Treaty Parties meet in Ukraine
On the occasion of the 31st meeting of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM), over 300 delegates from Antarctic nations around the world met in Kyiv, Ukraine, in June, to discuss a broad range of Antarctic legal, policy and environmental protection matters. Just two days before the meeting, Monaco acceded to the Treaty – the 47th accession since its inception in 1961.
Photo: Andrew Jackson
Biological prospecting received further attention, including a request by the ATCM that the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research conduct a review of published research on Antarctic biological prospecting, undertake a survey of current biological prospecting activity, and report back to the next meeting.
In the lead up to the next ATCM a number of issues will be progressed in inter-sessional discussions: the United Kingdom will coordinate inter-sessional work on developing a tourism strategy for Antarctica; Norway will convene further work by the Inter-sessional Working Group on Passenger Vessel Safety; The Netherlands will convene an informal meeting on Antarctic biological prospecting; and Argentina will lead an inter-sessional group to review arrangements for the conduct of Antarctic Treaty inspections.
In science, Australia reported on the progress of the Census of Antarctic Marine Life and cooperation among Antarctic Treaty Parties, which led to 18 research vessels collaborating in data collection across the Southern Ocean. The census has gathered much new information on the marine biodiversity of the region.
Australia participates actively in all meetings of the ATCM, consistent with the government's objective of maintaining the Antarctic Treaty system and enhancing Australia's influence in it. The annual meetings are the primary international forums for discussion of issues relating to governance in the Antarctic region. Decisions at ATCM and CEP meetings are taken by consensus. The next meeting will be held in Baltimore, United States, from 6 to 17 April 2009.
General Manager, Policy, AAD