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Antarctica - no man's land, all man's problem. Environmental aspects of Antarctic tourism

Henriksson, Julia LU (2013) JURM01 20131
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
På den antarktiska kontinenten finns värdefulla och i princip oexploaterade naturtillgångar. Dess geostrategiska betydelse och potentiella rikedomar gör Antarktis attraktivt för både forskare och företag.

Storbritannien gjorde som första land suveräna anspråk på en del av Antarktis år 1908. Flera andra länder följde exemplet, vilket resulterade i ett ökat internationellt intresse för kontinenten. För att förhindra politiska konsekvenser av den osäkra juridiska situationen och bevara Antarktis signerade de sju staterna som hade gjort territoriella anspråk Antarktisfördraget.

Traktaten blev startskottet för byggandet av nationella forskningsstationer på Antarktis, vilket skapade uppmärksamhet världen över och snart följde turisterna... (More)
På den antarktiska kontinenten finns värdefulla och i princip oexploaterade naturtillgångar. Dess geostrategiska betydelse och potentiella rikedomar gör Antarktis attraktivt för både forskare och företag.

Storbritannien gjorde som första land suveräna anspråk på en del av Antarktis år 1908. Flera andra länder följde exemplet, vilket resulterade i ett ökat internationellt intresse för kontinenten. För att förhindra politiska konsekvenser av den osäkra juridiska situationen och bevara Antarktis signerade de sju staterna som hade gjort territoriella anspråk Antarktisfördraget.

Traktaten blev startskottet för byggandet av nationella forskningsstationer på Antarktis, vilket skapade uppmärksamhet världen över och snart följde turisterna efter.

Idag har 50 stater anslutit sig till fördraget och olika tillägg till den ursprungliga traktaten innehåller ett starkt miljöskydd, något som saknades tidigare. Trots den stora anslutningen har regimen kring Antarktisfördraget utvecklas helt utanför FN och endast 28 stater är fullvärdiga medlemmar. Regimen är svår att definiera juridiskt och flertalet länder i tredje världen vill definiera fördraget enligt principen om mänsklighetens gemensamma arv, vilket skulle innebära att kontinentens skyddas från exploatering och att eventuell resursfördelning sker genom ett gemensamt ledningssystem. Det står klart att det nuvarande systemet inte utgör en del av mänsklighetens gemensamma arv och möjligheten att driva igenom denna förändring inom fördraget är minimal. För att undvika att utomstående stater tar saken i egna händer är det viktigt att regimen kring Antarktis utvecklas. Nödvändiga förändringar innebär att möjligheten att bli fullvärdig medlem öppnas upp och att staterna kan ställas till svars inför ett gemensamt internationellt organ. Det är också nödvändigt att den juridiska situationen på Antarktis tydliggörs.

Mänsklig påverkan från turistfartyg kan vara mångfacetterad och inom området miljöpåverkan för skeppen med sig främmande arter, avloppsvatten och sopor. Med ett ökat antal större fartyg i regionen finns alltid risken för en olycka, vilket skulle kunna resultera i katastrofala skador på havsmiljön.

För att undvika negativ miljöpåverkan från den Antarktiska turistindustrin bör diverse sjöfartsregler införas, tillsammans med en större begränsning av turismen och förbättrade inspektioner och kontroller. Det är också viktigt att försiktighetsprincipen och turismens samlade påverkan beaktas i alla beslut. Genom att Antarktisfördragets medlemmar och turistindustrins företrädare IAATO samarbetar kring regelverken ökar chanserna att de välbehövliga förhållningsreglerna tillämpas brett bland aktörerna. (Less)
Abstract
Antarctica is a continent full of natural resources, still almost untouched of the human hand. Geostrategic implications and potential economic wealth make the Continent relevant for researcher as well as profit-seeking industries.

In 1908, United Kingdom made claims of a sector of Antarctica. After that, several countries followed, leading the eyes of the world to this remote place. To calm down the political situation and protect Antarctica from negative impacts from the hands of human, the Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959. This action is the start of the Continents history as preserved for peaceful purposes in the name of science.

Following the establishment of several research stations in Antarctica, information and... (More)
Antarctica is a continent full of natural resources, still almost untouched of the human hand. Geostrategic implications and potential economic wealth make the Continent relevant for researcher as well as profit-seeking industries.

In 1908, United Kingdom made claims of a sector of Antarctica. After that, several countries followed, leading the eyes of the world to this remote place. To calm down the political situation and protect Antarctica from negative impacts from the hands of human, the Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959. This action is the start of the Continents history as preserved for peaceful purposes in the name of science.

Following the establishment of several research stations in Antarctica, information and delineations was spread around the world and shipping companies started bringing “ordinary” men to the South Pole, tourists.

The Antarctica Treaty has grown into a international agreement between 50 states and includes several regulations protecting the environment, initially not addressed in the legal regime. The regime has evolved outside the system of the United Nations and though many countries have signed the treaty, only 28 countries hold full memberships. It is difficult to define the legal implications of the Antarctic Treaty System. Proposals from third-world countries aim at define Antarctica as common heritage of mankind, with equitable sharing and a common management system. The current system is clearly not one of common heritage and, it is not likely that the Consultative Parties will obey this request. Nevertheless, changes are inevitable to keep the situation stable and avoid the risk of a non-member State seeking to make profit from the natural resources. These changes include more accommodating criteria for securing full membership, accountability to a global body and clarification of the legal status of Antarctica.

Apart from the legal status of the regime, one can discuss the question of jurisdiction from an environmental and protectionist point of view. In the case of adjudicative jurisdiction, flag-state control would include as many tourist ships as possible. When it comes to the question of enforcement, port-states have the best possibilities to inspect and clear ships for continuous travelling to Antarctica.

Human impact of tourist ships is versatile, and even the environmental effects include several problem areas. The ships introduce non-native species and bring pollution from sewage and waste. If a ship would breakdown, search and rescue teams are far away and the impact on the environment can be devastating and irreversible.
The possible approaches include both shipping regulations, limitations on tourism and inspections from the member states. The precautionary principle should be the base for every decision and the cumulative impact of every tourism activity should be taken into consideration. Through joint application for self-regulation and integration of actors in the rule-making process, the objectives of the Antarctic Treaty can reach out to concerned actors. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Henriksson, Julia LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM01 20131
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Maritime law, Antarctica, tourism, environmental impact
language
English
id
3920402
date added to LUP
2013-08-22 07:07:23
date last changed
2013-08-22 07:07:23
@misc{3920402,
  abstract     = {Antarctica is a continent full of natural resources, still almost untouched of the human hand. Geostrategic implications and potential economic wealth make the Continent relevant for researcher as well as profit-seeking industries. 

In 1908, United Kingdom made claims of a sector of Antarctica. After that, several countries followed, leading the eyes of the world to this remote place. To calm down the political situation and protect Antarctica from negative impacts from the hands of human, the Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959. This action is the start of the Continents history as preserved for peaceful purposes in the name of science.

Following the establishment of several research stations in Antarctica, information and delineations was spread around the world and shipping companies started bringing “ordinary” men to the South Pole, tourists. 

The Antarctica Treaty has grown into a international agreement between 50 states and includes several regulations protecting the environment, initially not addressed in the legal regime. The regime has evolved outside the system of the United Nations and though many countries have signed the treaty, only 28 countries hold full memberships. It is difficult to define the legal implications of the Antarctic Treaty System. Proposals from third-world countries aim at define Antarctica as common heritage of mankind, with equitable sharing and a common management system. The current system is clearly not one of common heritage and, it is not likely that the Consultative Parties will obey this request. Nevertheless, changes are inevitable to keep the situation stable and avoid the risk of a non-member State seeking to make profit from the natural resources. These changes include more accommodating criteria for securing full membership, accountability to a global body and clarification of the legal status of Antarctica. 

Apart from the legal status of the regime, one can discuss the question of jurisdiction from an environmental and protectionist point of view. In the case of adjudicative jurisdiction, flag-state control would include as many tourist ships as possible. When it comes to the question of enforcement, port-states have the best possibilities to inspect and clear ships for continuous travelling to Antarctica. 

Human impact of tourist ships is versatile, and even the environmental effects include several problem areas. The ships introduce non-native species and bring pollution from sewage and waste. If a ship would breakdown, search and rescue teams are far away and the impact on the environment can be devastating and irreversible. 
The possible approaches include both shipping regulations, limitations on tourism and inspections from the member states. The precautionary principle should be the base for every decision and the cumulative impact of every tourism activity should be taken into consideration. Through joint application for self-regulation and integration of actors in the rule-making process, the objectives of the Antarctic Treaty can reach out to concerned actors.},
  author       = {Henriksson, Julia},
  keyword      = {Maritime law,Antarctica,tourism,environmental impact},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Antarctica - no man's land, all man's problem. Environmental aspects of Antarctic tourism},
  year         = {2013},
}