Welcome to the 44th ATCM

For the Opening Livestream please click here

Focus on Antarctica

Since the Antarctic Treaty entered into force in 1961, representatives of the participating nations have met regularly for the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM). The 44th ATCM, from 23 May till 2 June 2022, is being hosted by Germany in Berlin. Matters on the agenda include topical questions relating to Antarctica and further developments on the coldest continent on our planet.

One of the most successful international agreements

The Antarctic Treaty holds a special place in international politics. It is regarded as one of the most successful of all international agreements. When this alliance was launched, the Cold War was at its height. So it was amazing that the states were actually able to agree to use Antarctica exclusively for peaceful purposes. Thus a military confrontation over unclarified territorial claims in Antarctica was avoided. Thanks to the Treaty, Antarctica remains to this day a demilitarised continent free of nuclear weapons. At the same time, the Treaty created a new dimension of multilateral cooperation on the basis of joint research. The result is peaceful scientific and logistical cooperation between the Contracting Parties in Antarctica “in the interest of all mankind”, as it says in the Preamble to the Treaty. Many more recent agreements have been oriented to the ideal of the Antarctic Treaty.

Advice on environmental issues

Following the recognition that the Antarctic environment needed to be protected, the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty was signed in the early 1990s. This Protocol designates Antarctica as “a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science”. Even today, it is considered to be a prime example of international environmental protection. The Protocol’s entry into force in 1998 also established the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP), which advises the Contracting Parties on environmental issues in Antarctica. This body will hold its 24th meeting in Berlin in parallel to the ATCM and prepare environment-related decisions for the ATCM.