Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting

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About Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting:

  • It is pivotal in the international community's ongoing efforts to safeguard Antarctica's fragile ecosystem and promote scientific research in the region.
  • It is convened annually under the Antarctic Treaty System, these meetings serve as forums for Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties and other stakeholders to address Antarctica's pressing environmental, scientific, and governance issues.
  • What is the CEP?
    • It was established under the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (the Madrid Protocol) in 1991.
    • The CEP advises the ATCM on environmental protection and conservation in Antarctica.

Key facts about the Antarctic Treaty

  • It was signed in 1959 and entered into force in 1961.
  • It established Antarctica as a region dedicated to peaceful purposes, scientific cooperation, and environmental protection. Over the years, the Treaty has garnered widespread support, with 56 countries currently party to it.
  • Provisions of the treaty
    • Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only
    • Freedom of scientific investigation in Antarctica and cooperation toward that end… shall continue
    • Scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available
  • India has been a Consultative Party to the Antarctic Treaty since 1983.
  • It participates in the decision-making process along with other 28 Consultative Parties to the Antarctic Treaty.
    • India’s first Antarctic research station, Dakshin Gangotri, was established in 1983.
    • At present, India operates two year-round research stations: Maitri (1989) and Bharati (2012).
    • The permanent research stations facilitate Indian Scientific Expeditions to Antarctica, which have been ongoing annually since 1981.
    • In 2022, India enacted the Antarctic Act, reaffirming its commitment to the Antarctic Treaty.
  • The Antarctic Treaty Secretariat (ATS) serves as the administrative hub for the Antarctic Treaty System.
  • ATS was established in 2004 and coordinates the ATCM and CEP meetings, reposits and disseminates information, and facilitates diplomatic communication, exchanges, and negotiations related to Antarctic governance and management.

Q1: What is the mandate of the Arctic Council?

It is to promote cooperation among Arctic states on common issues, particularly on sustainable development and environmental protection.

Source: India to formally convey to ATCM its plans to built new research station in Antarctica