OUR SPACES focus is not concentrated solely on the Antarctica region. Nearly 70% of the Earth’s surface lies outside national boundaries and thus outside national laws and governance.
This surface of water and ice, stretching from the poles to the equator and upwards from the sea bed to outer space, encompasses what are called “International Spaces” and their sustainability is crucial to all life on Earth.
Although these regions and their resources lie beyond national frontiers they connect into a seamless whole with national jurisdictions so that the global future can only be properly served by consensus management of these extra-territorial spaces. International treaties have been laboriously negotiated to deal with some areas of international space (Outer Space Treaty and the Antarctic Treaty), whilst others have dealt with the interconnected effects of national activities on the spaces (Trans-boundary Pollutants, London Dumping Convention) or of disputed jurisdictional boundaries (Law of the Sea).
Each of these treaties considers its own objectives only and there has been little attempt to recognise the need for an holistic approach to management of these international spaces and their resources. The Foundation for Good Governance of International Spaces is a new focus for bringing together the fragmented parts, for stimulating discussion between disciplines and nationalities, and for looking for new applications for those approaches that have been shown to work. Its objectives are the advancement of environmental protection or improvement by:
•Advancing education and raising awareness; and the
•Promotion of research (making the useful results publicly available) on Governance of International Spaces with particular emphasis on Polar Regions.
Its role is seen as especially topical at present in view of the increasing interest in the High Seas and the sea floor, the potential for disputes over the Arctic Ocean, and the importance of considering the global atmosphere as a whole in a world subject to rapid global change.
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