Article VII of the Antarctic Treaty provides that each Consultative Party has the right to designate observers to undertake inspections in Antarctica. Article 14 of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (the Protocol) also provides for the conduct of inspections, consistent with Article VII of the Treaty, to promote protection of the Antarctic environment and ensure compliance with the Protocol.

To promote the objectives of the Antarctic Treaty and to ensure that the provisions of the Treaty are observed, Parties are obliged to inform each other of their activities in Antarctica and facilitate inspections by other Parties of their facilities.

Since 1963 Australian inspection teams have conducted inspections on 10 occasions. They have visited stations, facilities, vessels, and protected areas across a wide area of East Antarctica, the Ross Sea region, Dronning Maud Land and the Antarctic Peninsula. Australia most recently conducted inspections in 2020, 2016, 2011 and 2010.

Antarctic Treaty inspections 2020

In January and February 2020, Australian observers conducted inspections of six Antarctic stations:

  • Jang Bogo Station (Republic of Korea), 5 January 2020
  • Inexpressible Island facility (China), 5 January 2020
  • Gondwana Station (Germany), 7 January 2020
  • Taishan Camp (China), 17 January 2020
  • Molodezhnaya Station (Russian Federation), 25 January – 2 February 2020
  • Mountain Evening Station (Belarus), 27 January 2020

The inspections of Jang Bogo Station, Inexpressible Island facility, Taishan Camp, and Mountain Evening Station were the first inspections conducted of these facilities. The inspection of Molodezhnaya Station was the first on-ground inspection since 1983, and follows an Australian aerial observation in 2010, under the Treaty’s inspection provisions.

Download the Report of Australian Antarctic Treaty Inspections 2020 [PDF].

Antarctic Treaty inspections 2016

In December 2016, Australian observers conducted on-ground inspections of Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station (United States) and Antarctic Specially Managed Area No. 5 Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

Antarctic Treaty inspections 2011

In January 2011, Australian observers conducted on-ground inspections of Gondwana Station (Germany) and Vostok Station (Russian Federation), and an aerial observation of Leningradskaya Station (Russian Federation). In each case these inspections were the first since the Protocol came into force.

Antarctic Treaty inspections 2010

In January 2010, Australian observers conducted on-ground inspections of Syowa Station (Japan), Druzhnaya IV and Soyuz Station (Russian Federation) and Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) No. 168 Mount Harding, and an aerial observation of Molodezhnaya Station (Russian Federation). Soyuz Station had not been previously inspected. For each of the stations, the inspections were the first since the Protocol on Environmental Protection under the Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1998.

Previous Australian inspection reports

Reports of previous inspections conducted by Australia and other Parties can be accessed from the website of the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty.