COMNAP:The National Managers in Antarctica

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Abstract

What is the sole example in human history of unified governance of an entire continent? What is the manifest case of multinational cooperation during the Cold War which affected a large region of the Earth's surface, yet which rarely entered newspaper headlines? For the answer, ask our friends, the penguins; or better yet, read a new book about a remarkable international effort in territorial governance in support of geophysical research and environmental protection, by Captain Alfred N. Fowler, USN (Retired).

COMNAP: The National Managers in Antarctica is a personal account of the formation and development of the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (CONMAP), the permanent working group that has operational responsibility and oversight for the many research and other non-profit activities in Antarctica, carried out under the authority of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959. Established in the context of the treaty, CONMAP is the organization responsible for the safe operation and efficient management of national and non-governmental programs of research, environmental monitoring, and other activities performed under the treaty's key provision. This established Antarctica as offlimits to the sovereignty of individual governments, and instead, set aside the entirety of the continent for scientific research and for preservation, with governance to be a cooperative effort among signatory countries. Fowler served as executive secretary of CONMAP from 1988, the year of its formation, to 1997.

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