Antarctica is a protected area and the only demilitarised continent in the world. Military forces and installations are forbidden, and all of Antarctica has been designated for peaceful and scientific purposes.
The Antarctic Treaty, which came into force in 1961, is an international agreement that regulates how Antarctica is to be administered. Currently, some fifty nations have agreed to the Antarctic Treaty, to which Sweden acceded in 1984. The Antarctic Treaty was supplemented with the Environmental Protection Protocol in 1991 to provide additional protection for this unique environment and its associated ecosystem. The provisions of the Protocol have been incorporated into Swedish law through the Swedish Antarctic Act (2006:924).
Specially protected areas
Certain areas have flora, fauna, geology or cultural history so interesting and important as to require broader protection; these areas are designated Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPA). Antarctic Specially Managed Areas (ASMA) constitute another type of protected area in which research activities that cannot be disturbed, are being conducted. Historic Sites and Monuments (HSM) are places and buildings of cultural historical interest that must be preserved. A supplemental permit from the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat is required to visit these specially protected areas.