The Director of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), Dr Tony Press, is to lead a delegation to Argentina to further the establishment of the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat. Informal consultations between the Antarctic Treaty parties are to be held next week in Buenos Aires which will be home to the Secretariat.

The Treaty is the only international agreement of such stature not to have permanent headquarters.

Dr Press said that the meeting was a lead up to formal negotiations in June on a range of issues associated with the Secretariat’s establishment.

“Australia has long supported this as being fundamental to the efficient operation of the Antarctic Treaty.

“Our role is an important one and we have been working closely with Argentina in its preparations for the Secretariat,” Dr Press said.

“We will also take the opportunity to check progress on a number of other issues to come before the Antarctic Treaty meeting in June such as liability for environmental damage, management of tourism and operation of the Committee for Environment Protection (CEP),” Dr Press said.

Dr Press who was recently elected to chair the CEP was the first Australian to be appointed to the position.

All Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties are expected to attend the discussions to be held from April 1 to 4.