Conclusions: Multiple dimensions of human engagement with the Antarctic environment

D. Liggett, M.A.J. Lamers, T. Tin, P.T. Maher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The future scenarios developed by the contributors to this volume communicate a strong message. They concur that existing environmental management practices and the current system of governance are insufficient to meet the obligations set out under the Madrid Protocol to protect the Antarctic environment, let alone to address the challenges facing a warmer and busier Antarctic in the twenty-first century and beyond. However, not all is doom and gloom. A variety of environmental protection provisions have already been agreed. Reassertion and full compliance to their objectives, as well as wider use of existing environmental management tools (e.g. monitoring, information sharing, systematic designation of protected areas) can significantly increase the protection of the Antarctic environment. Notwithstanding, contentious and strategic issues need to be addressed urgently and proactively. Long-term and large-scale considerations need to permeate throughout all the steps of planning, decision making, implementation, enforcement, monitoring and compliance. Decisions should be guided by long-term visions and goals that are supported by genuine commitment from all actors. Multiple dimensions and perspectives of human engagement with the Antarctic environment (e.g. time, space, individual and collective values, ecosystems) need to be taken into consideration. Effective Antarctic environmental governance can only exist within the context of a stable and supportive governance regime that is invested with genuine political will and necessary resources. This ultimately depends on how much Antarctic Treaty Parties or, in fact, humankind in general, want to protect the Antarctic environment. The future of human engagement with the Antarctic environment draws on basic human values that underlie all decision making. We strongly recommend continued and coordinated studies into the values that different publics and Antarctic Treaty Party members actually associate with Antarctica and into how these values manifest themselves in human behaviour in Antarctica as well as in its governance. Finally, the Antarctic exists within a global context, and its environment cannot be protected through efforts within the Antarctic only. The sustainability of the Antarctic environment also depends on the preservation and broadening of agreed provisions within the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), links between the ATS and other relevant global environmental agreements and global environmental initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAntarctic Futures - Human Engagement with the Antarctic Environment
EditorsT. Tin, D. Liggett, P.T. Maher, M.A.J. Lamers
Place of PublicationDordrecht
ISBN (Print)9789400765818
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Antarctic environmental governance
  • Future scenarios
  • Human values
  • Strategic planning


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