Antarctic Governance

The South Pole at Amundsen–Scott Station. Photograph by US Army.

No one owns Antarctica or the Southern Ocean, but that doesn’t mean that the area is ungoverned.

Human activities in the Antarctic are regulated by treaties and international organizations, some of which are specific to the Antarctic (such as the Antarctic Treaty and the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) and others that govern global maritime activities (such as the International Maritime Organization). In practice, Antarctic governance entails both national and international work. Rules and regulations may be determined at international meetings, but are ultimately implemented by national officials and legislation.

ASOC participates as an NGO observer at important meetings related to Antarctic governance. Thus though we cannot participate in decision making, we can represent the positions of the NGO community that is active on Antarctic issues. Over the years, ASOC’s involvement has proven critical in motivating governments to pursue strong conservation agendas.

To learn more about how Antarctic governance functions, click here.. We also have pages on Antarctic Treaty Meetings, the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, and other bodies with Antarctic govenrnance aspects such as the International Maritime Organization and the International Whaling Commission, and the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels.

830px-Antarctic_RegionMap of the antarctic region Twenty-one of 28 Antarctic consultative countries have made no claims to Antarctic territory (although Russia and the United States have reserved the right to do so) and they do not recognize the claims of the other countries. Source: CIA.