Antarctica and the 1991 Madrid Protocol: the political implications for South Africa

" In June 1991, the consultative Parties of the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) negotiated the Protocol on Environmental Protection for the Antarctic Continent. The Madrid Protocol was designed to produce a legal and political framework for the implementation of environmental protection for the polar region. After a brief review of the Protocol, this paper will concentrate on some of the problems and issues that have confronted the ratification of the Protocol by ATS Consultative Parties. As one of the earliest signatories to the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, South Africa has been a relatively active participant in the ATS and this International Update will assess the implications of the Madrid Protocol for the government in Pretoria. In the second and major part of this paper, it will be argued that these implications need to be understood within an expanding context of regional responsibilities such as the Valdivia Group and the Zone of Peace and Co-operation in the South Atlantic."