You are in: Home > International Environmental Protection, Antarctic - What's new > Protection of the Antarctic
Last changed: 25/06/2008
The German Act Implementing the Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty PDF / 125 KB (Environmental Protocol Implementation Act) is designed to protect the Antarctic environment and the ecosystems that are associated with or depend on it. This Act transposes into Germany’s national law the international regulations set out in the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (Environmental Protocol) and names the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt – UBA) as the national competent authority. Activities in Antarctica are subject to stringent requirements concerning protection of the extremely sensitive Antarctic environment. To ensure that the beauty and natural state of Antarctica and its landscape are preserved, it is crucial that all visitors behave properly. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Federal Environment Agency, Section I 3.5 – Protection of the Antarctic.
Each proposed activity in Antarctica that is organised in Germany or begins on German territory is subject to authorisation and must be notified to the Federal Environment Agency. Within the process of applying for a permit, the effects of the proposed activity on the assets to be protected cited in Article 3 paragraph 3 of the Environmental Protocol Implementation Act (climate or weather conditions; air or water quality; terrestrial, aquatic, glacial or marine environment; prevalence, frequency or productivity of species of fauna and flora or their populations; areas of biological, scientific, historical, aesthetic value or intact natural character; the Antarctic environment and the ecosystems that are associated with and depend on it) are identified and evaluated. The Federal Environment Agency can issue a permit only when it has been established that there is no cause for concern that these assets to be protected will be subject to adverse impacts, serious or detrimental changes, damage or hazards. The permit may impose certain conditions or provisions. Issuing a permit for an activity in Antarctica under the Environmental Protocol Implementation Act follows a specific procedure set out in a flow chart PDF / 79 KB.
Questionnaires for applying for a permit for an activity in the area regulated by the Environmental Protocol Implementation Act (south of 60°S) can be downloaded from the Platform for applicants.
However, the Federal Environment Agency is not only the national permitting authority. Apart from implementing the Environmental Protocol Implementation Act, it also has other responsibilities concerned with Antarctica and its protection in a broader sense. They include providing information to the public (press releases, publications, brochures, guidelines, seminars), national and international reporting, drafting information or working papers that are used by national and international institutions PDF / 698 KB. The Agency also plays an active role in environmental protection in Antarctica, acting for example as the national contact point (CEP Contact Point) for the international Committee of Environmental Protection (CEP). The CEP advises the states parties to the Antarctic Treaty and makes recommendations on improving environmental protection in Antarctica (see also: International work).
The Federal Environment Agency commissions research projects and organises scientific conferences and workshops, primarily designed to clarify any open questions related to the implementation of the AUG and to continually improve environmental protection in Antarctica. To this end, the Agency collaborates with other authorities and institutions.