Antarctic Treaty

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Washington D.C., USA
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 23/06/1961


Environment and products

Sub category

Protected geographical areas



What is it about?

This instrument implements a regime of internationalisation of the Antarctic. The treaty holds all territorial claims in abeyance. It also prohibits military activity, nuclear explosions and the disposal of nuclear waste and promotes scientific research and the exchange of data among contracting states. The Treaty applies to the area south of 60° South Latitude, including all ice shelves and islands. A Protocol on Environmental Protection of the Antarctic Treaty (Madrid, 4 October 1991) supplements the present instrument by absolutely prohibiting any activity relating to mineral resources, other than scientific research for a period of 50 years.

Why is it relevant?

This treaty guarantees the preservation of the Antarctic by preventing the territory of becoming a matter for international disputes. Though it reserves a privileged place for the original Parties (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States all have establishes bases) it permits all State parties to have access to scientific research on the continent.

Additional Information



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