The Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) was established by Article 11 of the Environment Protocol. Article 12 establishes that the Committee’s functions are “to provide advice and formulate recommendations to the Parties in connection with the implementation of this Protocol, including the operation of its Annexes, for consideration at Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings.” The first meeting of the Committee was in 1998.
The Committee consists of representatives of the Parties to the Environment Protocol and normally meets once a year in conjunction with the ATCM. CEP meetings are also attended by various observers. The business of the CEP is facilitated by the work conducted by Parties in intersessional groups. The current groups are as follows:
- ICG to review the Antarctic Clean-Up Manual: Led by Phil Tracy (Australia), this ICG is aimed to collate information on developments and advances in matters relevant to the clean-up of Antarctic past waste disposal sites, past work sites, and contaminated sites; and to review the Antarctic Clean-Up Manual appended to Resolution 2 (2013), as updated in 2014, and suggest any modifications and additional guidance.
- Subsidiary Group on Management Plans (SGMP): Chaired since 2016 by Patricia Ortúzar (Argentina), it was established in 2008 to review new and revised management plans for Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs) and Antarctic Specially Managed Areas (ASMAs) and to advise the CEP on the improvement of management plans.
- Subsidiary Group on Climate Change Response (SGCCR): This Subsidiary Group was established in 2017. It is currently chaired by Kevin Hughes (United Kingdom) and is aimed to facilitate the efficient and timely implementation of the CEP Climate Change Response Work Program (CCRWP).