Antarctic Treaty System

The Antarctic Treaty

On December 1, 1959, the Antarctic Treaty was signed in Washington, with the presence of the twelve countries that had developed scientific activities in and around Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) 1957-1958. It entered into force in 1961, and since then it has been accepted by many other nations, with 54 Parties.

Some important provisions of the Treaty are:

  • Antarctica shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes (art. I).
  • Freedom of scientific research in Antarctica and cooperation to that end […] shall continue (art. II).
  • The Contracting Parties agree to […] exchange observations of scientific results on Antarctica, which shall be freely available (art. III).
  • No act or activity carried out while this Treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting, supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica or for creating sovereign rights in this region. No new claims to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica shall be made, nor shall claims previously asserted be extended, while this Treaty is in force (art. IV).
  • In order to promote the objectives and ensure compliance with the provisions of the Treaty, “all regions of Antarctica, and all stations, installations and equipment therein […] shall at all times be open to inspection” (art. VII).

Related Agreements

Associated Organizations

Source: Antarctic Treaty Secretariat

Some documents of interest: