One of the environmental principles enshrined in Article 3 of the Environment Protocol is that "activities in the Antarctic Treaty area shall be planned and conducted on the basis of information sufficient to allow prior assessments of, and informed judgments about, their possible impacts on the Antarctic environment and dependent and associated ecosystems and on the value of Antarctica for the conduct of scientific research."
Article 8 of the Protocol requires the Parties to conduct environmental impact assessments for their Antarctic activities, and provides for three levels of assessment according to the potential impacts of each activity. The procedures for environmental impact assessment are detailed in Annex I to the Protocol. If a proposed activity is determined, in a preliminary stage of assessment, to have less than a minor or transitory impact, it may proceed. If an activity is determined as likely to have a minor or transitory impact , then an Initial Environmental Evaluation (IEE) must be prepared. If an IEE indicates the potential for a more than minor or transitory impact, or if such an impact is otherwise determined to be likely, a Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation (CEE) must be prepared. Draft CEEs are made publicly available, and considered by the CEP, which then advises the ATCM. Comments provided by other Parties and the ATCM must be addressed in a final CEE, which is used as the basis for making a decision about whether and how the activity is conducted.
The procedures for preparing evaluations are described in the EIA Guidelines, the most recent version of which was adopted by the 28 th ATCM in Resolution 4 (2005).