Policy-makers can now access the most up to date scientific information on Antarctic environmental issues thanks to a new website launched at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM XXXVIII), currently underway in Bulgaria.

The Antarctic Environments Portal bridges the gap between peer-reviewed Antarctic scientific research and the governance and management work of the Antarctic Treaty System and the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP).

The portal was developed by Antarctica New Zealand and Landcare Research New Zealand, with input from a number of collaborators including the Australian Antarctic Division.

Australian Antarctic Division Senior Environmental Policy Officer and Chair of the CEP, Ewan McIvor, said the portal is structured around the CEP’s priority topics and includes summaries of the state of knowledge of these issues, their management and environmental pressures.

“The CEP provides advice and recommendations to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties on environmental protection issues,” Mr McIvor said

“These issues include the introduction of non-native species to Antarctica, protected areas, tourism, climate change and environmental clean-up.

“The new portal presents the most up-to-date information on these topics, but also provides a mechanism for scientists to raise emerging issues of relevance to the CEP.”

Antarctica New Zealand’s Environmental Consultant, Dr Neil Gilbert, said the portal content is prepared by the science community, but written in a style that allows easy access to relevant information by policy makers.

“This will improve the speed in which information becomes available to policy makers,” Dr Gilbert said.