WWF And Green NGOs Barred From Moscow Polar Bear Forum

  • Date: 09/12/13
  • Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science

A meeting of the five polar bear range states closed on Friday in Moscow but not before government delegates ousted journalists and representatives of green NGOs. About 20 people were barred from the meeting.


Despite the fact that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) apparently provided a significant portion of the funding for the recently concluded International Forum on Conservation of Polar Bears (December 3-6, Moscow), it appears in the end they and their NGO cohorts were prevented from having an undue amount of influence at the meeting. For that we can thank the delegates of the five Arctic nations: three cheers for common sense!

This news did not emerge until late yesterday (Friday, Dec. 6), after the meeting had concluded: no mention was made of NGOs being excluded in the press releases and stories written before then. For example, see IUCN story, Dec. 5WWF story, Dec. 4Times of India report, Dec. 5and this Arctic Journal story Dec. 6. There was nothing in any of them about NGOs and journalists being barred from parts of the meeting they thought they would be allowed to attend.

Note that biologist Mitch Taylor, booted-out of the Polar Bear Specialist Group because he did not agree with the group’s position on global warming, attended as part of the Canadian contingent (see list at the end of this post), which was a bit of a surprise. However, the exclusion from the meeting of WWF and their buddies is the big news as far as I’m concerned.

[The media seems more interested in the fallout from a twitter message sent on the final day of the meeting by Canada's Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq — more on that in my next post].

NGOs have claimed, in an Environment News Service (ENS) story (December 6, Moscow) that they were “kicked out” of the meeting:

Invited NGOs Kicked Out of Polar Bear Meeting

“A crucial meeting of the five polar bear range states closed today in Moscow but not before government delegates ousted journalists and representatives of nonprofit groups who had been invited to provide input to the meeting. About 20 people were barred.

The NGO reps and reporters were only allowed to attend for two hours on Thursday, the first day of the two-day meeting.

Delegates from the countries that are Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears – Canada, Greenland/Denmark, Norway, Russia and United States – gave no reason for their action except that they wanted to meet in private to discuss the remainder of the agenda.” 

Full story