ANTARC-SHIP: Fostering environmental stewardship among Antarctic tourism governance actors and institutions
The aim of the ANTARC-SHIP project is to examine to what extent, and how, environmental stewardship can be assessed, enhanced, and facilitated among the different actors and institutions involved in the operation and governance of Antarctic tourism.
The development of tourism in the Antarctic has seen both rapid growth and diversification as well as sharp but temporary declines in times of crisis. For over two decades, scholars and policymakers have raised concerns about the actual and potential risks and impacts of Antarctic tourism development, for instance, on the natural environment, on heritage, wilderness values, and scientific operations. Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties (ATCPs) have struggled to find consensus on comprehensive and acceptable regulatory mechanisms on Antarctic tourism and to implement binding tourism-specific measures into the national legislatures of the signatory states. Despite 40 years of scholarship, the results from impact assessments and governance analysis tend to be mixed, inconclusive and ambiguous in terms of costs and benefits, providing insufficient evidence for policy making. Consequently, enhancements in environmental standards and performance rely to a large extent on the goodwill and efforts of operators and other actors.
The aim of the ANTARC-SHIP project is to examine to what extent, and how, environmental stewardship can be assessed, enhanced, and facilitated among the different actors and institutions involved in the operation and governance of Antarctic tourism. We will do this by operationalizing the concept of environmental stewardship in Antarctic tourism governance, with a focus on the interrelations between tourism and science operations, industry self-regulation, gateway cities and intergovernmental organizations related to shipping.
We will carry out trend analyses, systematic impact assessments of both the negative and positive impacts of tourism in and beyond the Antarctic Treaty area and conduct governance and legal analyses. In collaboration with key stakeholders we will identify mechanisms for enhancing, operationalizing, and institutionally embedding environmental stewardship in Antarctic tourism governance. The project will culminate in the development of practical response strategies and instruments to enable decision-makers to adopt more stringent environmental management approaches for Antarctic tourism.