We are at a unique point in history to influence the ethical dimensions of the decisions regarding territory and natural resources in Antarctica. Global pressure over natural resources in Antarctica will mount in the coming decades. Three pressing factors might motivate states to claim exclusive rights to Antarctica: climate change, dwindling natural resources in occupied territories, and the fact that, by virtue of Article IV of the Antarctic Treaty, the question of sovereignty in the White Continent remains unresolved. We are thus at a unique point in history to influence the ethical dimensions of the decisions that may govern Antarctica in the future.

So far, most analyses of Antarctic politics have taken a descriptive and matter-of-fact approach, while political philosophy has been blind to Antarctica as a case study. In this three-year project financed by the Polar Programme of the Research Council of Norway, we use these blindspots as a point of departure.

Objectives

Primary objectives

To carry out a normative analysis of claims over territory and natural resources in Antarctica, and to develop a systematic normative framework with which to morally assess these claims.

To carry out a normative analysis of the political legitimacy of the Antarctic Treaty System, and to develop a systematic normative framework with which to morally assess it.

Secondary objectives

To take Antarctic politics and, more specifically, the Antarctic Treaty System, as a unique locus wherefrom to rethink certain key concepts and theories of territorial rights and rights over natural resources, on the one hand, and political legitimacy, on the other.

 

Cooperation

Arctic University of Norway, University of Southampton (UK), University College Cork (Ireland), Queens University (Canada), University of Tasmania (Australia), Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Visit the project’s webpage

(Photo credit: Pablo Ruiz, Instituto Antártico Chileno)