‘Arctic wilderness lessons’ for regulating and managing tourism in Antarctica

Mrs Antje Neumann1

1Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands

The protection of Antarctica’s wilderness values has been addressed by several Polar Law Symposia of the past. At the same time, the status quo of protecting these values has not been changed significantly: there is still a discrepancy between an explicit legal recognition of Antarctica’s wilderness values according to the Environmental Protocol, on the one hand, and a weak consideration of these values in practice, on the other. Meanwhile, human activities in Antarctica further increase and cause growing pressures on the region’s wilderness. Against this background, a PhD-project on the relevance of the wilderness concept for regulating and managing tourist activities in Antarctica was conducted. The project took particular notice of experiences and possible ‘lessons learnt’ in the other Polar region – the Arctic. For this purpose, three Arctic wilderness areas were studied in detail – the Hammastunturi Wilderness Reserve (Finland), the Archipelago of Svalbard (Norway) and the Denali National Park and Preserve (United States), all of them with comparable wilderness qualities and known as important tourist destinations. The contribution to the symposium intends to present some of the main project results including a number of policy approaches and legal instruments that could also be discussed in the Antarctic context.


As a lawyer trained in Germany, my field of expertise lies in Polar law related to both, the Arctic and the Antarctic. From 2000 until 2006, I served as a legal advisor for Germany’s Federal Environmental Agency and was also a member of the German delegation to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings. I obtained my First and Second State Law Examination in Germany and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Akureyri, Iceland. Currently, I am affiliated with the University of Tilburg, the Netherlands, where I completed my PhD-research on wilderness protection in Polar Regions.

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