Chapter Three: Policy Responses
The polar regions
The policy background
Common policy instruments
Policy overview - Arctic
Policy overview - Antarctic
Chapter Four: Future Perspectives
| KEY FACTS|
Except for a few countries, polar issues are largely peripheral to domestic politics and the economy. At the global level, this has resulted in an inability or unwillingness, or both, to pay much attention to the problems of the polar environment, not least in the allocation of funds.
The eight Arctic countries have, in the decade since the end of the Cold War, developed a dynamic regional cooperation focusing on Arctic environmental issues.
An International Code of Safety for Ships Navigating in Polar Waters, setting specific safety and anti-pollution standards, is being drafted under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization.
The Antarctic is unique in two ways: it is the only part of the world that is primarily managed cooperatively by interested countries on the basis of international agreements; and its policies are mainly proactive, seeking to address potential problems before they arise.
The annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings have now adopted more than 100 measures, decisions or resolutions as well as several international agreements that relate specifically to the environment.
Growth in tourism is likely to continue. 'Mass tourism' could challenge the existing policy structures or the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators.
The most serious policy challenge is in relation to Antarctic fisheries. The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) needs to develop enforcement mechanisms to ensure that conservation measures are complied with by the activities of an overcapitalized global fishing fleet, operating under a complicated system.