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A step Forward in Saving the Whales

Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer
New Zealand’s Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission

10 November 2005

A step Forward in Saving the Whales

“The Buenos Aires Declaration is a significant step forward in the fight to save the Whales,” New Zealand’s Commissioner to the IWC said today, on his return from the meeting in Argentina.

“The Latin American and the southern hemisphere nations present at the two day meeting are determined that their voices will be heard.

“ For too long the whaling nations have simply ignored the anti-whaling sentiment in this part of the world,” Sir Geoffrey said.

“There are some great whale watch programmes in South America and there was a strong conservation ethic evident at this meeting.

“New Zealand played an active part in this meeting and we celebrate the coming together of this important regional grouping.

“As the Declaration makes clear the strong view of the meeting was against the lethal use of cetaceans.”

The Declaration makes clear there is strong support for:
. retention of the current moratorium on commercial whaling
. the need to move forward in the IWC and resolve differences
.the promotion of whale sanctuaries in the South Atlantic and Pacific
. the termination of special permit whaling for so called scientific purposes and limiting scientific research to non-lethal means
. the promotion wider participation of the developing countries in the IWC especially scientists
. the elimination of prolonged and cruel practices involved in the killing of whales that cause unnecessary suffering
. support for the Conservation Committee
.reassertion of the rights of coastal communities to benefit from the non-lethal use of cetaceans

“This Declaration marks a new era in the protection of whales in the southern hemisphere. I look forward to continuing cooperation between the countries who are party to this declaration,” Sir Geoffrey concluded.

[The English version of the declaration]

The Buenos Aires Declaration

I.- The Commissioners to the International Whaling Commission from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico convened on 7 and 8 November 2005 in the city of Buenos Aires. The representatives from Costa Rica and Peru as well as the Embassy of Panama were present. Diplomatic observers from the Embassies of Colombia, Ecuador and Uruguay also participated from the Latin-American region.

The Commissioners from Australia and New Zealand and a representative from the South African Embassy were invited and attended reflecting common concern on issues regarding Southern Hemisphere whale conservation. The Spanish Commissioner was also present at this meeting.

II.- Latin-American IWC and Southern Hemisphere Member States present decided to foster and enhance the coordination of their policies regarding the International Whaling Commission.

III.- The meeting agreed that:

1. The non-lethal use of cetaceans is a permanent commitment of the countries of the Latin-American and Southern Hemisphere regions represented at this meeting.

2. High quality and well implemented whale watching promotes economic growth and social and cultural development of local communities, bringing educational and scientific benefits, whilst contributing to the protection of cetacean populations. The development of whale watching and non-lethal scientific research are activities of which should be supported and encouraged by countries of the Latin-America and the Southern Hemisphere regions.

IV.- The meeting, wishing to stimulate new and constructive approaches to resolving differences in the IWC, agreed the following:

1. Retention of the current moratorium on commercial whaling.

2. Study means of compliance with the Convention and the advisability of holding a diplomatic meeting on the future of the IWC as well as promoting other potential alternatives for negotiating solutions for the current differences in the IWC.

3. Promotion within the IWC of the South Atlantic and South Pacific whale sanctuaries.

4. That recalling Resolution IWC 2005-1, Special Permit whaling should be terminated and scientific research limited to non-lethal methods.

5. Promotion of wider participation of developing countries in the IWC, particularly the attendance of scientists from such States in the Scientific Committee.

6. That whale killing methods must be studied in depth regularly, eliminating methods that cause prolonged, cruel and unnecessary suffering of the animals.

7. Reassertion of the importance of the work of the Conservation Committee of the IWC.

8. To work jointly on budgetary issues and to explore arrangements to allow the full participation of those countries that may have temporary difficulties in the payment of their arrears.

9. Promotion in international bodies of coordinated participation and active cooperation of the Governments of the region and the Southern Hemisphere with interests in the protection, conservation and non-lethal use of cetaceans.

10. Reassertion of the rights of their coastal communities to benefit from the non-lethal use of cetaceans just as other communities elsewhere benefit from aboriginal subsistence whaling, and follow up closely on the developments related to this latter activity.

V.- The Commissioners present support Chile as the venue for the IWC meeting in 2008.

VI.- The Commissioners of the Latin-American region especially acknowledge the presence of the representatives of other Latin-American countries and welcome the interest in whale conservation.

They also recognize the participation of the Commissioners of Australia and New Zealand and the Representative of the Embassy of South Africa who participated in this deliberation, whilst registering with particular affection the presence, participation and support of the Commissioner from Spain.


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