The Antarctic Environment

The Representatives,

Recognizing that prime responsibility for Antarctic matters, including protection of the Antarctic environment, lies with the States active in the area which are parties to the Antarctic Treaty;

Noting the vulnerability of the Antarctic environment to human interference and that the consequences of major alterations would be of global significance;

Noting the distance of the Antarctic from the main sources of environmental pollution and hence its value for global baseline monitoring purposes;...

TABLE 11.6 Antarctic Area Classification ab

Antarctic Treaty Area

Adoption: Antarctic Treaty, Article VI (1959)

Scope: ''. .. Area south of 600 South Latitude, including all ice shelves, but nothing in the present Treaty shall prejudice or in any way affect the rights, or the exercise of the rights, of any State under international law with regard to the high seas within that area.'' Designation: Continent-wide

Historic Sites and Monuments

Adoption: Recommendation I-9 (1961), Recommendation V-4 (1968)

Scope: ''Tombs, buildings or objects of historic interest''

Designation: 74 Historic Sites or Monuments

Special Conservation Area

Adoption: Recommendation III-8, Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctic

Fauna and Flora Preamble (1964) Scope: Status applied to the Antarctic Treaty area

Designation: continent-wide

Specially Protected Areas (SPA)

Adoption: Recommendation III-8, Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctic

Fauna and Flora Preamble (1964) Scope: ''Areas of outstanding scientific interest. . . shall be accorded special protection ... in order to preserve their unique natural ecological system'' Designation: 29 SPA

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Adoption: Scope:


Seal Reserves

Adoption: Scope:

Recommendation VII-3 (1972), Recommendation VIII-3 (1975) Sites where ''scientific investigations may be jeopardised by accidental or wilful interference'' that are of ''exceptional scientific interest and therefore require long-term protection from harmful interference'' and are of ''non-biological interest'' 37 SSSI

Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Seals, Annex 1, Article 3 (1972) ''Open and closed areas, including the designation of reserves'' and the ''designation of special areas where there shall be no disturbance of seals'' Three Seal Reserves


Areas of Special Tourist Interest (ASTI)

Adoption: Recommendation VIII-9 (1975)

Scope: Areas designated for tourist visits

Designation: None designated

Antarctic Marine Ecosystem Area

Adoption: Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Rresources

(CCAMLR) Article 1 (1980) Scope: ''Area south of 60° South latitude and to the . .. area between that latitude and the Antarctic Convergence which form part of the Antarctic marine ecosystem'' Continent-wide




Recommendation XI-3 (1981)


Accommodating Values TABLE 11.6 (Continued )

Scope: "Northern slopes of Mount Erebus where the [1979 airplane] accident took place be declared a tomb and that they ensure that the area is left in peace'' Designation: 1 Tomb Marine Sites of Special Scientific Interest (MSSSI) Adoption: Recommendation XIV-6 (1987)

Scope: "Protect marine scientific investigations which might suffer from wilful or accidental interference and inshore marine sites of scientific interest where harmful interference is generally recognized to be likely'' Designation: 2 MSSSI

Multiple-Use Planning Areas (MPA)

Adoption: Scope:

Designation: Natural Reserve


Recommendation XV-11 (1989)

"Coordinating human activities in those areas where such activities pose identified risks of mutual interference or cumulative environmental impacts" None designated

Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (Protocol), Article 2 (1991)

Antarctica designated as a ''natural reserve, devoted to peace and science'' Continent-wide

Scope: Designation:

Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPA)

Adoption: Scope:


Protocol, Annex V: Protected Area System, Article 3 (1991) ''Any area, including any marine area, may be designated ... to protect outstanding environmental, scientific, historic, aesthetic or wilderness values, any combination of those values, or ongoing or planned scientific research.'' None designated

Antarctic Specially Managed Areas (ASMA)

Adoption: Protocol, Annex V: Protected Area System, Article 4 (1991)

Scope: ''Areas where activities pose risks of mutual interference or cumulative environmental impacts'' Designation: None designated

CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Program (CEMP) Sites

Adoption: CCAMLR Commission Conservation Measure 18/XIII (1994)

Scope: Protect against ''accidental or wilful interference" at CEMP Sites

Designation: 2 CEMP Sites aSee Antarctic Treaty Searchable Database: 1959-1999 CD-ROM. b See Table 5.2.

ecological and scientific value.'' With discussions about mineral resources, the Antarctic Treaty System began regarding ''data and information of commercial value'' (CRAMRA, Article 16). Moreover, in 1989, because of growing concerns about commercial interests and multiple uses, the Antarctic Treaty System developed comprehensive measures for environmental protection (Recommendation XV-11) in relation to the ''unique biological, geological, glaciological, geomor-phological, ecological, scientific, historic, aesthetic, scenic and wilderness values of Antarctica.'' Through the Protocol and its unifying annexes (Table 5.2),

Annex I: Environmental Impact Assessment; Annex II: Conservation of Antarctic Fauna and Flora; Annex III: Waste Disposal and Management; Annex IV: Prevention of Marine Pollution Annex V: Area Protection and Management Annex VI: Liability (?)

the ''intrinsic,'' ''special,'' and ''natural'' values of Antarctica have became integral to planning and conducting human activities in the Antarctic Treaty area (Boxes 11.3 and 11.6).

Emergence of the Antarctic Treaty System as an international cooperation precedent for ''all mankind'' is reflected by the values and accommodations of its diverse stakeholders. Initially, the ''internal accommodation'' between claimant and nonclaimant signatories fostered the ''establishment phase'' of the Antarctic Treaty System (Fig. 5.3) until the mineral issue became a ''matter of urgency.'' With awakened focus, the signatory nations then began developing an ''external accommodation'' with the rest of the international community under the auspices of the Antarctic Treaty:

. . . ensuring the use of Antarctica for peaceful purposes only and the continuance of international harmony in Antarctica [to] further the purposes and principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations.

During this ''international accommodation phase'' (Fig. 5.3) the Antarctic Treaty System membership grew more than 500% before entering the ''global stewardship phase'' in 1991, when the Protocol was signed (Fig. 5.2).

Similar phases of involvement among the multiple users of Antarctica also appear in the commercial sector with tourism (Fig. 11.3) and in the science sector, as demonstrated by the continuous commitment of nations operating research programs in Antarctica since the IGY (e.g., Fig. 11.2).

In addition, interests of all users have been accommodated by the diverse types of areas reserved for protection and preservation around Antarctica (Table 11.6). Since 1959, more than 70 measures have been adopted by the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties regarding protected areas. In addition, more than 150 sites and associated management plans have been approved within 11 of the 15 protected area categories. Moreover, with a view toward implementation and representation, there has been an ongoing ''review of the protected area system'' since 1972 (Recommendation VII-2)—unifying the previous measures into the Protocol, Annex V on Area Protection and Management.

Environmental protection in Antarctica embodies scientific, economic, government, and social values and accommodations among nations and diverse stakeholders. In the ''interest of all mankind,'' the design and implementation of such strategies are fundamental to using Antarctica and the Earth system ''for peaceful purposes only'' (Chapter 12: The Science Keystone).

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