Know : Antarctic Treaty

Flag of the Antarctic Treaty.

Flag of the Antarctic Treaty. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Antarctic Treaty System is the whole complex of arrangements made for the purpose of regulating relations among states in the Antarctic. At its heart is the Antarctic Treaty itself. The original Parties to the Treaty were the 12 nations active in the Antarctic during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58. The Treaty was signed in Washington on 1 December 1959 and entered into force on 23 June 1961. The Consultative Parties comprise the original Parties and other States that have become Consultative Parties by acceding to the Treaty and demonstrating their interest in Antarctica by carrying out a substantial scientific activity there.

The primary purpose of the Antarctic Treaty is to ensure “in the interests of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord.” To this end it prohibits military activity, except in support of science; prohibits nuclear explosions and the disposal of nuclear waste; promotes scientific research and the exchange of data; and holds all territorial claims in abeyance. The Treaty applies to the area south of 60° South Latitude, including all ice shelves and islands.

The Treaty is augmented by Recommendations adopted at Consultative Meetings, by the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (Madrid, 1991), and by two separate conventions dealing with the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (London 1972), and the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (Canberra 1980). The Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities (Wellington 1988), negotiated between 1982 and 1988, will not enter into force.

Signatories to the Antarctic Treaty

The Antarctic Treaty was signed in Washington on 1 December 1959 by 12 states, and entered into force for those states on 23 June 1961. Below are listed in chronological order the dates of ratification of the Treaty by the original signatories, the dates of accession or succession by other states, and the dates upon which acceding states became Consultative Parties.

OS = Original Signatory
CP = Consultative party
AS = Acceding State

  State Date Status Date when Acceding State became Consultative Party
1 United Kingdom 31 May 1960 OS/CP  
2 South Africa 21 June 1960 OS/CP  
3 Belgium 26 July 1960 OS/CP  
4 Japan 4 August 1960 OS/CP  
5 United States of America 18 August 1960 OS/CP  
6 Norway 24 August 1960 OS/CP  
7 France 16 September 1960 OS/CP  
8 New Zealand 1 November 1960 OS/CP  
9 Russia 1 2 November 1960 OS/CP  
10 Poland 8 June 1961 AS/CP 29 July 1977
11 Argentina 23 June 1961 OS/CP  
12 Australia 23 June 1961 OS/CP  
13 Chile 23 June 1961 OS/CP  
14 Czech Republic 2 14 June 1962 AS  
15 Slovak Republic 2 14 June 1962 AS  
16 Denmark 20 May 1965 AS  
17 Netherlands 30 March 1967 AS/CP 19 November 1990
18 Romania 15 September 1971 AS  
  German Democratic Republic 3 19 November 1974 AS/CP 5 October 1987
19 Brazil 16 May 1975 AS/CP 12 September 1983
20 Bulgaria 11 September 1978 AS/CP 25 May 1998
21 Germany, Federal Republic of 5 February 1979 AS/CP 3 March 1981
22 Uruguay 11 January 1980 AS/CP 7 October 1985
23 Papua New Guinea 4 16 March 1981 AS  
24 Italy 18 March 1981 AS/CP 5 October 1987
25 Peru 10 April 1981 AS/CP 9 October 1989
26 Spain 31 March 1982 AS/CP 21 September 1988
27 China, People’s Republic of 8 June 1983 AS/CP 7 October 1985
28 India 19 August 1983 AS/CP 12 September 1983
29 Hungary 27 January 1984 AS  
30 Sweden 24 April 1984 AS/CP 21 September 1988
31 Finland 15 May 1984 AS/CP 9 October 1989
32 Cuba 16 August 1984 AS  
33 Korea, Republic of 28 November 1986 AS/CP 9 October 1989
34 Greece 8 January 1987 AS  
35 Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of 21 January 1987 AS  
36 Austria 25 August 1987 AS  
37 Ecuador 15 September 1987 AS/CP 19 November 1990
38 Canada 4 May 1988 AS  
39 Colombia 31 January 1989 AS  
40 Switzerland 15 November 1990 AS  
41 Guatemala 31 July 1991 AS  
42 Ukraine 28 October 1992 AS/CP 17 June 2005
43 Turkey 25 January 1996 AS  
44 Venezuela 24 March 1999 AS  
45 Estonia 17 May 2001 AS  
46 Belarus 27 December 2006 AS  
47 Monaco 30 May 2008 AS  
48 Portugal 29 January 2010 AS  

Notes

1. Known as the Soviet Union until December 1990.
2. Succeeded to the Treaty as part of Czechoslovakia which separated into two republics on 1 January 1993.
3. Became united with the Federal Republic of Germany on 3 October 1990 (now known as Germany).
4. Succeeded to the Treaty after independence from Australia.
Courtesy : www.scar.org

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