Ukrainian Antarctic journal

No 15 (2016): Ukrainian Antarctic Journal

Antarctic environmental management: achievements and challenges (on the 25th anniversary of the Madrid Protocol)

A. P. Fedchuk
State Institution National Antarctic Scientific Center, Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, 16 Tarasa Shevchenka Blvd., Kyiv, 01601
Published January 18, 2017
  • environmental management and protection,
  • Antarctic legal regime,
  • Committee for Environment Protection,
  • Environmental Impact Assessments,
  • Antarctic protected areas,
  • strategic planning
  • ...More


The 25th anniversary of the signing of the Protocol on Environment Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (the Madrid Protocol), to be celebrated in 2016, provides a great opportunity to assess the effectiveness of the implementation of its provisions within the scope of the larger issues on evolution of the Antarctic environmental management and protection, which currently is one of the priorities for the Antarctic Treaty Parties. This article critically examines the environmental legal tools adopted at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings. The main attention is paid to the analysis of the provisions and structure of the Madrid Protocol and its Annexes, as well as institutional and procedural tools developed by its executive body - the Committee for Environment Protection, CEP (such as the application of Environmental Impact Assessments, conservation of flora and fauna, avoiding pollution of the marine environment, waste management, establishing procedures for area protection and management). The current challenges related to effective Antarctic environmental protection are both human (the extension of national scientific expeditions programs, including the creation of new scientific facilities and transport infrastructure, further growth of international tourism activities) and natural challenges due to changes in the environment (climate change and reducing sea ice, the introduction of non-native biological species). Thus, the outstanding issues of the Protocol implementation are the following: providing an effective mechanism to reduce the cumulative impact of human activities on the Antarctic environment; international cooperation related to the proliferation of stations; more active practical application of the precautionary approach in planning and carrying out Antarctic activities; strengthen the environmental impact assessment process for both governmental scientific and non-governmental commercial activities; and further systematic development of the representative Antarctic protected areas network. The CEP’s multi-year strategic work plan is considered as an organizational and analytical tool focused on environmental issues that should be urgently settled on a priority basis.


  1. Years of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty. - Buenos Aires: ATS. 2016.
  2. An Unprecedented Achievement: 25 Years of the Environmental Protocol. Informational Paper IP-079 submitted by ASOK at the XXXIX ATCM (Santiago, Chile, 2016).
  3. Antarctic Treaty System: An Assessment. Proceedings of a Workshop Held at Beardmore South Field Camp, Antarctica, January 7-13, 1985. Washington, DC.: National Academies Press. 1986. 153-168.
  4. ASOC. Are more Antarctic Stations justified? ASOC. Informational Paper IP-094 submitted by ASOC at the ATCM XXVII (Cape Town, South Africa, 2004).
  5. ASOC. Development Pressures on the Antarctic Wilderness. ASOC. Informational Paper IP-074 submitted by ASOC at the ATCM XXVIII (Stockholm, Sweden, 2005).
  6. ASOC. Station Sharing in Antarctica. ASOC. Informational Paper IP-094 submitted by ASOC at the ATCM XXIX (Edinburgh, 2006).
  7. ASOC. The Antarctic Environmental Protocol, 1991-2011. Informational Paper IP-089rev.1 submitted at the XXXIV ATCM (Buenos Aires, 2011).
  8. ASOC. The Human Footprint of the IPY 2007-2008 in Antarctica. ASOC. Informational Paper IP-086 rev.1 submitted at the XXX ATCM (New Delhi, 2007).
  9. Bastmeijer, K., Roura, R. (2008). Environmental Impact Assessment in Antarctica In: Bastmeijer, Koivurova (eds.) Theory and Practice of the Transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment. Leiden: Brill. Martinus Nijhof Publishers, 175-219.
  10. COMNAP. An Assessment of Environmental Emergencies Arising from Activities in Antarctica. Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP). Working Paper WP-016 submitted to the XXIII Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (Lima, Peru, 1999).
  11. COMNAP. Repair of Remediation of Environmental Damage: COMNAP report on its experience. Working Paper WP-062 submitted to the XXIII Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (Hobart, Australia, 2012)
  12. Fedchuk, A. (2014). Diversification of the tourism activity in Antarctica. Ukrainian Antarctic Journal, 13, 288-296. (in Ukrainian)
  13. Fedchuk, A. (2009). Structure of broad-scale management in the Vernadsky station area. Ukrainian Antarctic Journal, 8, 307-319. (in Ukrainian)
  14. Fedchuk, A. (2011-2012). The evolution of the Antarctic Treaty System: a structure and dynamics of the acts adopted for 1961-2011. Ukrainian Antarctic Journal, 10-11, 406-427. (in Ukrainian)
  15. Fedchuk, A. (2010). The formation of Ukrainian-centric approach in complex-geographical Antarctic research. Geography and Tourism, 5, 159-165. (in Ukrainian)
  16. Fedchuk, A. (2015). The prioritization of Antarctic exploration emerging issues. Ukrainian Antarctic Journal, 14, 261-270. (in Ukrainian)
  17. Hemmings, A., Kriwoken, L. K. (2010). High level Antarctic EIA under the Madrid Protocol: state practice and the effectiveness of the Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation process. Int Environ Agreements, 10, 187-208.
  18. Hemmings, A. D. (2013). ‘Environmental Management’ as Diplomatic Method: The Advancement of Strategic National Interest in Antarctica. In: Ligget, D., Hemmings, A. D. (Eds.), Exploring Antarctic Values. Canterbury: Gateway Antarctica. 70-89.
  19. Hemmings A. D. (2011). Why did we get an International Space Station before an International Antarctic Station? The Polar Journal, 1(1), 5-16.
  20. Hughes, K. A., Pertierra, L. R., Walton, D. W. (2013). Area protection in Antarctica: How can conservation and scientific research goals be managed compatibly? Environmental Science & Policy, 31, 120-132.
  21. Kuzko, O., Fedchuk, A. P., Savchenko, V. V. (2015). The development of Antarctic protected areas: mathematical forecast for 2020. Ukrainian Antarctic Journal, 14, 256-260.
  22. Orheim, O., Press, A., Gilbert, N. (2011). Managing the Antarctic environment: The evolving role of the Committee for Environmental Protection. Science diplomacy: science, Antarctica, and the governance of international spaces, 209-221.
  23. Preconditions for adopting the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. Informational Paper IP-069 submitted by Russian Federation at the ATCM XXXIX (Santiago, Chile, 2016).
  24. Sánchez, R. A., McIvor, E. (2007). The Antarctic Committee for Environmental Protection: past, present, and future. Polar Record, 43(03), 239-246.
  25. Shaw, J. D., Terauds, A., Riddle, M., Possingham, H. P., Chown, S. L. (2014). Antarctica’s Protected Areas Are Inadequate, Unrepresentative, and at Risk. PLos Biol, 12(6), 5.
  26. Summary of Abstracts. Symposium. Working Paper WP-049, submitted by Norway at the ATCM XXXIX (Santiago, Chile, 2016).
  27. The application of existing EIA procedures to tourism activities in Antarctica. Working Paper WP-028, Agenda Item 4c, XXVII ATCM (Cape Town, South Africa, 2004).
  28. The Committee on Environmental Protection of the Antarctic Treaty: An Overview and likely future scenarios. Working Paper WP-009 submitted by Argentina at the ATCM XXVIII (Stockholm, Sweden, 2005).
  29. Tin, T., Fleming, Z. L., Hughes, K. A. et al. (2009). Impacts of local human activities on the Antarctic environment. Antarctic Science, 21(1), 3-33.