Dr Patrizia Vigni1

1University Of Siena, Siena, Italy

Is art. IV AT still workable to protect the Antarctic seas in a world of competing interests?

Art. VI AT safeguards States’ rights in high seas according to international law. However, the “bifocal approach”, adopted by art. IV AT, freezes the prerogatives of Claimant States without denying their rights to claim. Besides, non-Claimant States, can apply the provisions of the AT so as if sovereignty claims do not exist.

Although the conservation of Antarctic seas also affects the interest of the international community, the existence of sovereignty claims over Antarctica has precluded the establishment of an international regime disregarding State sovereignty, such as the UNCLOS that recognises the status of the deep seabed as common heritage of humankind.

Most of ATS norms adopt the criterion of nationality rather than the principle of territoriality to enforce substantive obligations and, thus, seem to be apparently unsuitable to govern the activities of third States and their nationals in Antarctic seas.

Therefore, internal and external challenges to the ATS require identifying further grounds of jurisdiction of ATS States to enforce substantive obligations.

Similarly, common goals and principles must be categorised to compel both ATS and non-ATS States to ensure the conservation of Antarctic seas.


Senior Lecturer of International Law at the University of Siena (Italy) since 2001: currently, Department of Business and Law; up to 2018, Law Department.

Degree in Law, Siena, 1992.

LLM M.Jur., Oxford (UK), 1996.

Doctorate in International Law, Siena, 1998.

Lecturer of several courses since 2001, such as EU Law, International Organizations, International Dispute Settlement.

Main research fields: Antarctic Treaty System, law of treaties, international dispute settlement, law of the sea, diplomatic and consular protection, cultural heritage.

Since 1998, legal advisor to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs with regard to the Antarctic Treaty System.

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