The Balance of Power within IWC

Right out of the gate, IWC delegates were facing a crisis at this year’s meeting – the Commission was without an Acting Chair with which to conduct the Plenary.  Former Acting Chair Anthony Liverpool tenured his resignation effective July 11th – the first day of the Commission – and in fact, he didn’t attend any of the Commission subcommittee meetings in the two weeks leading up to the meeting.  I am certain that Liverpool’s decision to step down as Acting Chair is – as he claims – solely related to his new position in Antigua and Barbuda’s Foreign Ministry, and not at all related to last year’s allegations by the Sunday Times that pro-whaling Japanese interests paid Liverpool £4,000 (US $5,906) for his two-week stay at a luxurious hotel in Agadir, Morocco.  Liverpool, who evidently goes by the nickname of “Mamba” at home, is simply a very busy guy.  That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.

Perhaps not surprisingly, no commissioner was anxious to throw their proverbial hat into the ring to assume the newly-vacated Chair position.  The highly-contentious IWC Commission can make a break a career, depending on the Chair’s ability to successful navigate or exacerbate the complicated landscape of the IWC.  Should you doubt this, consider that a few years ago, three international moderators were hired by the IWC Secretariat in an attempt to resolve the long-standing schism between pro- and anti-whaling nations.  They failed – miserably – which is interesting since these very same professionals were highly successful in developing the successful Middle East “Roadmap To Peace”!

Fortunately, Herman Oosthuizen (South Africa), a highly-respected IWC veteran commissioner, stepped up to the plate and offered to chair the meeting for the week.  So far, Commissioner Oosthuizen is conducting the meeting with professionalism, respect, and courtesy.  At the end of this week, the Commission will undoubtedly elect Oosthuizen as the new Chair for a term of three-years.

Which leads us to the other half of the “IWC Leadership Ticket”… the Vice Chair.

South Africa is a “like minded” (i.e., anti-whaling) nation.  Although not an official rule, there is a long-standing practice within the IWC of observing a ‘balance of power’, so the Vice Chair position will likely be assigned to a “pro-whaling” nation.  Word on the street is that South Korea is interested in the position.  We’ll see.

Mamba.  That’s a brilliant nickname, considering the circumstances.

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5 Comments on “The Balance of Power within IWC”

  1. Speaking of positions, is there a way to replace US Commissioner Medina, who disgraces the US and its citizens who do not want to see whales killed?

  2. An interesting insight into IWC politics – before the meeting even begins! Thanks, Cheryl!!!

  3. I concur with Teresa Wagner’s suggestion. I am all for replacing Ms. Medina with a truly qualified and sincere US Commissioner who will serve as a diplomat on behalf of Whales.

  4. Unfortunately, the IWC Commissioner is an Obama-appointed position, and there’s also no “term-limit” associated with the position. Consequently, there’s little that we can do about that. Ms. Medina’s husband, Ron Klain, is Joe Biden’s Chief of Staff, so she is well-connected, and it’s likely that she’s here to stay for a while.

    • Thank you for the explanation and info regarding Medina. I better understand now. However, I believe there are ways that the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Americans who love whales can be mobilized to let our President know that we want a Commissioner who represents what Americans want–that whales not be slaughtered. I realize this may not be an appropriate initiative for ACS, but I think it can be done. Medina does not represent Americans, she represents Obama who wants to appease Japan. And that is wrong.

      Thank you again for being there Cheryl, and for keeping us posted!

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