By passing the Act Implementing the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (AIEP) in 1994, the Federal Republic of Germany adopted the Protocol of Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty in German law at national level. The AIEP entered into force on 14 January 1998 after ratification by all the Consultative Parties.
As a result, all activities in the Antarctic which are organised in Germany or proceed from its territory require an official permit. Research or journalistic activities as well as tourism in Antarctica are subject to approval. The AIEP identifies the German Environment Agency as the national competent authority. The responsible staff members of UBA evaluate all activities with regard to the expected impact of those activities on the Antarctic environment and issue the permit based on that evaluation. Statements delivered by other federal authorities such as the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation or Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency are taken into account.
The AIEP establishes the permit procedure (for more information on the permit procedure see the corresponding web page "Permitting procedure in Germany"). The legislation also focuses on the conservation of Antarctic animals and plants and prohibits the introduction of alien species. Furthermore the AIEP regulates waste treatment, inspections, training measures and reporting duties. Violations of the law are punishable as offences liable to a fine or sentence of imprisonment.