June 23rd marked the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the entry into force of the Antarctic Treaty, one of the most avantgarde multilateral agreements of the XX Century. It was ratified at the time by the twelve states that had signed it previously, on December 1st 1959, among them, Argentina.
This anniversary coincided with the 43rd edition of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) and the 23rd Meeting of the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP), two central bodies of the Antarctic Treaty System, which gathered signatories of the Treaty and its Environmental Protocol. This year the ATCM, which assembled 450 delegates from 40 States -including a large Argentine delegation-, six international organizations and four NGOs, was organized by France from Paris, and for the first time in its history was held in a virtual format.
Secretary for Malvinas, Antarctica and the South Atlantic of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Daniel Filmus, underscored that "the main legacy of the Antarctic Treaty has been to pacify an entire continent, which remains free of weapons, nuclear explosions and mining, and to place science at the forefront of human activities that take place in the white continent". He also noted that it "promotes scientific research and environmental protection, from the increasing effects of a global phenomenon such as climate change".
In reference to Argentine sovereignty, Filmus assured that for Argentina "the Antarctic Treaty is of particular relevance because its Article IV safeguards our legal standing over the Argentine Antarctic territory" and also assured that this "is complemented by our permanent presence in the region for over 117 years and the noteworthy scientific activity undertaken by the Argentine Antarctic Institute in support of its territorial vindication, and as an essential input for the international Antarctic community.
The ATCM sessions were inaugurated on June 15th with the participation of French Prime Minister, Jean Castex, together with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Minister for Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, and the Minister for Superior Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal. The Argentine delegation which was headed by Min. Máximo Gowland, National Director for Antarctic Foreign Policy of the Argentine MFA, took part in the meetings addressing issues like cooperation and scientific activities, biological prospecting, safety in maritime and air operations in Antarctica, information exchange between the Parties, education and dissemination, climate change implications, regulation of tourism and non-governmental activities, among others.
60 years since the signing of the Antarctic Treaty, the 29 Consultative Parties with voting rights in the management of Antarctic issues, renewed their joint commitment to continue working together in the preservation and management of the Antarctic continent.