British High Commissioner, British Antarctic Territory
The British Antarctic Territory (BAT) is a UK Overseas Territory and is administered in London by staff in the Polar Regions Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Government of the Territory has its own legislative framework and makes a range of legal and administrative appointments.
The BAT Government also has an advisory body on Place-Names and operates four Post Offices. The BAT has no indigenous population and presence in the Territory is provided by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), who operate three scientific stations and the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT), who manage the historical base at Port Lockroy.
The BAT comprises the sector of the Antarctic south of latitude 60 degrees South, between longitude 20 degrees West and 80 degrees West. The UK’s claim to this part of Antarctica is the oldest of any made on the continent. All territorial sovereignty claims to Antarctica are held in abeyance under Article IV of the Antarctic Treaty 1959.
The Government of the BAT, in consultation with stakeholders, has developed a five year strategy for the territory which sets out objectives and funding priorities. The headline objectives of the strategy are:
- to ensure the security of the BAT through supporting the UK’s high profile within the Antarctic Treaty System
- to promote UK Sovereignty of the BAT and increase awareness, including through education, of the UK’s current and historical interests in the Territory both within the UK and internationally (within the scope of the Antarctic Treaty)
- to protect the BAT environment, including its British heritage, by developing a range of tools to minimise any direct human impacts and supporting the UK’s leading influence in environmental issues in Antarctica within the Antarctic Treaty System
- to ensure the BAT has an effective legislative and administrative framework to address all activities conducted within the Territory
- to manage the Territory’s finances in accordance with best financial practice
The strategy paper, covering 2011-2013, is a living document which is reviewed annually.
The BAT funds a number of projects each year across the following four priority areas:
- Environmental protection and minimising human impacts
- Education and outreach
- Governance and promoting UK sovereignty
For those interested in considering an application for BAT funding, all proposed projects should fall within under at least one of the four priority areas as outlined above and in more detail in the BAT Strategy document. The funding year runs from July to June and a bidding round is normally held each April. Please feel free to contact the BAT Government to discuss any potential projects. The bidding round is now closed, the next bidding round will be in Spring 2014.
Download a copy of the project bidding form
The Government of the British Antarctic Territory liaises with a wide range of stakeholders in order to develop policy and undertake projects.
Key BAT stakeholders include:
- British Antarctic Survey
- United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust
- Scott Polar Research Institute - The Institute is a well-known and long-established centre for research into the polar regions and is part of the University of Cambridge.
- World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
- Environmental Research & Assessment (ERA) - Provider of specialist environmental planning and policy advice, technical publications and reports, map products and information resources in polar environmental issues
- International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) - a member organization founded to advocate, promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic.
- CASCO Philatelic Services – Production, distribution and retailing of BAT stamps
- Pobjoy Mint - Production, distribution and retailing of BAT coins
- High Latitudes – providing support to private yacht expeditions to the polar regions
- Poles Apart Ltd - an environmental and location services group specialising in managing projects in the world’s extreme environments.
- Pelagic Expeditions providing support to private yacht expeditions to the polar regions
- London Zoo
- Dr. Liz Pasteur - an independent environmental consultant undertaking environmental impact assessment, waste management and environmental legislation reviews
The Government of the BAT typically carry out a formal stakeholder meeting each year in addition to ongoing interaction with stakeholders. Those interested in joining this forum or considering an application for BAT funding should contact the BAT Government.