Speed Dating at the IWC
We understand that various groupings of countries have been meeting with various other groupings in order to seek mutual happiness, social gratification and a long and happy life. This is happening behind the IWC’s reinforced and famously closed doors. The groups, if unfulfilled in their quest for mutually satisfying relations, then move on to others to see if they like them better. (All of which is accompanied by Belgian fan dancing and nice Moroccan pastries.) Presumably if one group of countries finds they like another enough they may spawn some lovely little amendment texts that help put a deal in place. These texts will then be shared with others (but not the public obviously). Anyway, more importantly, we all had a truly fabulous reception yesterday provided by the generous host nation in the beautiful Atlantic Palace Hotel (where most of the country delegations and NGOs are staying and where poorer NGOs come and hang out in the hall ways and watch the… football; there are also fewer malevolent cats there than in many places).
The reception was around the pool and consisted of a huge buffet of food mainly cooked in the tradition terrines used here and a literal mountain of fruit for dessert. Moroccan musicians paraded amongst the delegates. As the stars came out, we briefly felt as if we were in the set of a glamorous movie. However, WDCS does not have too much time for this kind of thing and the team was soon taken off back to the fish docks many miles away, where we are lodging, to listen to the cats sing through the long night.
Tuesday – the IWC doors remain firmly barred. A few delegates peek out from the various meeting areas. Some even bravely exit for coffee, nimbly avoiding the few non-governmental representatives still lingering there to lobby them. Five minutes walk away through the hot sun, the lobby of the luxurious
However, relief is in sight for the press pack. Is it a bird, is it a plane… no it is the unmistakable form of everyone’s favourite friendly giant, Peter Garrett the Australian Environment Minster. Firstly he joins the press conference back over the in Atlantic Palace Hotel organised by WSPA (and focused on Norwegian whaling) and then, with film crews trailing him, swiftly strides to the conference centre where a media frenzy follows and a petition opposing whaling with almost one million names on it is handed over. Press Frenzy
Garrett makes some bold statements in opposition to whaling and the press pack – happy now that they have landed some film (or some text) scampers back to the media tent to beam their treasures through the air via various satellite dishes and similar. Minister Garrett
Meanwhile behind the closed doors the speed dating continues…. And almost certainly an EU co-ordination will break out. Never mind tomorrow is another day. A street cat of Agadir has moved into the tent and is sleeping paws-up on the carpets (no doubt waiting to trip up a passing delegate). It may be interviewed later.