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There is no place in the world like Antarctica.

It is the only continent in the world consisting of just one time-zone (Zulu-time) and only one day transpires each year. Except for penguins and seals, which live and hunt in the water, the largest fully terrestrial animal is a flightless insect half a centimeter long.1 It is unique for its coastal wind speeds, which gust at speeds up to 180mph, as the frigid air spills down from the relatively wind-less Polar Plateau. As seen from the ocean, it is the only continent whose continental shelf slopes inward, instead of outward towards the sea, due to the crushing weight of the world¶s largest glacier. It is the

world¶s harshest desert, so cold and dry that the skies are clear every single day: clouds literally freeze solid, raining ice crystals onto the surface.2 However, although Antarctica presents a

truly stunning specimen for nature, it is equally unique in terms its political administration and the conventions through which it is ruled. The Antarctic Treaty System, the mechanism that governs Antarctica, is unlike any other international convention on this planet and beyond.3 Furthermore, the characteristics that set it apart from other accords might also be responsible, in part, for the regime¶s admirable record of success and international compliance.


Sandro, Luke; Constible, Juanita. "Antarctic Bestiary Terrestrial Animals". Laboratory for Ecophysiological Cryobiology, Miami University. Retrieved 6 December 2011. rd 2 Antarctica. The National Geographic Family Refernce Atlas of the World. 3 edition. 2010. 3 beyond refers to the conventions on Outer Space and the Moon.


Origins The Antarctic Treaty System came into effect in 1961. It was borne out of lengthy negotiations beginning in the years after WWII, which culminated with the signing of the treaty in December 1959. The Antarctic Treaty System had its genesis like many other international organizations: a period of chaos and uncertainty followed by an international effort to reestablish order through the creation of a multilateral institution.4 However, in many ways, the institution through which the international community administers Antarctica is remarkably unique. Upon further examination, from the historical circumstances surrounding the initial negotiations to the very text of the agreement itself, the ATS and its related institutions stand apart from other wellknown intergovernmental organizations of similar size and scope. Additionally, in the 50 years since its enactment, the ATS has enjoyed a great degree of success despite serious political divisions among its members. The ATS has weathered the Cold War, survived global armed conflict and in the process seen its membership swell by more than 300%. The Antarctic Treaty System has undergone major structural changes since its original ratification, particularly over the last twenty years. However, although the states that originally established the regime may have looked to other international organizations for inspiration, there were a few differences in its formation that proved fortuitous. Before the treaty, the continent of Antarctica was divided by several, often competing, claims of sovereignty by various states. Because there was no significant permanent human habitation on the continent, sovereignty

Inis Claude, in Swords into Plowshares (4th edition, New York. McGraw-Hill: 1956), makes this point on page 46 as she writes that the great organizational endeavors of the modern world have been parts of the aftermath of great wars


states that continental claims on the southern continent extended all the way to the pole. dividing the region up so that the political map of Antarctica resembles a segmented orange. Furthermore. Norway.9 Occupation and administration include states that had been heavily involved in scientific. 7 Belgium. United States and the USSR. Substance and Speculation. The United Kingdom and Norway made claims based on several principles. which granted all lands west of a certain meridian to Spain. The Antarctic Treaty System: History. they also cite ³inherited rights´ from the former Spanish Empire. geographic contiguity and the famous polar ³sector principle. 9 Ibid.claims stemmed not from permanent settlement or local populations. United Kingdom. 3 .8 Russia and France made claims based on discovery. administration. Chile. 5´ In the 1940s. and are forever famously linked to Antarctic history through the heroic polar expeditions of the early 20th century. Argentina and Chile base their claims chiefly on the principles of contiguity (their claims are considered natural southern extensions of their territory. Australia. 8 Shusterich. International Journal 39. going back to the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494. Among them are discovery.. applied to the Antarctic as to the Arctic. The bases of these claims can be as distant as the countries from which they originate. as did other countries. 5 Shusterich.4 Polar Politics (Autumn 1984): 802 6 Argentina. there were a few potential claims over Antarctic lands not directed at a specific territory7. there were at least seven competing claims of sovereignty over Antarctic territory and some of these claims indeed overlapped6. 802. all the way to the pole). France. Interestingly. commercial and cultural activities in Antarctica. 801. occupation. but rather from several legal principles. The famous sector principle. and New Zealand. in essence. inherited rights. Kurt M.

3 (July 1960): 437. 443. the need for a formal arrangement on Antarctica clearly came in to focus. all involved recognized the norm taking shape to maintain the neutrality of Antarctic territory. Chile and the United Kingdom all pledged to refrain from sending warships to Antarctica.. South Africa.11 In 1947. During the summer of 1948-1949 (December-March. the British offered to take Argentina and Chile to the International Court of Justice so as to resolve their overlapping claims in Antarctica. Chile. by the end of World War II. New Zealand.10 As diplomatic tensions rose in the region over competing claims corresponding with the rise of international cooperation through global institutions like the United Nations. an international incident involving hostilities in the Falklands drove a wedge between Argentina and the United Kingdom. 12 Ibid. Norway. This first attempt at resolution was soundly rejected by the Antarctic states. diverting attentions and stalling progress. when the ice is thawed and sunlight prevails). All told. but the increasing tensions did not escape notice of the United States.12 Despite the political differences between the governments. the three governments of Argentina. Belgium. Soviet Union. but refer to the other stake holders on continental matters. United Kingdom. 4 . there were no fewer than 11 states that were directly concerned with Antarctic sovereignty.S. The Antarctic Treaty 1959. Although negotiations were gaining steam by the end of the 1940s. in 1950 the Korean War broke out. 11 Hanessian. this offer was refused. The International and Comparative Law Quarterly 9. among others. John. floated the first plan for an international condominium administration of Antarctica. United States. However. Australia.including the United States and Belgium. the U. In 1948. 10 Argentina. but the discussions on the matter were already influencing the landscape of international politics. A condominium arrangement refers to the fact that each country would independently administer their own sovereign territory. France. Furthermore.

Norway and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Australia. South Africa.15 committed to the importance of joint scientific research and demilitarization.Y. a ³consortium´ arrangement was finally worked out between twelve states for administration of the continent.16 and several subsequent attempts were made to address the issue in the General Assembly. in no particular order: Argentina. specifically in regards to the spectacular level of intergovernmental cooperation.Y.G. In parallel. having gathered momentum by 1954. The states that signed the Antarctic Treaty would be known as ³Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties (ATCPs)´ and included. 15 The original twelve states invited to Washington to negotiate the ATS in 1959 were also the twelve states that participated in the IGY. New Zealand. the claimant states temporarily shelved the question of sovereignty. a UN solution to the ³Question of Antarctica´ was consistently rejected.14 Ultimately. it implemented a freeze on all sovereignty claims..However. 448. altogether sidestepping the most contentious issue. was bringing together several states from across the political spectrum in the name of cooperation and scientific research in Antarctica. 437. 805. it was the runaway success of the I. the planning of the International Geophysical Year program. Shusterich. program in 1957-58. France. An Independent Arrangement Although a proposition was raised to include a clause about Antarctic administration in the United Nations Charter. Ibid. the United States. the states settled on an agreement that might continue the cooperation of the I. the United Kingdom. Belgium. Japan.G. Chile.13 However. 16 Hanessian. Busy preparing for the I. When the agreement was finally signed in 1959 following a negotiation process that lasted more than ten years. which inspired the states to revive negotiations..G.Y. 14 13 5 ..

and include or invite all UN member states to participate and contribute. For this reason. although many international accords of such scope and magnitude are universal. Therefore. another would have to be its gradual maturation process. 6 .This was because Antarctica is not equally owned (or not owned) by the people of planet Earth. for the conference. Only twelve states were invited to Washington. this strategy paid dividends and true consensus was achieved. there are actual claims of national ownership and sovereignty by several states. the original negotiations over Antarctica were far more exclusive. such as international waters. and the United Nations would have a difficult time challenging any of these claims. If one major difference between the genesis of the Antarctic Treaty System and other globally minded international organizations was that the ATS summit was not universal.17 Ultimately. the Antarctic Treaty System is constantly evolving. In Antarctica. D. The agreement would have to be by consensus of all the powers that either claimed sovereignty or reserved the right to claim sovereignty over Antarctic territory. its machinery would most likely grind to a halt over the resulting political quagmire that would directly ensnare several of the great powers.. and discussions were conducted in secret so as to provide the greatest opportunity for negotiation away from public pressures and interference. based on direct national interests. and without a resolution from the Security Council. Even if the UN could successfully claim the legal authority to sort out the sovereignty question in Antarctica. 461. an effective treaty on Antarctica would have to be without the consultation and involvement of the GA. as might be the case for other ³international ownership treaties´ of the UN. outer space and the Moon. many based on firm legal standing. Many major global bodies are chartered with their administrative structure set in stone and their chief organs firmly 17 Ibid. undergoing changes far more drastic than other IOs. In fact.C.

Because Antarctica is administered by several states through a multilateral treaty system. if any. the ATS added the Committee on Environmental Protection (often referred to as the ³Environmental Protocol´) as a secondary organ. 7 . However. and 18 19 Text of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959. Shusterich. in 1991. Furthermore. the Secretariat is the public face of the ATS. all matters concerning the continent were decided with the advice of non-consultative parties. Today. in 2004. it is likely to evolve even further. it is often incorrectly perceived to be ³international territory. will be added to aid with the execution of the values and mission of the Antarctic system. At these meetings. respectively. Administration of Antarctica is carried out by the nations of the ATS. NGOs and expert observers. as needed. executive officer and a permanent headquarters in Buenos Aires. and disputes were settled through independent peaceful means (with the option of deferring to the International Court of Justice). a formal secretariat was created along with a full-time staff. Article XI. No one can be sure as what further organs. and consisted of regular conferences between representatives of the ATCPs. and represents the evolving nature of the regime. but if history is any indication.19 However. The meetings convened every other year.18 However. For example. although Antarctica might be for all people. the consensus agreement on Antarctica that was signed in 1959 (and came in to effect in 1961) consisted of just one major body that wielded absolute administrative power: the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings.´ Further fueling this misconception is the frequent allusion to Antarctica as a ³heritage for all mankind´ and likeminded phraseology found throughout the UN General Assembly and even the treaties of the ATS. all the major organs of both the League of Nations and the United Nations were clearly laid out in the Covenant in Paris and the Charter in San Francisco.in place. 817. this does not imply that all people can be in charge of its administration.

22 However. any state that is not a party to the ATS has absolutely no say in Antarctic administration and any state that does not have a direct interest or involvement on the continent will never have any say. which confiscating the sovereign territory of that state would certainly entail. did not have any claims to Antarctica that a UN trustee could administer.despite the fact that all humans around the world presumably have an equal claim to the ³heritage´ of Antarctica. there is no native society of Antarctica and there are no permanent inhabitants that might benefit from such a regime. without the consent of claimant states.23 Article 79 states that any trusteeship ³shall be agreed upon by the states directly concerned. Article 77. social and economic progress for local inhabitants. 24 United Nations Charter. a loser of WWII. 21 20 8 . Article 77 refers to any prior political arrangement that has bequeathed the territory to international trusteeship. Article 76(b) of the UN Charter states that a trusteeship must promote political.20 In other words. any such global trusteeship over Antarctica would be illegal. 23 Japan. because of its participation in the International Geophysical Year. However.´24 Therefore. the ATCPs would never consent to turning over As of this writing. a United Nations trusteeship (per Chapter XII of the UN Charter) would be inappropriate based on several grounds. none of the Antarctic ³metropols´ were losers of World War II or willingly relinquished their claims over the continent. Although a select international condominium administration of Antarctica may sound less equitable or legitimate than a truly global arrangement.motions and measures at ATCMs can only be decided by the twenty-eight ATCPs. Any state wishing to become a consultative member to the Treaty must have significant activity in Antarctica and a unanimous invitation from ATCPs (Hannessian 474). 22 United Nations Charter. Article 80(1) prohibits the administration of any trusteeship that might infringe on the rights of any state25.21 However. it was included in the 1959 ATS summit. 25 Ibid. For these reasons.

The 1959 Antarctic Treaty established the ATCM and consisted of fourteen articles. and encourages scientific research and cooperation among all of its signatories. even international conventions. other relevant organizations and conventions. 26 9 . Therefore. the environment and geology rather than politics. eventually entering in to force in 1961. Even if they did. but they were generally limited to dealing in science. Since the entire sovereignty of Antarctica lies completely with the ATCP states in a consortium arrangement. It was based on the fantastic degree of international cooperation and collaboration during the International Geophysical Year project. Since 1994. it was the only main organ of the System. the legality of that trusteeship would still be in question. from 1961 until 1991. it is doubtful that the administrative machinery even exists to allow for a global trusteeship. for the first thirty years of the treaty¶s existence. every decision enacted by any international body must receive the consent of the ATCM.26 ATS Principal Organs I. The treaty preserves Antarctica for peaceful means. non-consultative parties (such as CEP signatories). and the only vehicle through which the international community could hope to influence administration of the continent. Article IV puts a freeze on all new and old sovereignty claims to the The UN trusteeship committee was officially decommissioned in 1994 after the independence of Palau. Although there may be many states represented and several NGOs and individuals in attendance at the ATCM. The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting and Parties (1961) The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) is the ultimate organ of the Treaty System. the ATCM has met annually at conferences around the world. and consists of representation from ATCPs. only ATCPs are allowed to vote at the meetings. In fact. Until 1991. there were other organizations involved in Antarctica.administration of their sovereign territorial claims to the United Nations.

These newer and less developed states were greatly concerned with the possibility that ATCPs 27 28 Hannessian. in order to ensure mutual compliance with the treaty. Interestingly. it requires that an ATCP inform every other party about any upcoming expeditions or scientific missions in the region. but more in matters of exchange of information and cooperation between the ATCPs in Antarctica. It also calls for the completely unrestricted aerial surveillance by any ATCP of any other treaty party in Antarctica. It calls for the unlimited and unimpeded access of ATCP observers to facilities and territories anywhere on the continent. the ATS is the first agreement signed between the United States and the Soviet Union allowing for mutual inspections. 471. the overwhelming majority of which were states from the developing world. These two articles hold the key to international cooperation on the continent.continent. The Committee on Environmental Protocol (1991) The first major structural overhaul of the ATS occurred just as the treaty came up for its thirty year review. transparency and trust. placating those signatories who were concerned about their national rights. as jealously guarded sovereignty claims are balanced out by increased communication. As stipulated in Artcile XII of the treaty. 10 . Article IX deals less with matters of observation. Article VII of the treaty stands out as the most profound and innovative section. II.28 The passing decades had seen a dramatic increase in membership in the United Nations. Article V bans nuclear explosions and disposal from Antarctica and Article VI defines the jurisdiction of the treaty to areas south of 60°S (including certain territories and boundaries to the immediate north).27 Furthermore.

A.32 However. 32 Ibid. Although it has no enforcement mechanisms. the ATCPs were facing increased pressure to either adopt stricter guidelines that would limit their unchallenged power over the continent or to share their sovereignty with other non-ATCP states.S. 31 Bahai Paraiso wreck near Palmer Station (U. The CEP collects and disseminates envinronmental. The CEP. The International and Comparative Law Quarterly 43. Catherine.. meteorological and scientific data. 611. and is advisory only. as well as procedures for setting up bases and appropriately and responsibly executing expeditions. 30 ibid. is a body wholly subordinated to the ATCM. public consciousness as to the dangers of unregulated mineral extraction in the environmentally pristine Polar Regions was further heightened. 624. Environmental Protocol on Antarctica: The 1991 Protocol. 602.33 It lays down guidelines for the disposal and treatment of waste. The result of this lobbying by both the international community and civil society was the ATCM adoption of a Committee on Environmental Protection (CEP). but also the impacts of human habitation. it represents an effective compromise to raise awareness and accountability of ATCPs and their actions. Ibid. Alaska.. adopted in the early 1990s. 11 . the rise of the influence of NGOs in international organizations had done much to educate the public and governments around the world about the importance of the environment and its heritage in Antarctica.) in Antarctica and Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound. 602. 33 Ibid.. It studies not just the local flora and fauna of the continent.30 As a result.3 (July 1994): 601.29 Furthermore. Following oil-spill disasters in the late 1980s in both the Antarctic and the Arctic regions31. the CEP seems based in increasing the flow and exchange of information between the three principle interest groups in 29 Redgwell. and all of its recommendations and reports are subject to approval by the ATCM..might exploit and unevenly benefit from Antarctic resources.

the CEP cleverly attempts to blur the lines between political and environmental risks.37 The CEP acknowledges other environmental conventions in Antarctica. The Committee on Environmental Protection generally convenes about once a year in parallel with the ATCM summit. 12 . is most concerned about the preservation of the natural state of the continent and the ecosystem. their debates may go to waste and their views may fall on deaf ears. the international community and the public at large. However. 621.35 States that do not conduct significant operations in Antarctica but still wish to participate in the ATS. However. 612-613. they are welcome to join the CEP and may attend the ATCM summits with full delegations.36 They may. Ibid. the CEP may meet between summits with the approval of the ATCPs. However. as all CEP recommendations are subject to the approval of the ATCM. when the need arises.34 The ATCPs have always been concerned with political risks regarding their behavior in the Antarctic. are ineligible to join the ATCM as voting members. Unlike ATCPs. The international community may have been most concerned with economic and resource exploitation and the ATCPs enriching themselves to the exclusion of other nations. 37 Revised Rules of Procedure for the Committee For Environmental Protection (2010): Rule 9. CEP members are not permitted to participate in direct ATCM decision making... Finally. participate in CEP measures and debates. of course. for whom Antarctica is an environmental heritage. including the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine 34 35 Ibid. 621-622. the general public. 36 Revised ATCM Rules of Procedure (2008): 29.Antarctica: the ATCPs. By calling for improved transparency between the ATCPs and improved public access to ATCM deliberations. giving weight to public considerations in the eyes of the ATCM.

Scoti. has been significantly magnified over the decades. is devoid of any executive or legislative character. 623. The mission of the Secretariat. Article I points out that the Secretariat is a subordinate organ to the ATCM. 2003): 476. including: assisting the host government in the preparation of ATCM meetings. Institutional Developments within the Antarctic System. 13 .38 There are currently twenty-one states that have acceded to the CEP. - III. The Secretariat mechanism enables the ATCM to relegate administrative and clerical tasks.2 (April. according to the measure upon which it is founded. but have not become full ATCPs in the Antarctic Treaty System. The Secretariat (2004) The second major overhaul to the structure of the System occurred in 2004. collation of information for ATCM/CEP meetings. when the ATCPs negotiated the establishment of a permanent Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty that would support the work and activities of the ATCM. drafting final 38 39 Redgwell. Currently. The Secretariat is itself a product of the global age. so that member states can focus on more important matters of action. The ATCPs that established the organ were careful not to surrender any of their own power in the agreement. translation and interpretation. The International and Comparative Law Quarterly 52. organizing and distributing documents. over 80% of the world¶s population is represented by states who are party to the Antarctic Treaty39. as they specifically instruct the Secretariat when and where to assist and support the ATCM. based on logistical considerations alone. Article II lists the numerous duties of the Secretariat. prepare meeting agenda and reports.Living Resources (CCAMLR). Karen. and the difficulty of managing such an arrangement. copying.

The Executive Secretary is not to serve for more than two terms. Annex to Decision 3 (2003): Staff Regulations for the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty: Regulation 6. a face to the name.reports.aq (e. meaning that he does not need to seek the approval of the ATCM. depending on a party¶s capacity to pay. in a sense. Measure #1: Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty. It is financed by the ATCPs: generally 50% of equal contributions from each party. He is to be a national of one of the ATCPs. and not for their own national interest. representing the only organ involved in the administration of an entire continent. and generally 50% from varying contributions depending on the extent of Antarctic activities of each party. Article III established an office of the Executive Secretary: an individual who would lead the Secretariat.40 The Antarctic Treaty Secretariat maintains a website containing public archives and information databases compiled from the ATCM and several related organizations. although not in every country party to the Antarctic Treaty. Adjustments to this structure are possible. The country code top level domain (ccTLD) for identifying web addresses for Antarctica is . 2003). Antarctica was given. might seem to wield impressive power and importance.1. The Headquarters Agreement provides for diplomatic immunity for Secretariat staff in Argentina. The Secretariat is comprised of an international staff working on behalf of the ATCM itself.aq). Article 2. The Executive Secretary hires all his own staff. 42 United Nations Charter: Article 100 (on The Secretariat ).ats. Finally.41 The Secretariat headquarters is located in Buenos Aires. it is important to 41 ATCM XXV CEP VI (Madrid. This international commitment mirrors the staff at other major international organizations.g. and representing and educating the public and other international organizations about the Antarctic Treaty System. In what was for so many years a mysterious and exclusive international organization. 40 14 .42 Although the Secretariat. most notably the United Nations. and his terms last four years. coordination and facilitation of communication between ATCPs. www.

aq/e/about.C.46 The three organs of the ATS account for three major issues of Antarctic governance: political (ATCM). Russian and Spanish) to all the parties to the treaty.45 Prior to the establishment of the Secretariat. Regulation 2. staff members may neither seek nor accept instructions from any government or authority43 other than the ATCM.. The Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) was created in 1988.remember that it is still completely subordinate to the ATCM and its members. Annex to Decision 3 (2003): Staff Regulations for the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty: Regulation 2. scientific-environmental (CEP) and administrative (Secretariat). 46 Ibid.4 of the Annex to Decision 3 (2003): Staff Regulations for the Secretariat states that ³in the performance of their duties. Washington was also responsible for collecting and disseminating the relevant information in the four Antarctic languages (English. 2011. since the founding of the Secretariat. was the central depository for ATS agreements and documents.htm>. archivist and dispensary of ATS information. However. D.´44 In other words. Just about the only liberty it has is the ability to procure movable property (although for any non-movable property. a quick survey of the Secretariat website reveals a permanent staff of just nine individuals. and brings together national Antarctic 43 44 My underline. accessed December 7. 15 . the headquarters in Buenos Aires is the official depository. As such.4. French. as the site of the treaty signing. the United States government in Washington. the ATS also encompasses lesser conventions and issues. the Secretariat is to take no initiative on its own. it must seek the approval of the ATCM). And lest anyone think that the Secretariat might grow to develop its own bloated bureaucracy and diplomatic corps. All of its duties are clearly spelled out in ATCM decisions. However. 45 Antarctic Treaty Secretariat website < http://ats.

). 16 .aq/>. and provides the ATS with ³objective and practical. it aims to provide ³international. established in 1991. and it was established following the International Geophysical Year in 1957 in order to continue and better mobilize international scientific cooperation in Antarctica. SCAR publishes scientific data. 2011. 50 By contrast. Every ATCP has a national program that organizes its operations in Antarctica. SCAR website < http://www. responsible regulation of tourism is also an important aspect of international cooperation.scar. promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic.47 Another important organization in Antarctica is the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).000 tourists visit Antarctica in a typical year50.comnap. independent. Its membership consists of delegates from ATCPs as well as from international scientific organizations. they arrive 47 48 COMNAP website < https://www. technical and non-political advice´ based on the expertise aggregated from the various national programs.000 people pass through Manhattan s Grand Central Terminal every day (MTAMetroNorth: GCT Tours. COMNAP reports annually to the ATCM. accessed December 6. SCAR¶s roots predate even the ATS. and COMNAP provides a forum for these various programs to exchange information. Although most of the discussion around Antarctica is with regard to scientific research or environmental protection. discuss best practices and facilitate partnerships.´48 SCAR is widely recognized as one of the most important and revered organizations operating in Antarctica.org/> . more than 700.49 The International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO). information and reports all for public consumption. 2011. Similar to COMNAP.programs outside the formal and politically charged boardroom of the ATCM. COMNAP chiefly supports scientific research in Antarctica. 30 November 2011. accessed December 6.´ Although fewer than 50. also works closely with the Treaty Secretariat to ³advocate. 49 The CEP agreement includes an annex that briefly addresses tourism related issues. scientific advice to the Antarctic Treaty and to other bodies.

17 . despite great political differences between some ATCPs.52 language has been filed down or generalized so as to broaden the base for international consensus. there are still undefined questions of jurisdiction (especially with regard to criminal law in Antarctica). ensuring that any of Earth¶s 7 billion humans can enjoy the Antarctica without destructively disturbing the continent for future generations. In at least two of the major conventions.53 Furthermore. failing to meticulously define items in a contract or neglecting to address difficult points of disagreement could present legal or operational obstacles. 53 Hannessian 472 54 Ibid.org/what-is-iaato>. and their impact on operations and the delicate environment can be significant.51 Language of the Accords One interesting theme that has cropped up in the texts of the ATS conventions over the years is the importance that careful phraseology has played in its success. over land and in the air. the willingness of the parties to table or temporarily freeze contentious issues. Traditionally. has aided in the adoption of ATS regulations. For example. careful regulation of tourism should not be thought of as restrictive. Not every tour operator is a member of IAATO. the 1959 Treaty as well as the 1991 CEP agreement. instead of tackling them head on. 2011.54 Similarly. the territory of ³Antarctica´ as mentioned in the treaty has never been specifically defined. IAATO members consist of private tour operators from around the world. 606. However. because of the special circumstances that surrounded Antarctic 51 52 IAATO website < http://iaato. Redgwell. However. The IAATO provides a framework for responsible tourism.on the sea. accessed December 6.

It numbered only twelve states in 1959. even among states that are not party to the ATS. a large group.cooperation from 1959 right up to the present day. it introduced new normative expectations of international behavior that have so far proved incredibly persuasive. 806-807. and today consists of only twenty-eight. Antarctica thrives as an 55 Shusterich. Despite these apparent blemishes. even though they are considered to be rife with vagaries and ambiguities. the high-degree of compliance has not only eliminated cheating by states both within and outside the ATS. cooperation was built around a proven source of mutual understanding: the scientific. it has also negated the need for revising the original principles of the Antarctic treaty. Additionally. and certainly was not in the early days of the convention. to resolve the question of sovereignty on the continent. the very reason for the negotiation of an Antarctic treaty. By choosing certain vague language. Since the moment of its signing. the Treaty system has been a rousing success. although these states may have been at odds politically beyond the boundaries of 60°S. This has ensured widespread compliance. Furthermore. such as the United States and the USSR during the cold war or the United Kingdom and Argentina over the Falklands. The body of states governing Antarctica is not. 18 . environmental and civil cooperation of the International Geophysical Year experiment.55 Evaluation By all accounts. Furthermore. the non-confrontational nature of the drafting was the precisely formula for fostering trust and consensus. has never been addressed and most likely will not be in our lifetimes. the ATCPs were able to find vast common ground with regard to Antarctica itself. freezing certain issues such as sovereignty and letting sleeping dogs lie.

our home.international regime. and spent the next thirty-five years mired in unprecedented violence and terror. fertile and arid. political and sociological realms were completely reinvented. since 1959. Sure enough. the millennial sprint finally came to an end when man first reached the South Pole: truly the last place on Earth. As the In fact. 808. irrigated. claimed. the financial. wet and dry. 19 . seeking to conquer the planet through colonization and exploitation of virgin territory. civilization no longer had collective direction. It is a temple to scientific research.56 Legacy For thousands of years. Civilization in the aftermath of World War II. the nation-state has tirelessly scoured the surface of the Earth. Although the 20th century was already wellunderway. inspection. mapped and settled. For the next three decades.. and on the other to further develop the map that we already have. Civilization had uncovered lands high and low. a haven from nuclear activity and military personnel from all nationalities abound (in support of peaceful efforts) without even the slightest suspicion of hostile intentions. with the terrestrial map now completely filled in. making way for a gentler and more compassionate modernity. exactly 100 years ago today. in 1911. chaos ensued. Terrain of every imaginable type had been drained. 2011. faces two new directions and responsibilities: on the one hand to explore space and chart new maps. some of the greatest advancements of the last fifty have involved extending mankind¶s presence in space 56 57 Ibid. mankind had finally run out of territory to explore. However. tearing down most of the civil institutions that had guided humanity up until that point. no ATCP has ever failed an confusion of two global wars subsided. Amundsen s expedition reached the South Pole on December 14.57 After racing to chart our planet.

this world will provide a further landscape for humans to study and chart. 58 20 . perhaps against all odds. it remains a limitless depository of knowledge. in the next few centuries.and other celestial discoveries. Although the international community continues to debate how best to preserve and develop our planet for the future. Perhaps. a haven for nature and a heritage for all people and for future generations. 59 By the sector principle. It was the last place on Earth to be reached by men and under the stewardship of the Antarctic Treaty and the very best that our limited international political system can offer it. 2011.58 as well as development of global infrastructure. Antarctica has been more or less protected from the political wrangling. Due to unlikely international cooperation and coordination. cannot mathematically be claimed (although the United States maintains Amundsen-Scott Station there). the South Pole. communications and sustainability here on Earth. NASA announced the first discovery of an Earth-like planet in our galaxy with a reasonable chance of supporting life. 90 degrees S.59 On December 6. it will be the last place on Earth to be owned.

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