Thursday Morning Part Two
Will you block consensus Palau?
I did not ask for the floor, he says. There is no point in us getting our voting rights restored without using them, but we will not stand in the way of consensus.
Russia: this will destroy us but we will join consensus in case this is taken by consensus. We are against the proposal as it is. We do not want to break consensus but we will vote.
Iceland we will not take part in consensus. We will contribute to no vote taking place.
St Kitts and Nevis associates with Iceland.
Cameroon this should be left open, we support Iceland.
The Chairman asks the proponents how to proceed. Brazil says that he empathises now with what Great Britain went through in the last few days. He can feel a taste of it, he adds. He feels strongly on this matter and so do the whole Buenos Aires Group. I do not agree if we put this to the vote it will destroy the IWC. Voting is not a bad thing.
Argentina agrees. They have tried to be amenable and she asks the opposing countries to reconsider. This has been on the agenda for ten years and has been voted for before with a majority supporting. We are dramatising this.
The Chair asks for any other comments.
Japan says he speaks for the countries supporting the sustainable use of whales and would like to explain what they propose if we go for the vote. May I take more than two minutes? [The Chair nods.] We understand the importance of the proposal in front of us. We have made similar proposals about small type coastal whaling in the past. Yesterday we had wonderful progress and this morning we passed a resolution by consensus. Let us keep the dialogue of consensus and trust going. One thing different is that we think voting will have a negative effect. We don’t like to take hostile action but we are thinking of breaking the quorum of this meeting. He says it twice. Quorum would be 50% of the 89 members. When the sustainable nations leave this will break the quorum .This is not hostile, he adds mildly. [There is some laughter.]
So again I like to avoid any surprise and misunderstanding, Jogi concludes.
The spokesman for Japan on the big screen.
Colombia: We also hope to avoid voting but we must not be afraid of voting. The Buenos Aires Group will not abandon. Today… this year… some time… we will have to decide on this matter. This will define whether this conference will end, because we cannot understand that you can go in and out depending on the topics that we discuss. If the group that support’s Japan’s idea does this, it would put an end to this particular meeting.
Another Latin delegate takes the floor and passionately comments on the ‘overwhelming majority’ in favour of the proposal. We want consensus. We want an area or zone as a sanctuary – a powerful attraction for research. This will help to fight poverty. Please understand this!... voting is a highly valid democratic method. If you leave during voting this would not be acceptable and would be a lack of transparency.
Mexico supports his friends in the BAG.
Monaco believes in democracy and he reminds everyone here that the right to vote was hard won in many countries; why should we be deprived of this.
We continue in similar vein for a while.
The Chair now calls on Brazil and Argentina.
Brazil says that we should vote.
Very many delegates now start to leave the room. The Norwegians, the Russians, the Caribbeans, Africans and Palau quietly leave.
We think that the last mass walk out was at the Anchorage meeting, but we cannot recall the message.
After a while, a private Commissioner’s meeting breaks out. Some hours later, Greg Donovan Head of Science takes to the stage to tell the remaining delegates (those not already at lunch, getting a haircut or shopping) that the Commissioners are still meeting. We wait and the clock ticks increasingly loudly. How many agenda items are still left? Fifteen.
Tick, tick, tick, tick.........
14.46 There is a Herman-alert.
The Chairman is briefly sighted in the public part of the meeting forum. The slowly mounts the stage.
He says, I don't know who invented lawyers but the procedural matters are complex and we will be at least another hour. He makes to leave.
A small NGO delegate rushed forward to award him a well-deserved biscuit.
Tick... tick... tick....some delegates are seen to be leaving already.