The 1991 Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (the “Madrid Protocol”) specifies that, inter alia, the intrinsic value of Antarctica is to be protected (Article 3, ‘Environmental Principles’, paragraph 1,). Article 3, generally, sets out the basic principles that should guide human activities in Antarctica. The position of intrinsic value in this context makes it a fundamental consideration for Antarctic governance. Yet, intrinsic value is a complex concept, which it is not, however, defined within the Madrid Protocol or anywhere else in the wider Antarctic Treaty System. The Action Group on Intrinsic Value in Antarctica (AGIVA) seeks to develop a broad cross-cultural understanding of the intrinsic value of Antarctica in order that the intention of the Madrid Protocol to provide protection to this value can be better understood.
In aiming to increase and consolidate understanding of what intrinsic value means in the Antarctic context, AGIVA initially focuses on three objectives:
- Creating a research community that promotes enhanced discourse on the concept of intrinsic value across philosophical and ethical considerations, cross-cultural concepts, and conservation frameworks.
- Exploring and developing methodological rigour in the understanding of intrinsic value in Antarctica across the linguistic and cultural spectrum of State Parties, Observers (SCAR, COMNAP and CCAMLR) and Experts (ASOC, IAATO, etc.) engaged in the Madrid Protocol and more widely across the Antarctic Treaty System.
- Modelling an intellectual framework for assessing the duty in relation to intrinsic value under the Madrid Protocol.