The Argentine government in a protest note addressed to the United Kingdom pointed out its complete rejection of UK's intended designation of the entire landmass of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) as Specially Protected Areas.
The Terrestrial Protected Area covers over 3,800 km2 and complements the Marine Protected Area, which covers the whole 1.24m km2 maritime zone, thus ensuring that the whole of SGSSI lies within a protected area system.
In a release from Buenos Aires, Argentina also indicates that it had already strongly protested a UK government announcement, 21 June 2021, anticipating its decision on Protected Areas.
On that occasion, says a ministry release, the Argentine government categorically rejected the whole, and every term, of the announcement, as well as UK's pretension to implement decisions related to Argentine territories and adjoining maritime spaces, which includes the Malvinas islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich islands, and their adjoining maritime spaces.
Argentina at the time, according to the foreign ministry release, remembered UK that the pretended extension of the Convention of Biological Diversity, formulated by London and referred to the above mentioned area, had already been protested since those territories are an integral part of the Argentine national territory.
This pretension constitutes a UK unilateral and illegitimate action non compatible with Resolution 31/49 from the UN General Assembly, calling both on Argentina and UK to abstain from adopting decisions which mean the introduction of unilateral modifications of the situation, since the Islands are subject to the process recommended by the UN General Assembly.
Likewise Argentina one again reaffirms its sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and adjoining maritime spaces, which are ”an integral part of the Argentina national territory, and which illegitimately occupied by Britain are the object of a sovereignty dispute acknowledged by the UN Resolution 2065 (XX), plus other General Assembly similar resolutions, as well as other international organizations and forae”
According to the GSGSSI, the Specially Protected Areas Order prohibits all entry to the South Sandwich Islands without a permit and lays the foundation for enhanced protection measures across South Georgia which will be the subject of further consultation.
The South Georgia Terrestrial Protected Area will conserve, protect and preserve the ecosystem and restore native biodiversity. It will ensure that activities are managed sustainably and those activities, such as research and media operations are assessed for their impact on the ecosystem and managed accordingly. It will help deliver a sustainable tourist industry so that people will have the opportunity to experience these amazing habitats and develop collective knowledge about the biodiversity of the island. The Government aims to deliver a truly sustainable visitor experience, supporting this global rarity; an ecosystem in recovery.