Antarctica and the United Nations

Beck, Peter (2017) Antarctica and the United Nations. In: Dodds, Klaus , Hemmings, Alan D. and Roberts, Peder, (eds.) Handbook on the Politics of Antarctica. Cheltenham, U.K. : Edward Elgar. pp. 255-268. ISBN 9781784717674


Hitherto the UN has performed a virtual non-role in the management of Antarctica, notwithstanding a determined Malaysian-led effort conducted at the UN between 1983 and 2005 to replace the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) with an alternative UN-based regime, possibly modelled on UNCLOS. In the event, the key outcome of the UN debates was merely to reaffirm the merits and central role of the ATS, which has managed Antarctica’s affairs since the conclusion of the Antarctic Treaty in 1959. Today the UN still remains seized of the “Question of Antarctica”. The issue could return to the UN agenda at some future date, but this seems unlikely as long as Antarctic Treaty powers are seen by UN members to be satisfying what might be regarded as the conditions implicit in UN debates and resolutions.

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