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14. Panel Discussion on Conservation and Environment The panel consisted of Martin Holdgate (moderator), Sachiko Kuwabara, Kenton Miller, and W. Timothy Hushen. REMARKS BY SACHIKO KUWABARA Kuwabara stated that the protection and preservation of the unique environmental value of Antarctica from harmful impacts of human activities merit the broadest kind of international cooperation. The significance of Antarctica in understanding and maintaining the ecological balance of planet Earth makes it a matter of interest to all nations, both within and outside the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS). Moreover, as with scientific research, international cooperation to safeguard the Antarctic environment could, and should, in her view, be promoted without having to resolve the legal status of Antarctica. Kuwabara outlined three steps to accomplish this objec- tive. The first step is to utilize existing systems of cooperation in environmental protection, first and fore- most the ATS, which has demonstrated its ability to cope successfully with emerging environmental concerns in Antarctica and has provided a viable framework for further collaboration in this field. Kuwabara believes, however, that states party to the Antarctic Treaty should provide more opportunities to interested nonparty states and to competent international organizations to contribute to environmental management policies for Antarctica. She suggested that the ATS should increase the flow of infor- mation on measures relevant to the protection of the Antarctic environment to these entities and that their participation as observers in Antarctic meetings should be promoted. Second, coordination among existing international organization programs and forums relevant to environ- mental protection in Antarctica should be increased. On the one hand, exchange of information on a continuing 211
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212 basis would facilitate wider appreciation on the part of the international community at large of the work carried out under the ATS. On the other hand, the ATS could benefit from drawing on internationally agreed guidelines, principles, and standards developed by these programs. For example, the results of the monitoring programs carried out under the ATS would be a valuable input into the Global Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS) of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Conversely, UNEP environmental management guidelines and programs could offer useful contributions to the work of the ATS in such areas as environmental impact assessment, control of marine pollution from offshore mining and drilling, hazardous waste management, and the protection and environmentally sound development of regional seas and their coastal areas. Third, at some time in the future it might be neces- sary to improve or~develop mechanisms to fill in the gaps in international cooperation for the protection of the Antarctic environment. Kuwabara believes that some of these gaps have already been recognized, such as the limited scope of measures relating to pollution preven- tion and the lack of guidance regarding environmentally sound development of Antarctica and its resources. In addition, it might be necessary to strengthen existing mechanisms for consultation and conflict resolution with respect to environmental concerns. Equally important, collective procedures should be developed to review poten- tial environmental impacts of proposed activities in Antarctica and to ensure that damaging activities do not take place or continue. In this context, Kuwabara noted that the discussions among the consultative parties concerning the application under the ATS of environmental impact assessment procedures are of great interest to the international environmental community. R1~IARKS BY KENTON R. MILLER Miller noted that the twelfth consultative meeting had considered the question of inviting relevant inter- national organizations to participate in future treaty meetings with the status of observer. As the director general of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), he expressed IUCN's interest in supporting the efforts of the ATS and noted his organization's qualifications for observer
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213 status at consultative meetings and with the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). In summary, he believes that IUCN has interests and expertise in Antarctica and can make serious scientific contributions; represents a wide range of interests embracing scientific, technical, aesthetic, and moral considerations; has experience in theoretical and prac- tical questions of natural resources planning and manage- ment as well as in promoting public awareness; and main- tains linkages with a broad world community. He noted in particular IUCN's expertise in protected areas. In assessing the ATS, Miller commended its operation as a preventive mechanism with respect to environmental damage but questioned the lack of an environmental manage- ment review mechanism under the ATS comparable with peer review within the scientific community. In this context, he stressed the need for the ATS to create a sense of confidence in the effective implementation of its objec- tives and responsibilities. He supported the proposal for a continental conservation strategy for Antarctica as a positive step, believing that this would offer a major opportunity to deal with mechanisms to evaluate and manage Antarctica as well as to build confidence in that process. _ _ ~ ,= _ _ _ More specifically with respect to the role of IUCN, Miller noted that the General Assembly of IUCN has given mandates and directives to the organization on Antarctica, indicating IUCN's interest in the area, and that IUCN has already made contributions that demonstrate its expertise in the subject. He cited the following examples of IUCN's activities in this regard: (1) Provision of guidance to IUCN on its policy and program by IUCN Antarctic Experts Advisory Committee, consisting of recognized scientists and lawyers; (2) IUCN representation at the meetings of the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and contributions to the work of CCAMLR committees; (3) Drafting, promotion, and monitoring of major international treaties and conventions dealing with natural resources management and conservation by IUCN's Environmental Law Center in Bonn; (4) Development of a data base on the status of species and genetic resources, protected areas, and trade in endangered species by IUCN Conservation Monitoring Center in the United Kingdom;
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214 (5) Joint sponsorship with SCAR in April 1985 workshop held in Bonn on the scientific requirements for Antarctic conservation, in which IUCN scientific and technical commissions, made up of networks of experts in law, ecology, protected areas management, education, and species and environmental planning, collaborated; (6) Development and promotion of the World Conserva- tion Strategy (WCS), in close collaboration with UNEP and the World Wildlife Fund International, and the forthcoming peer review of the application of the WCS at a major conference in Ottawa in 1986; and (7) Benefit to IUCN's council from the close and regular participation by the International Council of Scientific Unions, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and other organizations with major interests and mandates on the conservation of living natural resources. Finally, Miller noted that a unique and relevant feature of IUCN is its global membership of 57 states, 125 government agencies, and 339 nongovernment organiza- tions, including important universities, research facilities, and citizens conservation groups. REMARKS BY W. TIMOTHY HUSHEN Hushen discussed the role of SCAR in Antarctic conserva- tion. He noted that SCAR, as requested by the Antarctic Treaty's twelfth consultative meeting, is completing a document containing advice on (1) the categories of research and logistics activity in Antarctica that might reasonably be expected to have significant impacts on the environment in Antarctica, and (2) procedures for assessing and monitoring these impacts. SCAR has prepared a publication on conservation areas in the Antarctic. At the XVIII SCAR meeting, in Bremer- haven, Federal Republic of Germany, in September/October 1984, SCAR developed proposals for additional Sites of Special Scientific Interest, including marine sites. These documents and recommendations will be considered by the thirteenth Antarctic Treaty consultative meeting, in October 1985. Hushen indicated that SCAR has also been discussing the possible development of a new type of protected area in Antarctica. Such areas will be larger and will include
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215 plans for multiple uses such as tourism and scientific research. DISCUSSION There was unanimous agreement on the importance of the Antarctic environment as a component of planetary systems. Study of the Antarctic environment provides broader insight into global climate, atmospheric geophysics, and the structure and history of the southern continents. It is also valuable as a baseline for monitoring climatic change (from the long record in ice cores) and changes caused by humans (for example, the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the possible reduction in stratospheric ozone, and variations in aerosol and par- ticulate deposits). It provides opportunities for research on unique ecological systems, including those within translucent rocks, those of primitive soil and vegetation, and those attached to floating sea ice. It also allows for examination of the adaptation of organisms to extreme conditions. Finally, the Antarctic environment is a legitimate object of concern because of its great natural beauty and relative immunity from human distur- bance. There was no dissent from the conclusion that the ATS has provided an invaluable framework for the develop- ment of scientific research on these and other environmental features. It was agreed that the conservation of the Antarctic environment is of high priority. Moreover, although much of this environment appears robust in the face of human interference, this apparent resilience should not be taken for granted. The approximately two percent of land not covered by permanent ice and snow includes many habitats vulnerable to human pressure, and it is these areas that are the most likely to attract such pressures. Ice-free coastal lowlands, for example, support the most advanced Antarctic vegetation and the largest seabird and seal colonies; but they are also the most attractive sites for scientific stations and their logistics support facilities. Suggestions to reduce potential environmental impacts by sharing program facilities received some attention. It was agreed further that the ATS has proved itself as an evolving series of agreements and institutions within which measures to protect the environment have been developed. The preventive nature of these measures,
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216 which have almost all been drawn up in advance of the threats that they set out to regulate, is an important characteristic and one that fully accords with the modern philosophy of environmental protection. In this sense the ATS has been a true pioneer, and the conservation agreements achieved under it are more comprehensive than can be found in any other area of similar size. It was noted that these measures in Antarctica go a long way toward meeting the objectives of the WCS. There is now a good case for consolidating what has been achieved and defining what else needs to be done. At the twelfth Antarctic Treaty consultative meeting it was recognized that there is a need to consider whether further coordination is necessary of the various elements of environmental protection contained in the ATS. At its 16th General Assembly (Madrid, 1984) IUCN recommended "that a comprehensive review be carried out under the Antarctic Treaty system of the existing environmental and conservation Conventions and measures, with a view to determining whether any new Conventions or measures are needed for the environmental protection of the Antarctic environment and the Southern Ocean," and it was noted that the director general of IUCN has a mandate to con- tribute to this work. It was felt that IUCN, in coopera- tion with SCAR and especially following the SCAR/IUCN Symposium (Bonn, April 1985), is well placed to cooperate with the ATS in what was seen as the need to prepare a conservation strategy for the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean. It was believed to be important that in the preparation of such a strategy the participants in the ATS should broaden the base of their work and should make use of the expertise and experience available to them in other international organizations, such as IUCN and UNEP. The panel participants recognized that additional action might be needed in a number of areas, including (1) Monitoring and assessment. It was noted that SCAR, in answer to a request from Antarctic Treaty governments, is developing advice on procedures for evaluating and monitoring impacts of science and logistics activities on the Antarctic environment and that the resulting document is to be submitted to the thirteenth Antarctic Treaty consultative meeting. It was noted, however, that there is a shortage of published data on, and assessments of, the state of the Antarctic environment, although research in these areas is ongoing. One of the problems is that the
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217 scale of Antarctica makes overall monitoring difficult. One participant suggested that a secretariat could be established to help determine what studies should be undertaken. (2) Information. It was also suggested that insuffi- cient information about the state of the Antarctic environment was being published or otherwise made available. (3) Coverage of protected areas. ensure that effective, long-term protection is afforded to a truly representative, and adequately extensive, series of Antarctic habitats. Recent experience in the Nordic countries was cited as a precedent for managing a series of selected areas in a coordinated way to meet the needs of science and tourism. It was noted that SCAR is currently publishing Conservation Areas in the Antarctic (March, 1985) and is also considering the case for a new category of conserva- tion area. There is a need to (4) Inspection and enforcement. It was suggested that the existing arrangements for inspection under the treaty might be used to check that protected areas are being respected and that other environmental measures-- for example, on waste disposal and impact assessment-- are being implemented properly. As the number of activities in Antarctica increases, the inspection system should be expanded and perfected, since it represents a unique adaptation to enforcement in the situation of jurisdictional ambiguity existing in Antarctica. Joint inspections by one or more countries might increase the frequency of inspection and allow more countries to conduct them by reducing costs to any single country. The consultative parties should not assume that the measures that they have adopted are operating effectively without such checks. Moreover, there is a need to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Antarctic - management system. In response to a question about whether the inspection provisions currently apply to environmental issues, it was pointed out that they apply to all measures adopted pursuant to the Antarctic Treaty, including those having to do with the environment. It was also noted that there should be a link between such inspections and monitoring and assessment arrange- ments and that the CCAMLR has an inspection and enforcement system of its own.
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218 Thought might also need to be given to the nature of enforcement with respect to individual offenders--a wider issue within the treaty system. One participant questioned whether an international approach to enforcement might be pursued, while another doubted whether enforcement could be effectively carried out in the absence of a permanent structure under the Antarctic Treaty. (5) Development of a capacity to handle economic pressures. It was noted that some conservation measures under the treaty system, such as the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals or CCAMLR, have not been truly tested; the effectiveness of the latter will be judged by its capacity to set and enforce catch limits (for finfish as well as krill) and other regulations with sufficient flexibility to permit progressive adjustment as scientific knowledge grows. (ah is subject is considered further in Chapters 15 and 16.) (6) Development of an effective regime to prevent environmental damage from minerals exploration or exploitation. It was clear that many doubted the likelihood or the desirability of minerals development in the Antarctic. Granted the possibility of such development, however, it was agreed that a strongly protective regime should be drawn up as a further step in the development of a preventive approach to environmental management. ~ ~~ ~ in more detail in Chapters 17-20.) (This subject is considered As part of the adaptive evolution of the ATS in the environmental field, many participants supported the case for stronger links with international organizations with relevant expertise. The unique role of SCAR was generally appreciated. Climatic data from Antarctica were being drawn on by the World Meteorological Organization in the World Climate Research Program. The IUCN can contribute substantial understanding of wildlife and habitat con- servation principles and practices. UNEP can offer ideas on environmental impact assessment, marine pollution control, and hazardous waste management and itself needs to draw on Antarctic data in the GEMS and in state-of-the- environment assessments. The UNEP regional seas program might provide assistance to consultative meetings or CCAMLR discussions. The workshop heard suggestions that consultative meetings might benefit from the presence of UNEP and IUCN as observers, as sources of relevant expert ideas and suggestions.
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219 The institutional machinery for developing Antarctic conservation may need to be developed further. Most participants accepted, on pragmatic grounds, that the sensible course is to build on the existing institutions of the treaty system, and it was noted that these have evolved and are still doing so. It was suggested that some kind of full-time Antarctic environmental protection agency staffed by trained professionals might be justi- fied, to carry out monitoring, assessment, and inspec- tions; manage protected areas; produce publications; and act in support of the treaty consultative meetings. Such a group might be backed by a special fund administered by nongovernmental agencies. The case for these and other mechanisms might usefully be considered in the process of preparing the proposed conservation strategy for the Antarctic. It was, however, stressed that the ATS depends on consensus among the independent, sovereign consultative and contracting parties. While the treaty system could be viewed as a management tool, it has not fully inter- nationalized or unified the continent in an administrative sense. Moreover, its responsibilities are broader than environmental protection alone. Outside organizations should work by persuasion, based in turn on the quality of their ideas, and need to recog- nize that the ATS is a unique attempt to provide a frame- work for the management of geopolitical tensions that, if they were not so managed, would represent a far greater threat to the Antarctic environment and wildlife conserva- tion than any activity in Antarctica being conducted at present or foreseen in the future.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: