The Commission meeting was the third such event organized by the Pew Environment Group. Previous meetings in New York and Tokyo were more exploratory in nature.
Some of those present in Lisbon expressed concern with the notion of referring to the members of this group as "Commissioners," which implies a formality and negotiating authority that could be construed as duplicative of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Nonetheless, the term "Commission" was meant to convey a desire to move beyond exploratory discussions to making concrete recommendations and proposals for the way forward.
As Judge Neroni Slade said in his report of the Tokyo symposium, "There are moments in history when solutions are seen to be within reach. From this symposium I believe there is just cause for me to suggest that we may be at that point now for whales. Certainly, a door may be opening.”
The purpose of the Pew Whales Commission was to take some steps through that door.
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Pew Whale Conservation Project campaign.