Antarctic Issues

Emperor penguin and scientist

Photo 3: Emperor penguin and scientist 
(NOAA Photo Library).

Under the Antarctic Treaty System (Antarctic Treaty and related agreements) Antarctica has been set aside for peaceful purposes including scientific research and environmental protection. The international cooperation on implementation of this system is done through the annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM). The Committee on Environmental Protection (CEP) implements the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty and usually has a meeting that runs concurrent with the ATCM. ATCM XXXII and CEP XII, hosted by the United States in Baltimore, Maryland, April 6-17, 2009, coincided with the 50th Anniversary of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty.

An iceberg in Gerlache Strait

Photo 4: An iceberg in Gerlache Strait. 
(NOAA Photo Library).

On April 2, 2009, President Obama transmitted to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification Annex VI on Liability Arising From Environmental Emergencies to the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (Annex VI). The Treaty Transmittal package has been referred to the Foreign Relations Committee for its consideration (Senate Treaty No. 111-2).

Additional reference information: Some of these links are to external sites.