The Effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission

  • Steinar Andresen
Keywords: International Whaling Commission, Public opinion, Sustainable economic development, Whales, Whaling, Wildlife management, Alaska, Canadian Arctic, Greenland, Scandinavia


In this article, the effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) is discussed in relation to three criteria: stated goals, correspondence between scientific advice and political decisions, and relative improvement in relation to the status quo. Under these criteria, the IWC has a low score on effectiveness in its initial phase (1949 to mid-1960s), but increased effectiveness in the next stage (mid-1960s to late 1970s). However, in the most recent history of the IWC, effectiveness has again been decreasing. Two main perspectives have been used in trying to explain the development within the IWC; first and most important, the assumption is that effectiveness will vary according to differences in the type of problems and related state preferences; the more "malign" the problem, the lower the effectiveness. Also, it is assumed that, although to a lesser degree, effectiveness will be influenced by the problem-solving capacity related to the cooperation in question. This approach is based on the design outlined for a large comparative research project on the effectiveness of international resource and environmental management. In this article, however, this perspective is used in a very simplified form, primarily to systematize the history and performance of the IWC.

Key words: effectiveness, International Whaling Commission, science, policy, international, resource, management, interests, power, institutions