Intervention by the Permanent Representative of the Argentine Republic, Amb. Martín García Moritán
First of all, I would like to express that Argentina is truly honoured to be associated to this event
For Argentina, the conservation of cetaceans is a state policy that has been maintained over time and has transcended different administrations. Our country is part of the group of conservation at the International Whaling Commission.
In 2007, the "Buenos Aires Group" (BAG) was consolidated, bringing together conservationist countries from Latin America.
Additionally, many countries of the Buenos Aires Group are also part of a broader conservation group, made up of several countries WEOG such as the United Kingdom, Monaco, Italy, Belgium; Australia and New Zealand, known as the "Like-Minded" group of countries.
Argentina (and the Buenos Aires Group) maintains its firm opposition to the reestablishment of international trade of whale products and the continued validity of the moratorium in the IWC.
In this framework, Argentina supports the proposal of the creation of the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary. The origin of the idea dates back to the 50th IWC plenary meeting (IWC 50), held in Oman in 1998, when Brazil declared its intention to propose the creation of a Whale Sanctuary in the South Atlantic.
Its creation is a proposal of Brazil, co-sponsored by Argentina, Gabon, Uruguay and South Africa, in order to reaffirm conservation interests in light of the growing and highly qualified regional contribution to research, as well as the undeniable economic interest of many Developing Countries to strengthen non-lethal and non-extractive uses of whales.
While the proposal has been put to the vote at numerous IWC plenary meetings and has been widely supported by the International Whaling Commission (more than 63 per cent of the votes at the last plenary meeting in October 2016), it has been unable to Obtain up to date 75% (3/4) of the votes necessary to amend the Schedule to the Convention to allow its creation to be finalized. This proposal is opposed by countries belonging to the whaling group.
The primary objectives of the Sanctuary are:
1. Maintain or increase current levels of cetacean populations by mitigating identified threats, as well as to identify and quantify other potential threats;
2. Together with the Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary, promote the long-term conservation of all whale populations, including breeding and feeding areas and migratory routes;
3. Encourage coordinated non-lethal and non-extractive research in the region, especially by developing countries, and through international cooperation with the active participation of the IWC;
4. Develop sustainable, non-extractive and non-lethal economic use of whales for the benefit of coastal communities in the region (eg through whale watching and educational activities).
5. Integrate national research, management efforts and conservation strategies into a cooperative framework, maximizing the effectiveness of management measures, taking fully into account the rights and responsibilities of coastal States according to the UNCLOS;
6. Provide a general framework for the development of localized measures, in order to maximize conservation benefits at the ocean basin level.
Thus, the proposal of the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary considers current and potential threats to whale populations and their habitats within the Sanctuary. These threats include interactions with fishing, entanglements, ship collisions, pollutants, waste intake, noise and sound pollution, oil exploration, climate change, mortality and others.
In the light of SDG 14, which seeks to "conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development," Argentina wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the proposed creation of the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary, which will contribute to the implementation of the SDG14.