We have been fortunate to get a better version of the Russian smoking intervention from yeterday, so whilst we struggle to work in the heat here in Madeira and the lives of whales hang in the balance. Perhaps this will cheer us all up:
Russian Federation – would like to get back to history of the issue. In 1931 it was Norway which proposed to sign convention because of problems managing whale stocks and the basis was national legislation of Norway. In 1946 a new convention was adopted and this is the convention we have now but Norway provided the basis for this. Norway expressed their concern about whale stocks but today it is Norway being accused of not regulating the stocks – at the annual meeting in St Kitts, Japan proposed normalising activity of IWC. In anchorage members of convention agreed this normalisation was important but then this changed to future of the commission and now Japan is being accused of not making a compromise. People say IWC is divided and I cannot define which of these two groups the Russian federation belongs too. We have a reservation to the moratorium so if we follow logic we are pro whaling but not using this reservation so are we an anti whaling country? We have the right to use special permit but not using it so are we an anti-whaling country again? Last year at Heathrow we agreed to create a sanctuary of the entire ocean so we are an anti whaling country. We agreed to resolve issue of special permits on the basis that coastal whaling would be proposed and agreed to the setting up of SWG. We agree with the resolution which again proposed a SWG and support group but this is exactly the same as before. A year has passed and lots of money spent yet we are still at the start of the route so what has been done during this past year? We are told to avoid political clashes and we seem to have taken a step back, the scientific committee no use any more and the special permit issue can be decided by the commission rather than SC. EU has adopted a directive for three years ahead, South Pacific states have joined the EU. We have formed a small smoking group! I believe this group has reached a consensus and is avoiding political issues but it turns out one of the members would like to discuss issues in sunshine not rain so propose we should go to a swimming pool, where the water surrounds us and discuss and have a smoke! It looks like we are turning into a swimming pool where we discuss the same issues we have seen in the past. As long as we agree not to smoke whatever the weather outside we will not be able to reach agreement. We need to define a precise procedure for selecting members for the small working group and support group. If we continue raising political issues we will just spend more money and end up with nothing. Cigarettes are expensive these days!
So we hope that is all clear now.