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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

IWC: All locked up

Since I seem to be just about the only person on Earth to recognise it: Vote rigging at the International Whaling Commission goes both ways.

On one side we have Japan buying the votes of poor countries to re-activate commercial whaling and on the other we have wealthy land-locked countries voting with NZ to preserve the moratorium and end whaling altogether.

The only time land-locked countries are mentioned is when they are in the pocket of the Japanese. But let's analyse it:

Land-locked members of the IWC and how they voted:-

With Japan:

Against Japan:
    Czech Republic
    San Marino
    Slovak Republic

I'm not saying it's not possible to get a boat up some creek to the tiny mountain micro-state of San Marino or that the Danube might have a fleet that can access the sea... eventually, but really? Yes, Japan plays dirty - but so do her enemies. It behoves us not to get to preachy when we criticise them at trying to play the game too. At least these small, impoverished nations that Japan supports actually get something out of it - stained in Whale blood naturally - but something. Who pays the IWC subs for San Marino? Why is Luxembourg there? Why is Switzerland? Switzerland! Austria! Do they appreciate the similarities of the haunting cry of the whale to their yodelling? They have a tenuous a relationship to the mighty mammals of the oceans as Mali or the Gobi dwellers who have never seen the sea either.

The IWC is real politik - it is a numbers game concentrated on stacking the deck. Their side plays it and so do we. Let's just acknowledge that fact for once instead of wrapping ourselves in our whiter than white and pointing fingers. If "our side" cared as much and/or was smart as the "other side" we would have Liechtenstein and Andorra on the Commission by now. Maybe next time?


At 21/6/06 1:16 pm, Blogger JamesP said...

As I said in Bomber's post. The moratorium only exists because of vote buying by anti whalers. Between '79 and '82 the WWF got 19 new countries to join the IWC thus doubling its original size. And now they get indignant because Japan is playing their game?

The real problem is a system that gives a country like Tuvalu equal say to a country like the USA. If multinational institutions like the IWC are to be taken seriously can we really run them like this?

At 21/6/06 8:19 pm, Blogger Michael said...

Not exactly an original thought, but original thinking as you came up with it independently - Do I get some credit for posting exactly the same thing twelve hours and one minute earlier?


(posted at 11.39am, 20 June 2006)

Although I didn't realise San Marino was a member state that voted - your list is more comprehensive.

At 22/6/06 1:31 am, Blogger t selwyn said...


Not original, true - but very, very, very rarely mentioned. It's good to point out the bias - even if I pick up silver (that's as much credit as I can possibly muster :)

I involuntarily inhaled in amazement when I saw San Marino on the list. I knew before I looked that Japan would not appear nearly as dodgy if a list were made - but I never thought it would be 2-7 against "our side".


Good points. I never knew that history - but it makes sense.

If each sovereign independent country has to accept other countries as equals (with no UN Security Council-type jack-ups/vetos etc) then having Tuvalu as an equal member as NZ and the USA etc. is a given. The poor, under-resourced "undeveloped" nations like Tuvalu must accept those millions from Japan - their voters would probably demand it - and if our island was sinking (?) and Japan offered us 10-20% (?) budget support for one single vote on some conference in the Caribbean over some animal that we wouldn't kill in our area anyway but can live with a "sustainablity" principle in areas we don't have anything to do with... then we would have to take that aid money too. We have the luxury of criticising these small countries. The system sucks - what's new?

Norway apparently still turns up but ignores the ban. The problem with getting tough is that Japan and Norway and Iceland will not bother to stay in the IWC in the hope of eventually winning - but they might form their own commission with their allies. It would be cheaper for them...

What I don't like is that the IWC can ban Japanese coastal whaling on one hand - and on the other hand can also allow Japan to "scientifically" kill thousands in the Southern Ocean - our backyard. Japan should be allowed to harvest within a quota in their area and we should be allowed to ban it altogether totally in our area. But they are all playing an all or nothing game.

At 24/6/06 12:38 am, Blogger t selwyn said...

And I also found Metcalf's post points out the land-locked issue a day beforehand. Maybe New Zealanders are just more on to it.

At 29/6/06 8:52 pm, Blogger David said...

Heh, you all lose. I had this noted at
http://whaling-faq.blogspot.com ages ago ;-)

But then, I saw it at the IWMC before that...


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