During this intense 5 day meeting (of which we are on Day 2) a number of key items will be up for vote, some of them for a second attempt. One such proposal is that of the South American countries for a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary. This is the second attempt to introduce this proposal and unfortunately yesterday the vote failed to achieve a 2/3 majority. Other key issues that are on the table include the Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling quotas, that include those of the bowhead whale for the Alaskan Inupiat and Russian subsistence groups. The US have been fighting hard to get these quotas approved and many would argue have resorted to some interesting politics to obtain the support of Japan. However, it is not news that the politics of the IWC is interesting to say the least! But I have only brushed the surface and the week is packed with items including whale-watching, small cetacean conservation, ship strikes, small type coastal whaling (this one is of keen interest to the Japanese), the revised management plan and many more.
The IWC website has provided access to the meetings schedule as well as key reports of the scientific committee (that met in the weeks prior to this 64th meeting). http://iwcoffice.org/meetings/meeting2012.htm
Another good source of information from an NGOs perspective is the ACS (American Cetacean Society). Cheryl McCormick (Executive Director of the ACS) is currently at the IWC meeting in Panama and actively blogging, posting detailed reports of the proceedings (often with a rather witty slant). Check out her blog 'IWC: The World is Watching!'
I will post a summary of this weeks events in Panama early next week and highlight the key developments and outcomes. I'll also save and post any interesting news articles that I find related to this years' meeting.