The 2016 biennial Commission meeting of the IWC will be held at the Grand Hotel Bernardin, Portoroz, Slovenia.
At the end of January, an expert panel will gather in Tokyo to review Japan's proposal for a new, special permit whaling research programme in the western North Pacific.
International law (the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW)) gives responsibility for special permit whaling to individual governments, not the IWC. Although the IWC does not regulate special permit whaling, the ICRW does stipulate that any country undertaking special permit whaling should report to the IWC each time a permit is issued.
It also states that the scientific information produced by a special permit whaling programme should be presented to the Commission. This information is received by the IWC Scientific Committee which reviews all special permit whaling proposals and the results of any programmes using a process known as 'Annex P,'
This new proposal, known as NEWREP-NP, was circulated last November and will be reviewed by a small, specialist panel of invited experts, according to the Annex P guidelines. Their discussions and conclusions will be published in a report, submitted to the Scientific Committee for wider debate at its meeting in May. The advice of the Scientific Committee will then be presented for consideration by the Commission when it meets next year.
The report of this panel will be available publicly on the IWC website at least forty days before this year's Scientific Committee meeting.
To read the proposal from the Government of Japan, click here.