16 May 2018
Información para la Prensa N°: 202/18
(Access link to download photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrecic-argentina/ )
Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie today encouraged "the strengthening of scientific activity in Antarctica within a framework of peace and cooperation, with a view to preserving its environment, especially for future generations," as he opened the 41st Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting today at the Palacio San Martín.
The meeting, chaired by the Undersecretary for the Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic, Ambassador María Teresa Kralikas, will be attended by delegations from 53 countries and over a dozen experts and international organizations. During the opening session, Ms. Ségolène Royal, the French Ambassador for the Arctic and Antarctic Poles, addressed the impact of climate change on Antarctica.
Faurie referred to the Antarctic Treaty as "the result of an ambitious and bold diplomatic vision, which has made it one of the greatest achievements of international relations in recent history."
In addition, he underscored "the commitment of Argentina," which has signed over twenty bilateral cooperation agreements in Antarctic matters and which "during President Macri's administration has signed six new agreements (namely, with Chile, China, Korea, Japan, Poland and Norway.)" He further underscored that "yesterday, an agreement was signed with the United Kingdom and another will be signed before this weekend with Uruguay."
The topics to be addressed at the meeting include trends in Antarctic tourism regarding environmental protection and biodiversity exploration and genetic resources in Antarctica, as well as the Committee for Environmental Protection's recommendations in connection with a new Chinese station project and a project for a new harbour in a British station.
"Tourism in Antarctica is an activity that offers excellent growth prospects. This is why we have to work responsibly, bearing in mind the consequences this may have in economic development," the Foreign Minister stated, recognizing the importance of the Province of Tierra del Fuego, and especially of Ushuaia, as a "gateway" to the white continent. In this regard, "the Argentine Government is deeply committed to strengthening Ushuaia's role and to the development of the Province of Tierra del Fuego," he underscored.
About the Antractic Treaty
The Antarctic Treaty, which has been in force since 1961, has secured peace and promoted scientific research and the conservation of the Antarctic environment for nearly 60 years. The result of remarkable diplomatic work, the Treaty provides for a regulation and cooperation system that represents one of the most successful diplomatic achievements in recent history.
The Contracting Parties hold meetings annually for the adoption of measures concerning the regulation of various issues. The meetings are attended by representatives of 53 countries, as well as by experts and observers from various organizations whose work focuses on Antarctica.
Argentina, as an original Signatory to the Treaty and a Consultative Party -i.e., one which participates in the decision-making process of the System,- is proud of its leading role within the Antarctic Treaty System and its deep commitment to the Treaty's principles and objectives. The Treaty secures Argentina's sovereignty claim over its sector of Antarctica, which is also supported by over 114 years of Argentina's scientific activity in Antarctica and the longest uninterrupted presence on the continent.
Argentina's commitment to the Antarctic Treaty System is also evidenced by the organization of this 41st Consultative Meeting. It should be noted that the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat, currently chaired by Albert Lluberas, from Uruguay, has had its seat in Buenos Aires since its establishment in 2004.
Yesterday marked the closing session of the 21st Committee for Environmental Protection, which provides advice to the ATCM regarding environmental protection and has been meeting annually since 1998. The CEP meeting began last Sunday, also at the Palacio San Martín.