South Africa, Antarctica and the ATS: an unrealized foreign policy opportunity
MetadataShow full metadata
Although South Africa is a founding member of the Antarctic Treaty, the southernmost continent has played little part in its post-apartheid foreign policy. This article, however, argues that vigorous engagement with Antarctica and Antarctic politics represents an unparalleled opportunity and means for the Republic to simultaneously assert leadership in an increasingly important area of global politics and to address some of its most critical socio-economic problems. It suggests that South Africa, because of its founding member status, is uniquely positioned to be able to advocate for and champion reform of the Antarctic Treaty to achieve greater democratisation of Antarctic governance and the introduction of a bio-prospecting governance framework in the Antarctic commons based on equitable benefit-sharing – two actions that would help reorient South African foreign policy to better meet some of its expressed objectives, and could also generate capital funding revenue for domestic development priorities.