Argentine Ministers Daniel Filmus (Science), Carla Vizzotti (Health), and Jorge Taiana (Defense) convened at Antarctica's Marambio Base to announce the construction of three new laboratories and other undertakings in the area.
Antarctica, above all, is an area of scientific and technological research. The world considers it a space of preservation and future. We have an enormous responsibility to contribute knowledge that will improve the possibilities of development. The future of humanity will depend on the reserves that places like Antarctica have; and if we do not preserve it based on more knowledge, we will be in difficulties, Filmus said. Sitting in Antarctica served as a sign of sovereignty, the presence in a territory in which many nations request their portion, he added.
Antarctica functions as a natural laboratory to study climate change (receding glaciers, rising average temperatures, and acidification of the oceans) and direct man-caused damage through microplastics and overfishing.
The Argentine authorities pledged to create scientific job opportunities through proper funding, in addition to the current activities coordinated by the Argentine Antarctic Institute (IAA).
”For the first time, the Pampa Azul Program coordinated by the Science Ministry (MinCyT) will carry out expeditions to thoroughly study the fishing issue. Before the end of the year, the first flag expedition to the Georgias Islands on this issue will take place. With this, it is expected that our country will have more tools at its disposal in international discussions. Depredation is very strong, Filmus also argued.
Our attention is focused on the South Atlantic because it is one of the last fishing reserves. It is a correct strategic decision, which will take time and a lot of work, but we know that its care will be more and more relevant. That is why we are here, Taiana pointed out.
The entire Antarctic deployment and logistics are the Armed Forces' responsibility. On the one hand, we are reactivating the Petrel Base, which burned down in 1977 and was never restored. It will be very large and is in a favorable location, at sea level, and with a good landing strip, Taiana also explained.
The new laboratories will mean a qualitative leap in our presence. Besides, at the Belgrano II Base, we are working on an antenna that will capture the signals from the Saocom satellites, which are very useful for the Argentine economy and productivity,” he went on.
He also underlined the work carried out by the Naval Hydrology Service, the National Geographic Institute, the National Meteorological Service, and the Institute of Scientific and Technical Research for Defense.
Argentina has 13 bases in Antarctica, 11 of them administered by the Joint Antarctic Command (Ministry of Defense) and 2 by the National Antarctic Directorate (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Six of them are permanent and perform year-round tasks, and the other ones are temporary.
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