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Montevideo, November 15th 2018 - 18:54 UTC

Antarctica celebrates 25th anniversary of the Environment Protection Protocol

Saturday, October 8th 2016 - 11:13 UTC
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Signed on 4 October 1991 by 31 countries, the Madrid Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1998, once it had been ratified by all 26 ATCPs countries Signed on 4 October 1991 by 31 countries, the Madrid Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1998, once it had been ratified by all 26 ATCPs countries
BAS Director Professor Jane Francis, said: “The Protocol is 25 years old, but it has never been more important. It protects Antarctica for humanity” BAS Director Professor Jane Francis, said: “The Protocol is 25 years old, but it has never been more important. It protects Antarctica for humanity”

Tuesday 4 October was the 25th anniversary of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty which was created in order to protect the unique and pristine Antarctic landscape. The Protocol designates Antarctica as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science; and bans the commercial extraction of minerals (mining and drilling).

 Signed on 4 October 1991 by 31 countries, the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (Environmental Protocol or Madrid Protocol) came into force in 1998, once it had been ratified by all 26 (currently 28) Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties (ATCPs).

It sets a framework for the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment – ensuring that all activities in Antarctica are pre-planned and conducted so as to limit their environmental impacts.

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Director, Professor Jane Francis, said: “The Environment Protocol is 25 years old, but it has never been more important.

“Antarctica is unique in this world because it is a continent entirely for peace and science – this status is very important for science. We now know that things happen in the Polar Regions faster than elsewhere on Earth, so it is an early-warning system for changing conditions across the whole Earth.

“The Environmental Protocol protects Antarctica for humanity. The continent may be a long way from home but what happens there matters to us all.”

Today there are 38 Parties to the Protocol, who each send representatives to the annual meetings of the Committee for Environmental Protection, which advises the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) on Antarctic environmental issues. The Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) brings together scientists, environmental managers and policy-makers from Governments; inter-Governmental bodies; and expert non-Governmental organisations

The Environment Office at BAS contributes to CEP meetings, and coordinates and monitors environmental activities on BAS stations and ships, as well as at its headquarters in Cambridge to ensure minimum environmental impact.

The Environmental Protocol is best known for its ban on commercial mining in Antarctica. It would require a consensus of all Parties to change the mining ban. To mark its 25th anniversary in 2016, all Parties underlined their commitment to the mining ban at the ATCM in May 2016.

Annual meetings of the CEP take place alongside the ATCM, which is hosted by the signatories in different cities around the world. This year the meeting took place in Santiago, Chile.

The Protocol has 6 annexes – 5 of which are in force. These: require Environmental Impact Assessments to be developed for all activities; protect Antarctic plants and animals; set rules for waste disposal and management; protect against marine pollution; and provide for special area and heritage protection.

The sixth, the Annex on Liability for Environmental Emergencies, will come into force once all Parties have completed their domestic legislative requirements – the UK did this through the Antarctic Act 2013.

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  • Skip

    Sorry UK's claim predates Argentina's.

    Or should Argentina get special treatment! Or just write rules to suit itself?

    Sounds like the actions that you whine about incessantly as being unfair and wrong.

    You are highly amusing Nostrils!

    Oct 08th, 2016 - 03:29 pm +2
  • Pugol-H

    @3 CapiTrollism_is_back!!
    Same business you Indian murdering Creole Planter Bastards have being in S. America, all that way from your homes in Italy/Spain.

    Except when we found/explored/claimed Antarctica it was completely un-inhabited, unlike S. America.

    Argentina is a S. American county, with no legitimate claims to anything outside S. America, that was all taken long before your Creole Planter Republic Of, was ever born.

    Never mind finished ethnically cleansing your way to the S. Atlantic coast and proximity to the British territories of the S. Atlantic.

    The British made their claims to Antarctica by going there, exploring and sticking flags in the ground.

    Argentina made its claim 100 years later by sticking pins in a map (drawn by the British) in an office in BA.

    You go find your own unclaimed territory, you need to stop trying to claim other peoples.

    As for Argy settlements, don’t make me laugh, you can’t supply your existing bases without Russian help. Is your Ice Breaker ready to sail yet, oh that’s right can’t get out of port now.

    “Unlike Atahualpa or the Mapuche, the British have more than just sticks and stones with which to defend their territory.”

    Oct 09th, 2016 - 04:29 pm +2
  • Marti Llazo

    @ 18 “ Is your Ice Breaker ready to sail yet, oh that’s right can’t get out of port now.”

    The Argentine icebreaker is the very epitome of Industria Argentina and the showcase of politically controlled management, institutional ineptitude, lack of technological capacity, corrupt misuse of funding, and functional failure that characterises all manner of AR governments here. In short, it is quintessentially Argentine.

    It's been 9... count them..... nine fooking years since this ship burned, which in itself was a tribute to dubious argie abilities on the high seas. In that nine years the Koreans could have built five entirely new icebreakers. Assessment here has indicated that what has been spent to “repair” the Irízar, together with what has already been spent to have the Dutch and the Russians do the resupply, a brand-new icebreaker could have been acquired. As of this season repairs+foreign resupply net cost will be over US$300 million.

    The world has little to fear from the works of Industria Argentina down at the shipyards (run by the national government here, of course). Or anywhere else.

    We've heard for years that the ARA Almirante Irízar is almost ready, just about ready, nearly ready, ready any day now.... But of course it's all rubbish. Lies. We've known for months that they can't even move the ship from its repair location. It's basically stuck in the mud because of the “deferred maintenance” silliness of the Kirchner government that resulted in the ruin of so much of the infrastructure in this country.

    Now we learn that it's not just the lack of dredging that is keeping the ship from going anywhere. Unsurprisingly, the Argentine governments have all been lying about the ship being “almost ready.” In fact the refitting is nowhere near done. As of last month, it was shown that some ten percent of the work (after 9 years) is yet to be accomplished!

    Oct 09th, 2016 - 10:02 pm +2
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