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PIB Summaries 07 May 2024

  1. India to Host Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting


India, represented by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), will host the 46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM 46) and the 26th Meeting of the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP 26) in Kochi, Kerala, from May 20th to May 30th, 2024.


GS II: International Relations

Understanding the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM):

  • Purpose: The ATCM is an annual gathering of the original 12 parties to the Antarctic Treaty, along with other parties interested in Antarctic research.
  • Antarctic Treaty: Signed in 1959, the treaty designates Antarctica as a region devoted to peaceful activities, scientific collaboration, and environmental preservation.
  • Membership: Currently, 56 countries are party to the Antarctic Treaty, including India, which became a Consultative Party in 1983 and reaffirmed its commitment through the Antarctic Act in 2022.
  • Meeting Frequency: Initially held biennially from 1961 to 1994, the meetings have been annual since 1994.
  • 46th ATCM Agenda: The agenda includes discussions on sustainable management of Antarctica, policy, legal matters, biodiversity, inspections, data exchange, research, climate change, tourism, and awareness.
  • India’s Role: As a Consultative Party, India participates in decision-making alongside other Consultative Parties and has been conducting annual scientific expeditions to Antarctica since 1981.

Understanding the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP):

  • Establishment: Formed in 1991 under the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (Madrid Protocol).
  • Function: The CEP advises the ATCM on matters related to environmental protection and conservation in Antarctica.
  • Importance: Both the ATCM and CEP play crucial roles in safeguarding Antarctica’s delicate ecosystem and promoting scientific research in the region.
  • Annual Meetings: Convened under the Antarctic Treaty System, these meetings serve as platforms for addressing environmental, scientific, and governance issues in Antarctica.
  • 26th CEP Agenda: Focuses on evaluating the Antarctic environment, climate change responses, area protection, marine spatial protection, and biodiversity conservation.

May 2024