New Zealand Yearbook of International Law
New Zealand is committed to conservation of the intrinsic and wilderness values of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, for the benefit of the world community and for present and future generations of New Zealanders. This will be reflected in active and responsible stewardship, under the Antarctic Treaty System, that promotes New Zealand’s interest in:
National and international peace and security through a commitment to keeping Antarctica peaceful, nuclear free and its environment protected;
Continued influence in Antarctic governance through maintaining an effective role in the Antarctic Treaty system, and maintaining its long-term interest, commitment to and credible presence in the Ross Dependency;
Conserving, protecting, and understanding the biodiversity of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, in particular the biodiversity of the Ross Sea region, including promotion, protection and management of representative special areas, and enhancing bio security;
Conservation and sustainable management of the marine living resources of the Southern Ocean, and in particular the Ross Sea, in accordance with the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and the Antarctica Environmental Protocol, and within this context supporting strong environmental standards and sustainable economic benefits;
Supporting and where appropriate leading, high quality Antarctic and Southern Ocean science that benefits from the unique research opportunities provided by Antarctica;
Demonstrating and advocating for best practice in environmental stewardship and all other activities throughout Antarctica, and in particular the Ross Sea region;
Ensuring that all activity is undertaken in a manner consistent with Antarctica’s status as a natural reserve devoted to peace and science.
Antarctica is a vast natural reserve devoted to peace and science at New Zealand’s back door. We have a direct interest in the peace and stability of the region given Antarctica’s critical role in global and regional climate and environmental processes. New Zealand continues to play a leading role in the Antarctic Treaty System and an active part in the Committee for Environmental Protection, and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
At the national level, we emphasise effective environmental stewardship over the Ross Dependency, a place of special constitutional status for New Zealand. Antarctica New Zealand, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Conservation, supports a management approach that is consistent with Antarctica’s status as a reserve free from mining and other threats to its near pristine environment. Underpinning our national activity in this amazing continent is recognition of the intrinsic and wilderness values of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Tourism and visitor policy will need to reflect these values.
Successive Labour governments have been committed to policy that supports New Zealand’s wider interests in Antarctica. The 1989 White Paper on Antarctica’s Environment was a major contribution to the development of international agreements, through the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.
In recent months the government completed a review of New Zealand’s interests and agreed a new policy statement. The 2002 Statement of Strategic Interests reflects our enduring interests, but it also focuses on the emerging priorities, in the marine, biodiversity and bio security areas. The key role of science is reflected, and there are some exciting science projects and environmental monitoring activities going on aimed at conserving, protecting and further understanding the biodiversity of the Ross Sea marine region.
We aim for progress on setting up a network of protected marine areas and hope to see the toothfish species recognised under the Convention on the Trade and Endangered Species (CITES). Both these initiatives would contribute further to the conservation and sustainable management of marine species.
Antarctica and the Southern Ocean form one of the world’s most precious remaining wilderness areas. Only in Antarctica can hosts of portly, but elegant Emperor penguins basking on the ice in the weak Antarctic sunlight be observed — surely one of the most outstanding wildlife spectacles the world has to offer. Albatrosses soar over the Southern Ocean. Whales and seals cruise amongst the icebergs — a place like no other and one whose protection is of utmost importance.
New Zealand Statement of Strategic Interest in Antarctica
New Zealand Yearbook of International Law