Iceland, Japan and Norway block UN whaling role

Whale hunting nations have denied the United Nations the ability to have greater influence on whaling policies.

The move came last week in Panama during the International Whaling Commission conference, at which conservationists were looking to hand greater power to the UN General Assembly in order to ensure that whales are protected appropriately.

However, the event ended with a veto of the effort after South Korea came forward to announce it would become the world’s fourth country to officially conduct whaling efforts. However, the country has taken the same position as Japan, which conservationists call a loophole of sorts, by saying that the hunting will be done solely for research, with meat and other by-products later going toward commercial consumption.

Meanwhile, whaling nations have said that the Monaco-backed UN intervention is unnecessary. Japanese delegate Akima Umezawa called the proposal “imbalanced, inconsistent and irrelevant”, whilst Ole-David Stenseth of Norway said that “species issues in general are not a matter for the General Assembly but for competent fisheries agencies”, reports ABC News Australia.

In contrast, conservationists have criticised Japan and Norway, noting that they are otherwise very supportive of global UN-backed initiatives.

International Fund for Animal Welfare representative Patrick Ramage told reporters, “Clearly Japan, Norway and Iceland want to keep the bile at the International Whaling Commission confined here; they don’t want to have to show up at the United Nations and defend the indefensible.”