An NGO Introduction for Media and Interested Parties
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was established as a diplomatic by-product of the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), a formal international treaty organization formed to address the problem of depleting global whale stocks. As prescribed by the ICRW, the Commission has member nations who appoint Commissioners and Delegates to represent them at IWC meetings and in the general conduct of IWC business. The Commission has a Secretariat comprised of professional and administrative staff responsible for administering and overseeing IWC business as directed by member countries.
Note: The International Whaling Commission has its own web site that contains important documents relative to the Commission (historically) and specific to the 57th Annual Meeting. These include the "Convention" (original text); the "Schedule" (current list of whaling regulations); "Rules of Procedure" and documents specific to the 2005 Annual meeting (most notably, the 2005 Annotated Agenda).
Also look for the "Chairman's Report" of the 2004 meeting. Go to www.iwcoffice.org
IWC Annual Meetings
The most public aspect of the International Whaling Commission remains their Annual Meetings (this year, the 57th IWC Annual Meeting is being held in Ulsan, Republic of Korea). The IWC's Scientific Committee meets 30 May - 10 June. This is followed by a week of Sub-Committee and Working Group meetings, 13 - 18 June, with the formal Plenary meeting occurring 20 - 24 June.
Who’s A Member?
Please see list at end of document. Currently, the IWC has 61 member nations. However, a number of countries are rumoured to be “close” to joining the Commission, and are expected to do so just prior to the Ulsan meeting. Given that the IWC is a formal international treaty organization, interested countries (national governments) must submit a formal Instrument of Notification (to the depository country of record - the United States, in this case) in order to become a Party to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. Since last year’s IWC Annual Meeting (Sorrento, Italy, 10-22 July 2004) the nations of Kiribati, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, and Mali have each submitted the proper diplomatic instruments as required by the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling and are now recognized parties to the treaty. They are expected to attend the 57th IWC Annual Meeting in Ulsan. Many NGOs believe that the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic will support whale conservation and take a strong conservative view of motions to advance commercial whaling. Kiribati and Mali are expected to support Japan and the advancement of whale killing.
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For more information contact:
Daniel J. Morast
International Wildlife Coalition
70 East Falmouth Highway
East Falmouth, Massachusetts 02536
WWF Global Species Programme