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 3 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 5-year strategy for the territory which sets out objectives and funding priorities. The headline objectives of the strategy are:
- to ensure the long-term security of the Territory by supporting the UK’s high profile within the Antarctic Treaty System
- to promote the UK’s sovereignty of the Territory, including by increasing awareness of British current and historic interests in the region
- to protect the BAT environment and preserve British heritage
- to ensure an effective and proportionate legislative and administrative framework which addresses all activities conducted within the Territory
- to manage the Territory’s finances in accordance with best financial practice
The strategy is a living document which is reviewed annually.
The BAT funds a number of projects each year across the following 4 priority areas:
- Environmental protection and minimising human impacts
- Education and outreach
- Governance and promoting UK sovereignty
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 organisation founded to advocate, promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic.
- Pobjoy Mint – Production, distribution and retailing of BAT Stamps and Coins.
- Creative Directions (Worldwide) Ltd – Production of BAT Stamps and Coins alongside Pobjoy Mint
- High Latitudes – providing support to private yacht expeditions to the polar regions
- Pelagic Expeditions providing support to private yacht expeditions to the polar regions
- Eyos 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 carries 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.