|Signed||December 1, 1959|
|Location||Washington, D.C., United States|
|Effective||June 23, 1961|
|Condition||Ratification of all 12 signatories|
|Depositary||Federal government of the United States|
|Languages||English, French, Russian, and Spanish|
The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, collectively known as the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), regulate international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earth's only continent without a native human population. For the purposes of the treaty system, Antarctica is defined as all of the land and ice shelves south of 60°S latitude. The treaty entered into force in 1961 and currently has 54 parties.The treaty sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, establishes freedom of scientific investigation, and bans military activity on the continent. The treaty was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War. Since September 2004, the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat headquarters has been located in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
|International ownership treaties|
The main treaty was opened for signature on December 1, 1959, and officially entered into force on June 23, 1961.The original signatories were the 12 countries active in Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957–58. The twelve countries that had significant interests in Antarctica at the time were: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries had established over 55 Antarctic stations for the IGY. The treaty was a diplomatic expression of the operational and scientific co-operation that had been achieved "on the ice".
Various international conflicts motivated the creation of an agreement for the Antarctic.After the Second World War, the U.S. considered establishing a claim in Antarctica. From August 26, 1946, and until the beginning of 1947, Operation Highjump was carried out, the largest military expeditionary force that the United States has sent to Antarctica to the present, consisting of 13 ships, 4700 men and numerous aerial devices. Its goals were to train military personnel and test material in conditions of extreme cold for an eventual war in the Antarctic.
Some incidents had occurred during World War II, and a new one occurred in Hope Bay on February 1, 1952, when the Argentine military fired warning shots at a group of Britons. The response of the United Kingdom was to send a warship that landed marines on February 4, at the scene.This occurred; however, after 1949, Argentina, Chile, and the United Kingdom signed a Tripartite Naval Declaration committing not to send warships south of the 60th South parallel, which was renewed annually until 1961 when it was deemed unnecessary when the treaty entered into force. This tripartite declaration was signed after the tension generated when Argentina sent to Antarctica in February 1948 a fleet of 8 warships.
On January 17, 1953, Argentina reopened the Lieutenant Lasala refuge on Deception Island, leaving a sergeant and a corporal in the Argentine Navy. On February 15, in the incident on Deception Island, 32 royal marines landed from the British frigate HMS Snipe armed with Sten machine guns, rifles, and tear gas capturing the two Argentine sailors. The Argentine refuge and a nearby uninhabited Chilean shelter were destroyed, and the Argentine sailors were delivered to a ship from that country on February 18 in the South Georgias Islands.A British detachment remained three months on the island while the frigate patrolled its waters until April.
On May 4, 1955, the United Kingdom filed two lawsuits, against Argentina and Chile respectively, before the International Court of Justice to declare the invalidity of the claims of the sovereignty of the two countries over Antarctic and sub-Antarctic areas. On July 15, 1955, the Chilean Government rejected the jurisdiction of the Court in that case, and on August 1, the Argentine Government also did so, so on March 16, 1956, the claims were filed.
On September 2, 1947, the American quadrant of Antarctica (between 24 ° W and 90 ° W) was included as part of the security zone of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, committing its members to defend it in case of external aggression.
In August 1948, the United States proposed that Antarctica be under the guardianship of the United Nations as a trust administered by Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, United States, United Kingdom, and New Zealand. Still, the idea was rejected by Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, and Norway. Before the rejection, on August 28, 1948, the United States proposed to the claimants some form of internationalization of Antarctica, with the support of the United Kingdom. Chile responded by presenting a plan to suspend any Antarctic claim for 5 to 10 years while negotiating a final solution, which did not prosper. The interest of the United States to keep the Soviet Union away from Antarctica was frustrated when in 1950, this country informed the claimants that it would not accept any Antarctic agreement in which it was not represented. The fear that the USSR would react by doing a territorial claim transferring the Cold War to Antarctica led the United States to do none. In 1956 and 1958, India tried unsuccessfully to bring the Antarctic issue to the United Nations General Assembly.
In 1950 the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) discussed the possibility of holding a third International Polar Year. At the suggestion of the World Meteorological Organization, the idea of the International Polar Year was extended to the entire planet, thus creating the International Geophysical Year that took place between July 1, 1957, and December 31, 1958. In this event, 66 countries participated. At the ICSU meeting in Stockholm from September 9 to 11, 1957, the creation of a Special Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) was approved, inviting the twelve countries conducting Antarctic investigations to send delegates to integrate the committee, with the purpose of exchanging scientific information among its members regarding Antarctica. The SCAR was later renamed to the Scientific Committee for Research in Antarctica.
Both Argentina and Chile expressed that researching during the International Geophysical Year would not give any territorial rights to the participants and that the facilities that were erected during that year should then be dismantled at the end of it. After the United States proposed to extend the Antarctic investigations for another year, in February 1958, the Soviet Union reported that it would maintain its scientific bases until the studies that were carried out were completed.
Scientific bases increased in international tension concerning Antarctica, and the danger of the Cold War spreading to that continent, caused the President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, to convene an Antarctic Conference to the twelve countries active in Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year, to sign a treaty. In the first phase, representatives of the twelve nations met in Washington, who met in 60 sessions from June 1958 to October 1959, to define the basic negotiating framework. Still, no consensus was reached on a preliminary draft. In the second phase, a conference of the highest diplomatic level was held from October 15 to December 1, 1959, the date of the signing of the treaty. The central ideas with full acceptance were the freedom of scientific research in Antarctica and the peaceful use of the continent. Still, their demilitarization and the maintenance of the status quo also had consensus.
The positions of the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand coincided in the establishment of an international administration for Antarctica, proposing the latter to be within the framework of the United Nations. Australia and the United Kingdom expressed the need for inspections by observers, and the second proposed the use of military means for logistics functions. Argentina proposed that all atomic explosions be banned in Antarctica, which caused a crisis that lasted until the eve of the firm, since the United States, along with other countries, intended to ban only those that were made without prior notice and without prior consultation. The support of the USSR and Chile to the Argentine proposal finally caused the United States to retract its opposition.
The signing of the treaty was the first arms control agreement that occurred in the framework of the Cold War, and the complaining countries managed to avoid the internationalization of Antarctic sovereignty.
The provisions of the present treaty shall apply to the area south of 60-degree South Latitude, including all ice shelves, but nothing in the present treaty shall prejudice or in any way affect the rights, or the exercise of the rights, of any State under international law with regard to the high seas within that area.
The main objective of the ATS is to ensure in the interests of all humankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord. Pursuant to Article 1, the treaty forbids any measures of a military nature, but not the presence of military personnel or equipment for the purposes of scientific research.
Other agreements — some 200 recommendations adopted at treaty consultative meetings and ratified by governments — include:
The Antarctic Treaty System's yearly Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM) are the international forum for the administration and management of the region. Only 29 of the 54 parties to the agreements have the right to participate in decision-making at these meetings, though the other 25 are still allowed to attend. The decision-making participants are the Consultative Parties and, in addition to the 12 original signatories, include 17 countries that have demonstrated their interest in Antarctica by carrying out substantial scientific activity there.The Antarctic Treaty also has Special Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (SATCM), which are generally summoned to treat more important topics but are less frequents and Meetings of Experts.
As of 2019, there are 54 states party to the treaty,29 of which, including all 12 original signatories to the treaty, have consultative (voting) status. The consultative members include the 7 countries that claim portions of Antarctica as their territory. The 47 non-claimant countries either do not recognize the claims of others, or have not stated their positions. 40 parties to the Antarctic Treaty have also ratified the "Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty".
|Dec 1, 1959||Jun 23, 1961||Jun 23, 1961|
|Dec 1, 1959||Jun 23, 1961||Jun 23, 1961|
|No||Aug 25, 1987||No|
|No||Dec 27, 2006||No|
|Dec 1, 1959||Jul 26, 1960||Jun 23, 1961|
|No||May 16, 1975||Sep 27, 1983|
|No||Sep 11, 1978||Jun 5, 1998|
|No||May 4, 1988||No|
|Dec 1, 1959||Jun 23, 1961||Jun 23, 1961|
|No||Jun 8, 1983||Oct 7, 1985|
|No||Jan 31, 1989||No|
|No||Aug 16, 1984||No|
|No||Jan 1, 1993||Apr 1, 2014||Succession from |
|No||May 20, 1965||No|
|No||Sep 15, 1987||Nov 19, 1990|
|No||May 17, 2001||No|
|No||May 15, 1984||Oct 20, 1989|
|Dec 1, 1959||Sep 16, 1960||Jun 23, 1961|
|No||Feb 5, 1979||Mar 3, 1981||Ratified as |
|No||Jan 8, 1987||No|
|No||Jul 31, 1991||No|
|No||Jan 27, 1984||No|
|No||Oct 13, 2015||No|
|No||Aug 19, 1983||Sep 12, 1983|
|No||Mar 18, 1981||Oct 5, 1987|
|Dec 1, 1959||Aug 4, 1960||Jun 23, 1961|
|No||Jan 27, 2015||No|
|No||Oct 31, 2011||No|
|No||May 31, 2008||No|
|No||Mar 23, 2015||No|
|No||Mar 30, 1967||Nov 19, 1990|
|Dec 1, 1959||Nov 1, 1960||Jun 23, 1961|
|No||Jan 21, 1987||No|
|Dec 1, 1959||Aug 24, 1960||Jun 23, 1961|
|No||Mar 1, 2012||No|
|No||Mar 16, 1981||No||Succession from |
|No||Apr 10, 1981||Oct 9, 1989|
|No||Jun 8, 1961||Jul 29, 1977|
|No||Jan 29, 2010||No|
|No||Sep 15, 1971||No|
|Dec 1, 1959||Nov 2, 1960||Jun 23, 1961||Ratified as the |
|No||January 1, 1993||No||Succession from |
|No||April 22, 2019||No|
|Dec 1, 1959||Jun 21, 1960||Jun 23, 1961|
|No||Nov 28, 1986||Oct 9, 1989|
|No||Mar 31, 1982||Sep 21, 1988|
|No||Apr 24, 1984||Sep 21, 1988|
|No||Nov 15, 1990||No|
|No||Jan 24, 1996||No|
|No||Oct 28, 1992||Jun 4, 2004|
|Dec 1, 1959||May 31, 1960||Jun 23, 1961|
|Dec 1, 1959||Aug 18, 1960||Jun 23, 1961|
|No||Jan 11, 1980||Oct 7, 1985|
|No||May 24, 1999||No|
* Has an overlapping claim with another one or two claimants.
† Reserved the right to make a claim.
The Antarctic Treaty Secretariat was established in Buenos Aires, Argentina in September 2004 by the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM). Jan Huber (the Netherlands) served as the first Executive Secretary for five years until August 31, 2009. He was succeeded on September 1, 2009, by Manfred Reinke (Germany). Reinke was succeeded by Albert Lluberas (Uruguay), who was elected in June 2017 at the 40th Antarctic Consultative Treaty Meeting in Beijing, China.
The tasks of the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat can be divided into the following areas:
Antarctica currently has no permanent population and therefore it has no citizenship nor government. Personnel present on Antarctica at any time are almost always citizens or nationals of some sovereignty outside Antarctica, as there is no Antarctic sovereignty. The majority of Antarctica is claimed by one or more countries, but most countries do not explicitly recognize those claims. The area on the mainland between 90 degrees west and 150 degrees west is the only major land on Earth not claimed by any country.Until 2015 the interior of the Norwegian Sector, the extent of which had never been officially defined, was considered to be unclaimed. That year, Norway formally laid claim to the area between its Queen Maud Land and the South Pole.
Governments that are party to the Antarctic Treaty and its Protocol on Environmental Protection implement the articles of these agreements, and decisions taken under them, through national laws. These laws generally apply only to their own citizens, wherever they are in Antarctica, and serve to enforce the consensus decisions of the consultative parties: about which activities are acceptable, which areas require permits to enter, what processes of environmental impact assessment must precede activities, and so on. The Antarctic Treaty is often considered to represent an example of the common heritage of mankind principle.
Since the designation of the Australian Antarctic Territory pre-dated the signing of the Antarctic Treaty, Australian laws that relate to Antarctica date from more than two decades before the Antarctic Treaty era. In terms of criminal law, the laws that apply to the Jervis Bay Territory (which follows the laws of the Australian Capital Territory) apply to the Australian Antarctic Territory. Key Australian legislation applying Antarctic Treaty System decisions include the Antarctic Treaty Act 1960, the Antarctic Treaty (Environment Protection) Act 1980 and the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Conservation Act 1981.
The law of the United States, including certain criminal offences by or against U.S. nationals, such as murder, may apply to areas not under jurisdiction of other countries. To this end, the United States now stations special deputy U.S. Marshals in Antarctica to provide a law enforcement presence.
Some U.S. laws directly apply to Antarctica. For example, the Antarctic Conservation Act, Public Law 95-541, 16 U.S.C. § 2401 et seq., provides civil and criminal penalties for the following activities, unless authorized by regulation or statute:
Violation of the Antarctic Conservation Act carries penalties of up to US$10,000 in fines and one year in prison. The Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, Transportation, and the Interior share enforcement responsibilities. The Act requires expeditions from the U.S. to Antarctica to notify, in advance, the Office of Oceans and Polar Affairs of the State Department, which reports such plans to other nations as required by the Antarctic Treaty. Further information is provided by the Office of Polar Programs of the National Science Foundation.
In 2006, the New Zealand police reported that jurisdictional issues prevented them issuing warrants for potential American witnesses who were reluctant to testify during the Christchurch Coroner's investigation into the death by poisoning of Australian astrophysicist Rodney Marks at the South Pole base in May 2000.Dr. Marks died while wintering over at the United States' Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station located at the geographic South Pole. Prior to autopsy, the death was attributed to natural causes by the National Science Foundation and the contractor administering the base. However, an autopsy in New Zealand revealed that Dr. Marks died from methanol poisoning. The New Zealand Police launched an investigation. In 2006, frustrated by lack of progress, the Christchurch Coroner said that it was unlikely that Dr. Marks ingested the methanol knowingly, although there is no certainty that he died as the direct result of the act of another person. During media interviews, the police detective in charge of the investigation criticized the National Science Foundation and contractor Raytheon for failing to co-operate with the investigation.
South African law applies to all South African citizens in Antarctica, and they are subject to the jurisdiction of the magistrate's court in Cape Town.In regard to violations of the Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, South Africa also asserts jurisdiction over South African residents and members of expeditions organised in South Africa.
The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, also known as the Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, or the Madrid Protocol, is part of the Antarctic Treaty System. It provides for comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment and dependent and associated ecosystems.
The history of Antarctica emerges from early Western theories of a vast continent, known as Terra Australis, believed to exist in the far south of the globe. The term Antarctic, referring to the opposite of the Arctic Circle, was coined by Marinus of Tyre in the 2nd century AD.
The Ross Dependency is a region of Antarctica defined by a sector originating at the South Pole, passing along longitudes 160° east to 150° west, and terminating at latitude 60° south. It is claimed by New Zealand. Since the Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1961, Article IV of which states: "No acts or activities taking place while the present Treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting, supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica or create any rights of sovereignty in Antarctica", most countries do not recognise territorial claims in Antarctica.
The British Antarctic Territory (BAT) is a sector of Antarctica claimed by the United Kingdom as one of its 14 British Overseas Territories, of which it is by far the largest by area. It comprises the region south of 60°S latitude and between longitudes 20°W and 80°W, forming a wedge shape that extends to the South Pole, overlapping the Antarctic claims of Argentina and Chile.
The Outer Space Treaty, formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is a treaty that forms the basis of international space law. The treaty was opened for signature in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union on 27 January 1967, and entered into force on 10 October 1967. As of June 2020, 110 countries are parties to the treaty, while another 23 have signed the treaty but have not completed ratification. In addition, Taiwan, which is currently recognized by 14 UN member states, ratified the treaty prior to the United Nations General Assembly's vote to transfer China's seat to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1971.
The Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT) is a part of East Antarctica administered by the Australian Antarctic Division, an agency of the federal Department of the Environment and Energy. The territory's history dates to a claim on Enderby Land made by the United Kingdom in 1841, which was subsequently expanded and eventually transferred to Australia in 1933. It is the largest territory of Antarctica claimed by any nation by area. In 1961, the Antarctic Treaty came into force. Article 4 deals with territorial claims, and although it does not renounce or diminish any preexisting claims to sovereignty, it also does not prejudice the position of Contracting Parties in their recognition or non-recognition of territorial sovereignty. As a result, only four other countries—New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, and Norway—recognise Australia's claim to sovereignty in Antarctica.
The Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty, formally the Treaty of Peace between the Republic of China and Japan and commonly known as the Treaty of Taipei, was a peace treaty between Japan and the Republic of China (ROC) signed in Taipei, Taiwan on 28 April 1952, and took effect on August 5 the same year, marking the formal end of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–45).
The Svalbard Treaty recognises the sovereignty of Norway over the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, at the time called Spitsbergen. The exercise of sovereignty is, however, subject to certain stipulations, and not all Norwegian law applies. The treaty regulates the demilitarisation of the archipelago. The signatories were given equal rights to engage in commercial activities on the islands. As of 2012, Norway and Russia are making use of this right.
The Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, better known as the Moon Treaty or Moon Agreement, is a multilateral treaty that turns jurisdiction of all celestial bodies over to the participant countries. Thus, all activities would conform to international law, including the United Nations Charter.
Antarctica has no official flag as the condominium that governs the continent has not yet formally selected one. Although the consultative members of the Antarctic Treaty System officially adopted an emblem in 2002 which is sometimes used as a flag, this emblem represents the Antarctic Treaty and not the continent itself.
The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) is an interdisciplinary body of the International Science Council (ISC). SCAR coordinates international scientific research efforts in Antarctica, including the Southern Ocean.
The Chilean Antarctic Territory or Chilean Antarctica is the territory in Antarctica claimed by Chile. The Chilean Antarctic Territory ranges from 53° West to 90° West and from the South Pole to the 60° South parallel, partially overlapping the Argentine and British Antarctic claims. It is administered by the Cabo de Hornos municipality in the South American mainland.
A treaty series is an officially published collection of treaties and other international agreements.
There are seven sovereign states who have made eight territorial claims in Antarctica: Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom. These countries have tended to place their Antarctic scientific observation and study facilities within their respective claimed territories; however, a number of such facilities are located outside of the area claimed by their respective countries of operation, and countries without claims such as India, Italy, Russia, and the United States have constructed research facilities within the areas claimed by other countries.
The Manila Accord was signed on 31 July 1963 by the Federation of Malaya, the Republic of Indonesia and the Republic of the Philippines, after a meeting from 7 to 11 June 1963 in Manila.
Each country that is a signatory to the Antarctic Treaty establishes a National Antarctic Program, which has national responsibility for managing the support of scientific research; contribute to the governance and protect the environment of the Antarctic Treaty Area on behalf of its government and in the spirit of the Antarctic Treaty. Forming National Antarctic Programs after signing the treaty is not mandatory but all those countries which have permanent research stations in Antarctica or carry out scientific research otherwise, generally do so.
Queen Elizabeth Land is portion of mainland Antarctica named by the government of the United Kingdom and claimed as part of the British Antarctic Territory, which is the largest of the 14 British Overseas Territories. Situated south of Weddell Sea and between longitudes 20°W and 80°W, stretching from Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf to the South Pole. That territory was unnamed until 2012, though most of it was unofficially known as Edith Ronne Land in 1947–68 and includes areas claimed by the United Kingdom, Chile and Argentina.
The Antarctic Treaty issue is a postage stamp that was issued by the United States Post Office Department on June 23, 1971. Designed by Howard Koslow, it commemorates the ten-year anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty, and is notable as Koslow's first postage stamp design.
…formålet med anneksjonen var å legge under seg det landet som til nå ligger herreløst og som ingen andre enn nordmenn har kartlagt og gransket. Norske myndigheter har derfor ikke motsatt seg at noen tolker det norske kravet slik at det går helt opp til og inkluderer polpunktet.
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