Third States’ Presence in the 7th Continent: Implications for International Law of the Antarctic

Dr Zia Madani1

1Iranian National Institute For Oceanography And Atmospheric Science, Tehran, Iran

In recent years, it is observed that a significant rise in the number of third states, i.e. ones that were neither an original signatory nor acceded thereto until recently, willing to explore the so called “7th Continent” and participate in activities therein is occurring. This includes a tangible number of Asian states which currently expressed their willingness and intention to involve in Antarctic science and research through namely affiliation in the ATS or Antarctic related scientific entities. This process has been underway despite a number of primary strong oppositions made to the ATS by a few of them. There are currently 10 Asian states out of 53 states parties to the Antarctic Treaty Four of which have acceded after 2011. Besides, some of the aforementioned States have had active engagement and significant role in the Antarctic science as well as its legal regime in recent years. Accordingly, this evolution calls for a reexamination and comprehensive investigation into the possible legal implications of such globally rising participation in various activities in Antarctica as to what extent the presence of third states in the Antarctic could affect the existing legal regime; a key question that will be investigated in this paper.


Zia MADANI is an early career faculty in Public International Law with a focus on Law of the Sea. He has been a Assistant Professor in INIOAS and was the 2018 Visiting Scholar to the University of Tasmania. He also has worked as the UNESCO-IOC Expert on Marine Scientific Research for Special Arbitration under Annex VIII of UNCLOS, as well as member to the UNESCO-IOC Intersessional Working Group on issues related to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). He has been following legal and policy developments in Polar Law since 2013.

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