As the only permanently resident operator at the South Pole and the original proponent of the Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA), the United States plays a lead role in coordinating day-to-day activities within the ASMA. The Management Plan, however, is subject to review and approval by the Antarctic Treaty Parties at regular intervals, and there is frequent dialog among national programs and non-governmental visitors who travel to the South Pole.
Five years after the ASMA was adopted, a review of the current Management Plan has been initiated by the US. This review will take stock of developments since the ASMA was first agreed (e.g. changes in scientific programs, support infrastructure and non-governmental activities), and take into account wider changes in the Antarctic Treaty forum over this period (e.g. new guidelines that may have been agreed more generally). The process will involve consultation amongst stakeholders with operations or interests at the South Pole, with a view to updating and improving the Management Plan to ensure that it remains current and relevant. An important part of this review will be updates to the maps to take into account the movement of facilities over the period.
National Parties who wish to join the Management Group are encouraged to contact the United States Antarctic Program (USAP). Other interested stakeholders who wish to be involved in the update of the Management Plan are also encouraged to contact the USAP.
Because the permanent infrastructure and most of the activities occurring at the South Pole are related to the US program, the Management Group responsible for implementation of the ASMA Management Plan is at present formed and led by the US. Other National Programs, tour operators, or private expeditions are encouraged to contact the Management Group in advance of any planned activities so these can be coordinated properly to ensure that there is no conflict with scientific programs, logistical needs, or environmental priorities.