Antarctic Treaty


July 6, 2022

The Antarctic Treaty (南極條約) is a treaty established for the peaceful use of Antarctica.


The Antarctic Treaty system (南極條約体制), which binds the Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, is the only non-inhabited continent on Earth, which governs Antarctica. Twelve countries, including the United States and the Soviet Union, gathered and signed the agreement. It includes the peaceful use of Antarctica, the permitting of scientific investigations and exchanges, the ban on territorial claims, and the ban on military action. The Antarctic Treaty was the first arms control agreement signed since the beginning of the Cold War.

Antarctic Treaty System

Antarctic Treaty

The Antarctic Treaty was signed on December 1, 1959 and entered into force on June 23, 1961. The treaty was discussed at a conference in which the United States invited 12 countries active in Antarctica to mark the International Earth Observation Year of 1957/1958. The invited countries were South Africa, Norway, New Zealand, the United States, Belgium, the Soviet Union, Argentina, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Chile, and France.

Contents of the Antarctic Treaty

The main content is that it does not permanently recognize any sovereignty over Antarctica. In addition, the clause prohibiting nuclear tests in the Antarctic region, peaceful use of the Antarctic region, and all resources mined in the Antarctic region are for research purposes only. It contains information that it can be used (except in case of distress). However, among the advisory members of the Antarctic Treaty, there are countries that claim sovereignty over parts of Antarctica, including the United Kingdom (British Antarctic Territory), France (French South and Antarctic Territory), New Zealand (New Zealand Antarctic Territory) and Norway (Queen). Modland), Australia (Australian Antarctica), Chile (Chilean Antarctica), and Argentina (Argentina Antarctica). There is controversy over the sovereignty claims of these countries, and it is generally not recognized in the international community. Brazil also claims sovereignty over parts of Antarctica, but has not officially confirmed this claim, conscious of international criticism of the Antarctic Treaty.

Relevant Agreements

In addition, several additional agreements on environmental conservation have been concluded.

Member States

Every year, the "Antarctic Treaty Advisory Meeting" is held to discuss the operation and management of the Antarctic region. 29 of the 53 Antarctic Treaty signatories are allowed to attend the meeting. It is referred to as an advisory member and includes 17 countries carrying out scientific activities in Antarctica, in addition to the 12 first signatories. These additional member states are the Netherlands, Korea, Germany, Bulgaria, Brazil, Sweden, Spain, Ecuador, Uruguay, Ukraine, Italy, India, People's Republic of China, Czech Republic, Peru, Poland and Finland. The remaining 24 non-advisory member states are Guatemala, Greece, Denmark, Romania, Malaysia, Monaco, Mongolia, Venezuela, Belarus, Switzerland, Slovakia, Iceland, Estonia, Austria, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kazakhstan, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Turkey, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Portugal and Hungary.

Claiming Member States

Norway New Zealand Argentina uk Australia Chile france

Non-claiming Advisory Member States

(The number in parentheses is the year of membership in the advisory country; if there is no number, the founding country of the treaty) South Africa (South Africa at the time of the founding of the Treaty) Netherlands (1990) Korea (1989) Germany (1981) Russia (USSR at the time of the founding of the treaty) USA Belgium Bulgaria (1998) Brazil (1983) Sweden (1988) Spain (1988) Ecuador (1990) Uruguay (