Saturday, March 27, 2010

international governance

I don't follow foreign policy issues much, since I can't decide what my philosophy of it is so it's hard to get worked up about enough to pay attention (yes I know, I'm a bad person). But due to special circumstances I've followed a bit the potential hunting ban on bluefin tuna considered by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna), which occurs every 2.5 years and happened this week.

Going into the convention, people were generally optimistic that the conservation measure (proposed by Morocco) would pass, giving the horrendously over-hunted species of fish a chance at survival.

But sushi-loving Japan and sushi-suppliers France, Spain, and Italy of course strongly objected, to the extent, it appears, that last minute bribes of many developing countries (who have much more pressing priorities to worry about and are cheap to buy off) led to the measure's crushing defeat, 68-20 (30 abstaining). (Polar bears and sharks also got screwed.)

How could a measure so generally acknowledged as very important and generally supported lose so incredibly? This is corruption at its worse, corruption disguised as diplomacy and negotiation. And I have no idea how to change the system to prevent it.

Now I'm back to feeling depressed about international collaboration.