Data loading...

NGO’s Want Access To More WCPFC Meetings

NGOs are requesting increased access to WCPFC meetings, stating that that they see “a disturbing trend regarding the level of transparency and openness.” Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) issued a letter to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) asserting their concerns of the privacy and confidentiality of Commission information.

As Participants of the WCPFC, NGOs -including the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Pew Charitable Trusts-, jointly signed the letter that was addressed to the WCPFC Executive Director, Professor Glenn Hurry. The letter explained: “over the last several years, we have seen an erosion of transparency in the WCPFC.”

It continued, “With respect to meetings, the WCPFC is more often following the practice of having closed sessions for discussions that exclude observer representatives…We believe that much of this information is unnecessarily limited in its distribution and too many discussions are inappropriately designated as confidential.”

The organizations outlined their understanding that certain negotiations need to be closed, but emphasized their belief that accredited observer NGOs should be allowed to attend other Commission meetings and working groups. Nine NGO’s participated in the signing of the letter, showing agreement in the importance of increasing openness of WCPFC meetings and information.

Closing the letter, the NGOs stated: “The WCPFC must maintain open and transparent procedures and operations to ensure the credibility and integrity of the process. Closed sessions, posting of information on the secure side of the WCPFC website, and limiting distribution of draft meeting reports to only CCMs should only be employed when there is a clearly defined confidentiality or security of information discussed in accordance with agreed rules and procedures.

“We kindly request your urgent attention to this very important issue.”