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Polar Law Textbook II

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”Developments in the Arctic and Antarctica continue to be the subject of growing public interest and academic, political, scientific, and media discourse. The global magnitude of the changes that are currently taking place in the Polar Regions, also influence legal developments. Furthermore, the growing importance of both the Arctic and the Antarctica in various areas of global, regional, national and sub-national development requires further inquiry into the role of law in dealing with many of the current and emerging issues relevant to both Poles. Although law is not a panacea for all issues, it has its own role to play in dealing with many of them.”A broad overview of Polar law issues was presented in the pioneering Polar Law Textbook, N. Loukacheva ed. Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers, Tema Nord 538: 2010 (www.norden.org).This textbook represents the outcome of a cooperative process between an international group of well-known experts in the area of Polar law and related studies. Polar Law Textbook II further draws upon Polar law as an evolving and developing field of studies which is gaining increasing recognition and intersects with many other areas in the social sciences and humanities. It explores a variety of legal issues in the Arctic and Antarctica (i.e., questions of human rights law, environmental law, law of the sea, continental shelf, climate change, energy law, resources, indigenous peoples’ rights, etc.,) but also covers the relevant aspects of geopolitics, security, governance, search and rescue, biodiversity, devolution, institutions (e.g., the Arctic Council) and political developments.

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The Antarctic Treaty System and the Regulation of Antarctic Tourism

Antarctic tourism has grown rapidly since the early 1990s. While in 1992 about 2,000 tourists made landings in Antarctica, this number had increased to more than 16 times that number by 2007–08. During that season, the total number of Antarctic tourists, including those involved in cruise only activities, airborne tourism and land-based activities, exceeded 46,000 while the total number of persons visiting the Antarctic for tourism purposes, including staff and crew, was estimated at more than 73,000. In the last few years however, the numbers have dropped significantly, in season 2010–11 to around 34,000 tourists and in season 2011– 12 to about 26,000 (see: www.iaato.org). This decline in numbers has undoubtedly been caused by the economic crisis. The situation was exacerbated further by a regulation recently introduced by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that prohibits the use of heavy oil as ship fuel in the Antarctic region. It is however estimated that in the 2012–13 season numbers will begin to rise again and that further sustained growth in the Antarctic tourism sector can be expected over time. In a world where the number of people will increase towards 9 billion in just a few decades, a “holiday on ice” in one of the last true wildernesses on this globe represents a dream for many.

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