Just transitions and a contested space: Antarctica and the Global South

Verbitsky, JE
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Taylor & Francis

This paper suggests that Global South states should prioritize Antarctica as a core trans-national issue because of the potential rewards it offers in terms of opportunities for advancing their common political and development agendas. Global South states are significantly underrepresented in Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) governance. Consequently, they have minimal input into the shaping and direction of ATS decision-making on issues such as Antarctic bio-prospecting, fishing and tourism or, critically, into debates about the role and status of Antarctica in the international system. Nevertheless, Antarctica represents opportunities for Global South states to realize shared cosmopolitan democracy and environmental justice goals. While contemporary media coverage of the southernmost continent has focused on its vital role in global climate change, Antarctica is also important for Global South states because it is a contested, non-sovereign area without a clearly defined status or future (international or global commons, Common Heritage of Mankind, global wilderness?) that could be integral to their future development. The paper advocates the benefits for developing states of participating in Antarctic governance, drawing on theories of cosmopolitan democracy and environmental justice to demonstrate that these can be utilized by Global South states to reinvigorate and move forward international debates about the role, status and future of Antarctica, and provides a central place for Global South states in that future. Additionally, these theories can be practically applied to Global South development goals with respect to issues such as the management of Antarctica, access to sustainable resources and benefit sharing from Antarctic resource extraction.

Antarctica , Global South , Development , Environmental justice cosmopolitan democracy
Polar Journal, vol.49(3), pp.278 - 285
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