One might imagine that the only continent in the world devoted to peace and science would be certain to play a leadership role in global questions that needed a scientific answer. Indeed, to a dispassionate observer, the present situation with respect to reporting on the state of the Antarctic environment must seem bizarre. All the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties are members of the United Nations Environment Programme, and all are apparently committed to providing State of the Environment Reports for their respective regions. Why then have some of these very nations been so reluctant to accept that Antarctica is a key part of this world and, to provide the holistic view required, needs to be included in the reporting? The list of excuses for delay is lengthy: no money; no secretariat to organize through; likely to be too expensive; no clear reason to undertake it; not needed at present; who would be the audience; how would we maintain political oversight; etc. but none of them ever appeared insoluble. This has been clearly demonstrated by the recent publication by New Zealand of a State of the Environment Report for the Ross Sea Region.
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