Australian to lead Antarctic Environment Protection body

New Chair of the Committee for Environmental Protection, Mr Ewan McIvor
New Chair of the Committee for Environmental Protection, Mr Ewan McIvor (Photo: Jessica Fitzpatrick)

1st May 2014

An Australian has been appointed to head the international advisory body responsible for protecting the Antarctic environment.

Australian Antarctic Division Senior Policy Adviser, Ewan McIvor, was elected Chair of the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) in Brazil this week, the second time an Australian has been at the helm in its 17 year history*.

“Australia has a deep and longstanding commitment to Antarctic environmental protection and I am honoured on behalf of Australia and on behalf of the Antarctic Treaty parties to take on this responsibility,” Ewan McIvor said.

The Committee advises the ATCM on all environmental issues in Antarctica including the introduction of non-native species, protected areas systems, climate change and tourism.

“There are 35 member nations on the CEP, as well as a number of non-governmental organisations with environmental, scientific and technical expertise on Antarctic matters,” Mr McIvor said.

“Over the next two years the Committee will be particularly focused on dealing with the environmental implications of climate change and also the way tourism interacts with the Antarctic environment.”

“It operates on consensus, so my role as chair will be to facilitate the free flow and effective exchange of views between members of the Committee,” he said.

Mr McIvor has worked in a range of environmental management and policy roles with the Australian Antarctic Division over more than 14 years.  

He has been a member of the Australian delegation to the ATCM for a decade and has been Australia’s representative to the Committee for Environmental Protection since 2007.

The ATCM is the primary forum for Antarctic nations to exchange information and formulate measures, decisions and resolutions to further the principles and objectives of the Antarctic Treaty.

The Antarctic Treaty system is a 55 year old international regime which has been outstandingly successful in promoting peace and science in Antarctica.

There are currently 28 Consultative Parties and 22 non-Consultative Parties represented at the ATCM.

*Australia’s Dr Tony Press, who is currently heading the development of the 20 Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan, was Chair of the CEP from 2002-2006.

[Video]

Australian to lead Antarctic Environment Protection body

Video transcript

Australian Antarctic Division Senior Policy Adviser – Ewan McIvor

The CEP is the Committee for Environmental Protection that’s established under the environmental protocol to the Antarctic Treaty. The committee is an advisory body to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, which is the decision making body.

The Committee has a mandate to provide advice on all environmental issues facing Antarctica and there is quite a spectrum. Current priority issues range from preventing the introduction of non-native species, developing the Antarctic protected areas systems and dealing with the environmental implications of climate change in Antarctica.

It’s constituted by representatives from all the countries that are active in Antarctica and it also includes other organisations, non-governmental organisations, with environmental scientific and technical expertise in Antarctic matters.

Each country is responsible for the activities of its own nationals in Antarctica, so it’s through that mechanism that penalties can be applied.

As chair my role is to facilitate the free-flowing and effective exchange of views between the countries that are members of the committee. The committee operates by consensus.

Australia is very strongly committed to protecting the Antarctic Environment. Assuming the role of chair again for Australia is another important way of demonstrating that commitment and also having a direct role in influencing the international efforts to protect the Antarctic Environment.

This page was last modified on 1 May 2014.