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Chadwick optimistic about a more effective IWC

10 March 2008 Media Release

Chadwick optimistic about a more effective IWC

A new more flexible approach to working at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has been agreed at a special meeting in London, says Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick.

Intensive discussions took place at the London meeting exploring new ways to try to break the current stalemate between pro and anti whaling countries at the IWC.

Steve Chadwick says member countries have agreed to try a more flexible approach to better negotiate whaling issues, and she’s optimistic this marks a significant step forward for the IWC.

A number of new techniques were suggested to modernise the IWC, including:

- making better efforts to reach decisions by consensus
- reducing the use of voting
- employing cooling off periods when difficulties arise
- considering the use of small negotiating groups
- improving co-ordination between the IWC and other relevant international conventions.

Steve Chadwick is welcoming this as a positive move to create a new culture of diplomacy at the IWC, rather than confrontation which has dominated this international body in the past.

“Hopefully this will break the current deadlock at the IWC. Roughly half of the 77 members are against whaling, and half are for whaling. As a result, it has been stuck at something of an impasse.

“This new approach aims to better progress whaling issues. New Zealand is strongly opposed to Japan’s whaling in the Southern Ocean, and totally rejects that lethal whaling is needed for scientific research.

“We will continue to work through diplomatic and other channels to reaffirm our strong anti-whaling position and to urge Japan to end lethal scientific whaling.”

“The outcome of the meeting in London is a great step forward for the IWC, although this shift to a better functioning IWC will take time. I am confident we will have a more productive annual IWC meeting in Chile in June because of it.”

ENDS

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