ASCOBANS has introduced an award for lifetime achievement for contributions to cetacean conservation. The first award is awarded to Peter Reijnders for his huge contribution to cetacean conservation. WDCS has know and worked with Peter over the years, especially with respect to the increasing threat of chemical pollutants to marine mammals.
In accepting his award Peter noted with concern the fact that some delegations have criticized the ASCOBANS secretariat, noting that it is the role of teh budgeting process to serve ASCOBANS and not ASCOBANS to serve the budgeting process. Peter appeared to call for an appropriate staffing at the secretariat and support from the Parties. He also was able to draw attention to the fact that some documents had been kept ‘secret’ from observers, but welcomed the fact that the meeting had immediately made these documents available to all. [WDCS had, it appeared, jumped the gun with an early intervention on this issue, but heh…we believe in transparency in international conventions ]
The Parties, Peter continued, ‘own’ ASCOBANS and therefore it is a tool to realize real conservation, and should not be seen as an ‘obstacle’.
There was very real and warm applause for Peter and his comments.
Peter Evans of the European Cetacean Society and SeaWatch in accepting the award for education and outreach noted the role of NGOs and our efforts in assisting Parties and agreements such as ASCOBANS. He did refer to hairy ecowarriers [the meeting turned in unison and looked at Mark Simmonds of WDCS, the only bearded NGO representative in the room] and nodded at Mark. Peter went onto stress the need to address all cetaceans in the agreement area and this sets up for the forthcoming debate on whether large cetaceans should be included. I note Norway is here at this meeting... and we shall see how the Parties react..