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Who owns Antarctica?. Without an international agreement like the Antarctic Treaty there would be a free-for-all in Antarctica – anybody could do or take what they want.

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Without an international agreement like the Antarctic Treaty there would be a free-for-all in Antarctica – anybody could do or take what they want.
  • Let’s try to come up with a list of five rules that you agree are the bare minimum for any Treaty that decides what goes on in Antarctica.
  • This word bank might be helpful:
  • Ban | Quota | Limit | Introduce | Prohibit | Prevent | Protect | Reduce | Improve | Enhance | Monitor
of everything we have tried to do worldwide up until now

Of everything we have tried to do worldwide up until now

The Antarctic Treaty

was most important

and

the one we did as well as we could do

the antarctic treaty system
The Antarctic treaty system
  • “It is in the interest of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue to be used forever for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord”The Antarctic Treaty, 1961
  • Diplomats and scientists meet each year to upgrade the Antarctic Treaty System.
the 1961 antarctic treaty covers five key areas
Countries that sign up to the Treaty are free to carry out scientific research in Antarctica and must share their results

All testing of nuclear weapons and the dumping of radioactive waste is forbidden in Antarctica

The 1961 Antarctic Treaty covers five key areas:
the 1961 antarctic treaty covers five key areas1
No military activities are allowed in Antarctica – the continent must be used for peaceful purposes only

Claims to slices of Antarctica by individual countries are set aside so long as the Treaty exists

The 1961 Antarctic Treaty covers five key areas:
the 1961 antarctic treaty covers five key areas2
And finally

The Treaty promotes Antarctica as a place to undertake important scientific research

The 1961 Antarctic Treaty covers five key areas:
in addition there are 4 other agreements that now make up the full antarctica treaty system are
Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctica Flora and Fauna (1964):

Pioneering laws protecting Antarctica’s plants and animals. This has now been superseded by the Protocol on Environmental Protection.

Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (1972):

The Convention bans the killing of both Ross and Antarctic fur seals. No hunting of seals is carried out in Antarctica.

In addition, there are 4 other agreements that now make up the full ‘Antarctica Treaty System’ are:
in addition there are 4 other agreements that now make up the full antarctica treaty system are1
Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (1982):

This agreement controls the amount of fishing that is allowed in Antarctic waters by giving licences to fish up to a certain agreed limit. These fishing limits (or ‘quotas’) also take into account the possible knock-on effects of fishing on the rest of the marine food web.

The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (1998):

The Environmental Protocol is one of the toughest sets of rules for any environment in the world. Under the agreement, no new activities are allowed in Antarctica until their potential impacts on the environment have been properly assessed and minimised.

In addition, there are 4 other agreements that now make up the full ‘Antarctica Treaty System’ are:
these are based on real applications can you use the rules to decide on a fair result
These are based on real applicationsCan you use the rules to decide on a fair result?
  • 1. Scientists have collected a rock containing platinum group elements. They want to take samples away to conduct experiments.
  • 2. Scientists from different nations want to share your data and information about climate change.
some more
Some more ..
  • Your scientists want to catch up to 600 Minke whales a year in Antarctic waters for scientific research.
  • A big clothing company wants to start a fashion craze for seal fur coats, and have submitted a proposal to catch a hundred fur seals a year.
  • Scientists want to build an airstrip at one of your research stations in order to bring in supplies and people by plane
some more1
Some more ..
  • In recent years, your nuclear energy programme has grown as a way of reducing carbon emissions from other energy sources. There is a proposal to dispose of your nuclear waste in remote parts of the Antarctic ice sheet.
  • Tuvalu, a small country in the South Pacific, wants to sign up to the Antarctic Treaty. Scientists from Tuvalu want to take part in Antarctic research into climate change. As Tuvalu’s islands lie only four metres above sea level, life for the 10,500 people that live there is threatened by rising sea levels caused by climate change.
  • A proposal to use military satellite data to spot fishing boats in Antarctic waters that are fishing illegally has been submitted.
some more2
Some more ..
  • A section of your fishing industry wants to make up for the depleted stocks of fish at home by increasing their catches in Antarctic waters.
  • A medical research unit wants to harvest some microscopic plants from the depths of the Southern Ocean with the hope of developing a new way of treating people with third degree skin burns.
  • .
what we are going to do
What we are going to do
  • The decisions made by the Antarctic Treaty and the amendments and additions that came afterwards will appear on the next few pages.
  • Classify the articles under the following headings; use a different colour for each heading.
    • Articles about protecting the environment.
    • Articles about co-operation between countries in Antarctica.
    • Articles about how Antarctica should be governed.
    • Articles about how Antarctica should be used
  • N.B. there could be some bi, tri, quad shading!
for homework
For homework
  • In Word/PowerPoint with the page in landscape arrange 10 of the articles into a pyramid, at the top of the pyramid should be the statement that you feel is most important for Antarctica’s future.
  • Next to it, explain why you feel it is important.
territorial claims a slice of history
Territorial claims: a slice of history
  • Early Southern Ocean explorers, sealers and whalers claimed for their countries the islands closest to Antarctica as they discovered them in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Once expeditions began to discover the Antarctic continent, they too claimed the parts they saw.
  • Seven Antarctic territorial claims still exist today, all using lines of longitude to define their boundaries. On a map these boundaries divide Antarctica into slices like a pie, with different countries each claiming a wedge of the continent, and one piece left unclaimed. The timeline shows the order of key events relating to the claims.
  • During the 1940s and 1950s the claims were a source of international conflict.
  • Countries with overlapping claims disagreed, countries with none refused to recognise any of the claims, and the USA and the former USSR said they had a right to make claims in future if they wanted to.
territorial claims a slice of history1
Territorial claims: a slice of history
  • The Antarctic Treaty found a very clever way to make sure these difficulties wouldn’t get in the way of international cooperation for the research and protection of Antarctica.
  • The Treaty doesn’t allow or disallow claims, but instead puts them to one side, and no new claims can be made.
  • Because none of the countries were forced to give up their own claims (or accept anyone else’s), they were willing to put aside their disagreements.
  • As a result, researchers from different countries work all around the continent, regardless of the claims.
  • The Treaty ensures freedom of scientific investigation, exchange and co-operation and prohibits military activity - there have been no armed conflicts over Antarctica since it was agreed.
territorial claims a slice of history2
Territorial claims: a slice of history
  • Why do you think countries wanted to claim part of Antarctica?
  • Why do you think the claims are all wedge shaped?
  • Why do you think there is a segment of Antarctica which no country has claimed?
  • Can you think of other places in the world which no country has claimed?
  • Can you think of other parts of the world where different countries disagree over who owns or controls territory? Would the Antarctic Treaty approach work there? Why or why not?