The twenty-sixth Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting was held from 9–20 June, 2003 in Madrid, Spain. As usual, the meeting of the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) was held during the first week, from 9–13 June. It was the sixth meeting of the CEP.
Major issues discussed at ATXM XXVI included the development of a regime on liability for environmental damage, the establishment of the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat, and management of tourism and non-government operations in the Antarctic. In addition, the meeting continued the review of past recommendations of Treaty meetings and examined measures to improve the efficiency of its meetings.
In the lead-up to ATCM XXVI Australia was active on inter-sessional working groups and other forums in progressing these issues and a number of working papers was submitted by Australia to assist consideration of these issues at ATCM XXVI.
Significant issues discussed at CEP VI included the review of Annex II to the Madrid Protocol, consideration of draft comprehensive environmental evaluations (CEE), and the review and approval of management plans for protected areas.