Thursday, April 8, 2010

Understanding the IWC

One of the great challenges of working on international environmental issues is trying to understand the various international agreements that govern international whaling, trade in endangered species, the Antarctic, etc. Having attended an Antarctic Treaty meeting last year I can say that without having the same experience as my colleagues at ASOC I have a hard time figuring out all the politics and subtle issues that influence each country's position. Likewise the developments in whaling over the past few weeks have been a little difficult for observers of the International Whaling Commission to accept - New Zealand and the United States going along with plans by whaling nations? Insane. How did we get to a place where countries that are in the minority of world opinion are able to dominate the IWC? Lucky for us Sidney Holt, ASOC's representative at IWC meetings and expert on whaling issues, has been providing some excellent historical background over at the IFAW whale blog. You'd be hard pressed to find someone better-suited to report on all the intricacies of the IWC over the years, as Dr. Holt has had a front-row seat to IWC operations in multiple capacities - as a scientist, as a member of a government delegation, and as an advocate for whale conservation. Check it out!

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