anchorage last year decided to hold this London meeting,” he said.

“To assist in this process, the Commission obtained the assistance of Prof. Calestous Juma, from Harvard Kennedy School, Ambassador Raúl Estrada-Oyuela and Ambassador Alvaro de Soto, all of whom have extensive and high-level experience with a range of challenging international issues.”

“Intensive discussions following the presentations of the outside experts isolated a number of issues that the Commission will consider in order to improve its practice and procedures,” Dr. Hogarth said.

Among these suggestions were:

  • make better efforts to reach decisions by consensus;
  • reduce the use of voting
  • adopt measures to ensure adequate notice of matters to be considered to reduce surprises;
  • employ cooling off periods when difficulties arise;
  • consider using small negotiating groups;
  • improve the co-ordination between the IWC and other relevant international conventions;
  • discuss how to assist the Chair in the running of meetings;
  • discuss how to better integrate elements of civil society into the Commission’s work;
  • consider whether to change the time of meetings of the Scientific Committee in order to provide more time for consideration of its work and to undertake a review of its composition and function.

“I will present a report of the meeting to the Commission and in consultation with others develop a series of recommendations for improved procedures to take the Commission forward, at the forthcoming Annual Meeting in Chile in June 2008.”



The Meeting recalled Commission resolution 2007-2 entitled “Resolution on Safety at Sea and Protection of the Environment” as well as resolution 2006-2 entitled “Resolution on the Safety of Vessels engaged in Whaling and Whale Research-related Activities”, both of which had been adopted by consensus by the Commission. It noted reports of dangerous actions by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in the Southern Ocean in recent months directed against Japanese vessels.

It called upon the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to refrain from dangerous actions that jeopardise safety at sea, and on vessels and crews concerned to exercise restraint. The meeting reiterated that the Commission and its Contracting Governments do not condone and in fact condemn any actions that are a risk to human life and property in relation to the activities of vessels at sea. It urged Contracting Governments to take actions, in accordance with relevant rules of international law and respective national laws and regulations, to cooperate to prevent and suppress actions that risk human life and property at sea and with respect to alleged offenders. The Meeting recalled that accreditation for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as an observer to the Commission had been denied since 1987 because of unacceptable behaviour and tactics.



Meeting Documents
Draft agenda ðIWC-M08-1.pdf
List of Participants ðIWC-M08-2.pdf
List of documents ðIWC-M08-3.pdf
Responses to the ‘call for input’ ðIWC-M08-4.pdf
Information Documents
Extract from the Draft Chair’s Report of the 59th Annual Meeting, i.e. the section dealing with discussions under item 7 of the IWC/59 agenda, ‘The IWC in the Future’
Summary Report of the Conference for the Normalization of the International Whaling Commission, February 13-15, 2007, Tokyo, Japan (Submitted by the Republic of Palau) [Originally available at IWC/59 as IWC/59/7]
Chair’s Summary Report of the Symposium on the State of Conservation of Whales in the 21st Century, 12-13 April 2007, New York (Submitted by New Zealand) [Originally available at IWC/59 as IWC/59/11]
Declaration Submitted by Argentina [Originally available at IWC/59 as IWC/59/28]
Provisional Schedule for IWC/60, Santiago, Chile, 2008 [Originally available at IWC/59 as IWC/59/6]
Latin American Meeting for the Conservation of Cetaceans, Buenos Aires, 4-5 December 2007 [Originally made available at the request of Argentina via Circular Communication IWC.CCG.658 of 21 December 2007]
Latin American Co-operation Strategy for the Conservation of Cetaceans [Originally made available at the request of Argentina via Circular Communication IWC.CCG.669 of 12 February 2007 – replacing that provided via Circular Communication of IWC.CCG.658]
Déclaration du Groupe de Pays Africains Membres de la Commission Baleinière Internationale (CBI).  Symposium sur I’Utilisation Durable des Ressources Marines Vivantes de la Region Africaine, Rabat, 11-12 Février 2008 [Originally made available at the request of the Republic of Guinea via Circular Communication IWC.CCG.672 of 26 February 2008]
The Second Pew Whale Symposium, Tokyo, 30-31 January, 2008.  Chairman’s Summary: Judge Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Symposium Chairman (submitted by the Netherlands and Argentina)
Intersessional Meeting on the Future of IWC (submitted by Croatia)
Whale Conservation and Management: A Future for the IWC (submitted by Australia)