This article advocates potential reform of the Madrid Environmental Protection Protocol to introduce strategic environmental assessment (SEA), which applies environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures to policies, plans and programmes. Since government decisions are targets for SEA, together with strategic proposals concerning tourism, these are likely to be the main focus. In the case of the former, reform may prove controversial because of the importance of science to the Antarctic Treaty System. Yet there is momentum for SEA internationally, with the European Union (EU) SEA Directive (currently limited to plans and programmes) having recently been reviewed after its first five years of operation, and the Kiev SEA Protocol to the Espoo Convention (which encourages application also to policies), now in force. Noting decisions by the EU and Espoo Convention Parties to prepare a separate SEA legal instrument, and the overlap between them and Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties, it considers whether a separate SEA Annex is feasible.
- Madrid protocol
- Sea directive
- Sea protocol
- Strategic environmental assessment (sea)