Governing Antarctica: Contemporary Challenges and the Enduring Legacy of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty

This article considers the governance of the Antarctic in the light of the 50th anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty in December 2009. Created in the midst of the cold war, this treaty provided a mechanism for governing the Antarctic. Science and  International collaboration were central to this new regime. Over the next five decades, the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) expanded as new legal instruments were developed and entered into force including the Protocol on Environmental Protection. New issues such as fishing and tourism along with an expanded membership have transformed the politics of Antarctica. Current controversies involving illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, the Law of the Sea and the creation of the ‘coastal state’, tourism and whaling will continue to provoke serious challenges for the governance of Antarctica.