After two weeks of daylong meetings, numerous coffee breaks, and at times lively discussion, the Antarctic Treaty Parties managed to agree upon some long overdue measures on tourism, and made progress on marine protected areas (MPAs).
The tourism measure adopted by the Parties makes legally binding some previously only recommended restrictions, including not allowing ships carrying more than 500 passengers to land, and limiting the number of passengers from a ship that does land to 100. Now Parties will have to enact legislation on the national level to implement these new regulations, but getting all of them to agree to the Resolution was a promising first step.
The Parties also agreed to work more closely with CCAMLR (Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) to establish a network of MPAs.
Unfortunately, despite the climate change-focused opening of the meeting, the Parties failed to take much concrete action on climate change and were unable to agree on language for the Final Report that would have stressed the importance of a climate deal at the upcoming meetings in Copenhagen.
Given the number of different nations who all have to agree for anything to happen in the Antarctic Treaty System, though, I suppose we should just be grateful that any progress was made.