Environmental Impact Assessment in Antarctica
THEORY AND PRACTICE OF TRANSBOUNDARY ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT, Kees Bastmeijer, Timo Koivurova, eds., Brill/Martinus Nijhoff, 2008
30 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2008 Last revised: 23 Apr 2020
Date Written: October 1, 2007
This publication focuses on the instrument of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) that has been developed within the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) as one of the tools to promote environmental protection. The states involved in the ATS already recognized the importance of this instrument in 1975 (Recommendation VIII-13). Since then, within the ATS, the EIA instrument has been further developed through the adoption of recommendations. In 1991, with the adoption of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, EIA became obligatory for most types of activities in the region south of 60 degrees South latitude, including scientific research and tourism activities.
Section 2 provides a brief introduction to the ATS and a general overview of the history of Antarctic EIA. Section 3 describes the main characteristics of the Antarctic EIA system, particularly based on an analysis of the Protocol's provisions and related instruments (e.g. guidelines). Section 4 discusses general trends and developments in the practice of EIA for Antarctic activities. Section 5 discusses a case study of EIA practice as it applies to the proposal by Russia for scientific drilling into subglacial Lake Vostok. Section 6 contains the main conclusions, including the stronger and weaker characteristics of the Antarctic EIA system.
Keywords: Transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment, Antarctic, Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation, wilderness, historic values, cumulative impacts, Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, EIA, global commons, no harm principle, consultation, tourism, lake vostok
JEL Classification: K32, K33, N50, Q26
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation