Antarctic Treaty


July 5, 2022

The Antarctic Treaty (English the Antarctic Treaty, French Traité sur l'Antarctique, Russian Treaty on the Antarctic, Spanish Tratado Antártico) is an international treaty signed on December 1, 1959 in the city of Washington (USA) and entered into force on June 23, 1961 after its ratification by 12 signatory states that took an active part in Antarctic research during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-1958 (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Union of South Africa, the USSR, Great Britain, USA). Since the entry into force of the Treaty, 54 states have joined it, including Ukraine. The treaty defines the legal regime of the region, which covers about 10% of the Earth's surface and extends to the geographical space south of the 60th parallel of south latitude (including ice shelves, but not including the high seas governed by international law). The agreement is aimed at solving a number of important geopolitical issues in the specified region, such as arms control, postponement of territorial claims, ensuring international scientific and environmental cooperation.

Key Provisions

The main provisions of the Antarctic Treaty are as follows: — Antarctica, in the interests of all mankind, is used only for peaceful purposes (Article I); — The agreement guarantees the freedom of scientific research in the Antarctic and cooperation for this purpose (Article II); — the contracting parties carry out an exchange of scientific personnel, data and results of scientific research in the Antarctic and free access to them is ensured (Article III); — any measures of a military nature are prohibited, in particular, the creation of military bases and fortifications, military maneuvers, testing of any types of weapons. Any nuclear explosions and storage of radioactive materials are prohibited (Article V); — in order to guarantee the peaceful use of the Antarctic, all areas of the Antarctic, including all stations, installations and equipment in these areas, as well as all ships and aircraft at points of unloading and loading of cargo or personnel in the Antarctic, shall at all times be open to inspection by any authorized observers ( Article VII). Thus, the Antarctic Treaty is the first international