Antarctica is a protected area and the only demilitarised continent in the world. Military forces and installations are forbidden, and all of Antarctica has been designated for peaceful and scientific purposes.
The Antarctic Treaty, which came into force in 1961, is an international agreement that regulates how Antarctica is to be administered. Currently, some fifty nations have agreed to the Antarctic Treaty, to which Sweden acceded in 1984. The Antarctic Treaty was supplemented with the Environmental Protection Protocol in 1991 to provide additional protection for this unique environment and its associated ecosystem. The provisions of the Protocol have been incorporated into Swedish law through the
Specially protected areas
- Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPA). An area that is particularly important to preserve. To visit these areas requires a complementary permit from the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat.
- Antarctic Specially Managed Areas (ASMA). An area where activities are conducted, for example research activities that must not be disrupted, or where activities may be conducted in the future. Permits are not required to enter an Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA), but an Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA) may include one or more Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPA) where access is prohibited without a permit.
- Historic Sites and Monuments (HSM) of recognised historical value may be either an Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) or an Antarctic Specially Managed (ASMA), or located within such areas. Historical sites and memorials included in the list must not be damaged, moved or destroyed.