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The IWC is gathering in Portoroz, Slovenia for the first full Commission meeting in four years.  Usually biennial, the meeting was postponed due to the global pandemic, and the first substantive item on the plenary agenda is the financial impact of Covid-19 on IWC payment schedules, arrears and voting status.  This item leads an intensive agenda including a range of proposals related to budgetary and governance reform.

Member governments have tabled Resolutions on plastic pollution, food security and a programme aimed towards lifting of the moratorium on commercial whaling. If any of these proposals are unable to reach consensus a vote can be requested by the proponents, with a simple majority required in order to adopt the Resolution. 

The creation of a new whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic is another key proposal.  Unlike a Resolution, this proposal would require an amendment to the IWC's legally binding Schedule which can be achieved either by consensus or a three-quarters majority vote.     

The Commission will also receive updates and recommendations on a wide range of work programmes including assessments of individual whale stocks, strandings and entanglement response, aboriginal subsistence whaling and bycatch mitigation.

The meeting runs from 13-21 October.  It begins with sub-committee sessions which report into a five-day plenary session. 

The plenary sessions are 17-21 October and will be broadcast live on the IWC YouTube channel