22 February 2017
Información para la Prensa N°: 046/17
An event to commemorate Argentine Antarctica Day was held at the Palacio San Martín, presided over by the Deputy Foreign Minister, Ambassador Pedro Villagra Delgado and the Minister of Defence, Julio Martínez.
They were joined by authorities and staff from the Argentine Antarctic Programme, including the Foreign Ministry (National Directorate for the Antarctic and Argentine Antarctic Institute), the Ministry of Defence (through the Armed Forces) and special guests, such as historic Antarcticans and relatives of highly distinguished figures in Argentine Antarctic history.
Argentine Antarctica Day marks the anniversary of the inauguration of the Meteorology and Magnetic Observatory on Laurie Island, South Orkney Islands and of the day the Argentine flag was raised there for the first time in 1904. Since then, Argentina has maintained its permanent, uninterrupted presence in Antarctica. Also, since 1959, as one of the original signatories to the Antarctic Treaty, Argentina has been one of the leading actors in the Antarctic Treaty System.
Through the work carried out by the Argentine Antarctic Institute (IAA), the world’s first institute exclusively dedicated to Antarctic science and established in 1951, Argentina has consolidated the central role of science in its Antarctic activity. In addition, our country has developed and strengthened international scientific cooperation centred on science and the protection of the Antarctic environment.
Most of the IAA’s scientific research centres on geological, paleontological and biological studies (with a focus on the effects of climate change and fisheries on ecosystems). These developments also include some applied research, such as bioremediation and biotechnology.
Argentina upholds its territorial rights in Antarctica through intense scientific activity and a strong commitment to the Antarctic Treaty System. This commitment is also reflected in several existing international scientific cooperation agreements, in the inspection of foreign Antarctic stations conducted jointly with Chile and in the development of a marine protected area in the Antarctic Peninsula, among other things.
The reinstatement of the ARA “Almirante Irízar” Icebreaker, possibly for the next Antarctic campaign, will be of fundamental value to our Antarctic logistics and will significantly contribute to the movement of cargo and personnel, as well as facilitate cooperation with other countries.
The combination of these elements has forged a true State policy for Antarctica. Thus, the Argentine Antarctic Programme has become one of the most active and important in the world, thanks to the joint effort in which science, logistics and diplomacy coalesce to achieve a priority goal for Argentina: defending its rights and interests in the region.