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.