In 2059 the UN – principally Jusi Katainen, the former General Secretary, began efforts to persuade member states to cede direct control of their Antarctic territories over to it. In 2079 the Antarctic Free-State was established, providing a home for the hundreds of millions displaced by climate change. Densely populated welfare blocs, run off a complicated fusion of corporate libertarianism (numerous US based companies are contracted for policing etc.) and an efficient command economy, sprang up along the West Antarctic coast, as did a vast amount of infrastructure stretching to the heart of the formerly deserted continent and the Earth’s eleventh (and last) orbital elevator was finished in 2111 at the south pole. Although the economy is largely isolated from the rest of the world a massive volume of raw materials is exported, in particular fresh water as ice, and gold. Although not a particularly life-affirming place to live, it is certainly better than starving in an equatorial desert and the people there have a relatively good standard of life. The Antarctic is now a fully-fledged nation in its own right, inhabited by more than half a billion people.
There is some controversy over the fact that the state is essentially without its own government and some have suggested that it is not in the slightest bit democratic, instead run largely by AI, arguing its illegality. Others argue that the founding of the Antarctic Free-state was the UN’s greatest success and was taken by many to signify it’s changed indeed enhanced, position in world governance.
The Antarctic Free-State has no representatives at the Presidium.