July 6, 2022
The Antarctic Treaty of 1 December 1959 is an international agreement on the ice and land areas south of 60 degrees south latitude. The treaty was acceded to by twelve states, all of which had activity in Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year (1957–58). The states were: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and the former Soviet Union. The entry into force was 23 June 1961. The treaty was signed by 51 countries as of September 2015. The main purpose of the treaty is to ensure that Antarctica will forever be used for peaceful purposes and will not be the scene or subject of international conflicts. The treaty includes a ban on military bases in Antarctica and a ban on nuclear explosions and the disposal of radioactive material. In 1998, the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty entered into force. This designates Antarctica as a nature reserve dedicated to peace and science, and commits the parties to a comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment and associated ecosystems. States that have acceded to the treaty shall not do anything to assert, support or deny territorial claims in Antarctica, but also state that the states have not stated their territorial claims upon accession. For Norway, this applies to two Norwegian biland: Peter I Øy and Dronning Maud Land. The Antarctic Treaty Secretariat was established in 2004 to administer meetings and coordinate cooperation between the Contracting Parties.