World Heritage for Antarctica not the answer
Humane Society International (HSI) today urged the Australian Government to confirm its longstanding commitment to the Antarctic Treaty System as the appropriate framework within which the conservation of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is best addressed.
HSI was responding to suggestions from the Australian Greens, the Coalition and some conservationists that Australia should promote listing Antarctica as a World Heritage Area under the United Nations World Heritage Commission. “While Antarctica undoubtedly has superlative natural values, these values have already been appropriately recognised by the international community through the Antarctic Treaty and its Madrid Protocol on environmental protection,” said Alistair Graham, HSI spokesperson on Antarctic matters.
“The Antarctic Treaty System already provides Antarctica with a level of recognition and protection for its values that would not be enhanced by World Heritage listing. It already has more special status than any other initiative of the international community could provide. To suggest otherwise is simply naive and unacceptably disdainful of the amazing efforts being made every day to effectively protect Antarctica.”
Mr Graham concluded by suggesting that, “Concerned Australians could make better use of their very welcome interest for the protection of Antarctica by urging the Gillard Government to include the Australian Antarctic Territory and its Exclusive Economic Zone on our own National Heritage List.”