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IR Working Paper 1991/3
Lorraine M. Elliott, ‘Continuity and Change in Cooperative International Regimes: The Politics of the Recent Environment Debate in Antarctica’, IR Working Paper 1991-3, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, June 1991.
In May 1989 the Australian government (joined soon after by that of France) announced that, on environmental grounds, it would not sign the Antarctic Minerals Convention which it had helped negotiate. Both governments announced that they would pursue instead the negotiation of a comprehensive environmental protection convention for the Antarctic. Neither move was greeted well by those governments’ Antarctic Treaty partners, not least because they went against long-established and accepted conventions on decision-making in the Antarctic Treaty system and appeared to pose a threat to the stability of that system. This paper analyses the Australian and French decisions in the context of an exploration of continuity and change in international cooperative regimes and the normative and instrumental frameworks of the Antarctic Treaty system.