1. Should there be sites from Antarctica on a WHS Dream List, although it is officially not possible to inscribe them. Yes or No?
2. If yes, which sites should be inscribed?
Anyone developing a personal "dream list" of lifetime destinations should certainly include sites in Antarctica - though that will need to take into account the practicality of visiting many parts of the continent as a "tourist". That is of course somewhat different from producing a list of "dream sites" for UNESCO WHS inscription. I personally wouldn't let "UNESCO World Heritage" anywhere near the Antarctic!!! I may be interested in WH sites but that is because of the inherant value of many of them - NOT because of thier UNESCO designation! IMO the "WH scheme" has become something of an uncontrolled "monster" which has morphed away from its original aims centred on protection to become a nationalistic tool for driving tourism, making political points etc etc. It is probably irredeemable because too much political and nationalistic capital is tied up in it, but, even in its current form, it would be better for it to "stick to its knitting" (and re-evaluating where the priorities for that "knitting" are?) rather than getting involved in Antarctica!
In fact there is already an "equivalent" to the WH scheme operating under the Antarctic Treaty. It even has its own "Lists" of 3 types of protected site
a. HSM's - Historic Sites and Monuments - c 95
b. ASPA's - Antarctic Specially Protected Area c 72
c. ASMA's - Antarctic Specially Managed Areas - c7
Nominations are made by the current "occupying"/"responsible" state(s) and added sites receive extra degrees of protection beyond those normally applying under the Antarctic Treaty. The purpose of the ASMA sites for instance is "to assist in the planning and coordination of activities within a specified area, avoid possible conflicts, improve cooperation between ATCPs and minimise environmental impacts. ASMAs may include areas where activities pose risks of mutual interference or cumulative environmental impacts, as well as sites or monuments of recognised historical value." Unlike the Antarctic Specially Protected Areas, ASMAs do not require a permit to enter
My rejection of UNESCO's potential involvement doesn't mean that the current situation is satisfactory, merely a belief that the situation would not be improved by bringing in UNESCO! This article
indicates some of the weaknesses of the current situation - though the number of protected areas has been increased beyond the 55 mentioned as of 2014.
We have been lucky enough to visit Antarctica twice and my current visited list stands at 2 HSMs and 1 ASPA!!
HSM39 Hope Bay Hut
HSM 41 Paulet Island Hut
ASPA 145 Port Foster, Deception Island
Great as they were to visit, I don't think any of them of them are at the "5***** level" across the entire Antarctic. Jonas's proposed sites A-D are included as -
A ASPA161 Terra Nova Bay Ross Sea
B ASMA5 Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station,
C ASPA101 Taylor Rookery and ASPA173 Cape Washington
D ASMA2 McMurdo Dry Valleys
The entire list may provide more ideas. The Data Base is accessible here
. The Dry Valleys have their own Web site here