Treaty came into force in 1961 after ratification by the
twelve countries then active in Antarctic science. Today 44
countries, covering 80 per cent of the world population, have
ratified the Treaty. Its objectives are simple yet unique in
establish it as a zone free of nuclear tests and the disposal
of radioactive waste, and to ensure that it is used for
peaceful purposes only;
promote international scientific cooperation in Antarctica;
set aside disputes over territorial sovereignty.
Treaty parties have adopted over 200 recommendations and negotiated
five separate international agreements:
Antarctic Consultative Meeting was held in 2003 in Spain.
on Environmental Protection Committee for Environmental
on Environmental Protection (Madrid Protocol) entered into
force in 1998. The
Committee for Environmental
Protection (CEP) was established through the Protocol, also
in 1998, with the functions to provide advice and formulate
recommendations to the Antarctic Treaty Parties in connection
with the implementation of the Environmental Protocol.
the Protocol and the CEP are the results of a continuously
growing awareness within the Antarctic Treaty system of the
importance of protecting the fragile Antarctic environment.
Environmental Protection has always played a central role
in cooperation within the Antarctic Treaty System, and in
1991 this cumulated in the signing of the Protocol.
Protocol contains very stringent and comprehensive regulations
to prevent and combat pollution.
Protocol establishes Antarctica as a "natural reserve,
devoted to peace and science", and prohibits mining for
commercial purposes. It outlines the environmental conduct
for all activities undertaken in Antarctica, including prior
assessment of potential environmental impacts.