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Brazil hosted the 67th plenary meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in the city of Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, on September 10-14.

Delegations from more than 70 of the 89 IWC member countries were present, along with hundreds of observers and representatives of civil society.

The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Declaration of Florianopolis, an initiative of the Brazilian government supported by more than 40 countries, which presents a vision for the future years of the Commission.

The Declaration reaffirms the importance of maintaining the moratorium on commercial whaling and obliges the IWC, which now initiates reforms in its governance, to ensure adequate financing for conservation and non-lethal and non-extractive use of cetaceans, such as in whale watching.

 

The text of the Declaration also refers to the Plan of Action for the Protection and Conservation of Southern Atlantic Whales, proposed by Brazil and adopted unanimously in 2017, during the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP12), and calls on the countries of the region to cooperate with a view to their implementation.

The Brazilian proposal for the creation of the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary, co-sponsored by Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa and Gabon, received support from the large majority (60%) of IWC members. Once again a majority initiative, the proposal did not reach the 3/4 favorable votes needed for its approval and will remain on the Commission's agenda.

 

Another draft resolution by Brazil, on combating "ghost nets" (fishing equipment abandoned at sea that threatens whales and dolphins), was approved by consensus. The country now assumes the vice-presidency of the organization's Scientific Committee.

The meeting also marked the approval of new quotas for aboriginal cetacean hunting for subsistence purposes, as well as changes in its renewal process.

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