Scientists and Experts Commemorate 30th Anniversary of Madrid Protocol to Antarctic Treaty
Today (October 4), ministers, renowned scientists and experts from around the world gather at the Archaeological Museum of Madrid to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Madrid Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty. In 1991, this protocol, hailed as an important achievement for environmental governance, declared the full protection of the entire Antarctic continent from exploitation.
High-level dialogues will discuss the different challenges facing Antarctica today. This will be followed by a ministerial meeting, during which, hopefully, countries will commit to taking further innovative steps on how to address these challenges over the next 30 years.
[A petition signed by almost 1.5 million people worldwide calling on world leaders to significantly increase the protection of Antarctica’s waters will also be handed over to the Spanish President of the Government by NGO partners at the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC), Avaaz, Blue Nature Alliance, Ocean Unite, OnlyOne, SeaLegacy, The Pew Charitable Trusts and We Move Europe.]
“This event is a unique opportunity to celebrate this Treaty as a strong symbol of multilateralism and good governance, and to show the world that this multilateral action is urgently needed again now that climate change is accelerating and threatening this nature. fragile savage” noted Claire Christian, Executive Director of the Coalition for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
Antarctica is undergoing huge changes due to the climate crisis – ice melting and temperatures are rising faster than anywhere else on Earth. While the continent has been protected from exploitation, the waters surrounding it are still open to commercial fishing which has expanded in recent decades, threatening vast swathes of vulnerable ecosystems and important wildlife habitats. .
An international body under the Antarctic Treaty called CCAMLR (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) regulates fishing and is responsible for the conservation of Antarctic marine life. It is currently considering the designation of three new large-scale protected areas in the Weddell Sea, East Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula, which would help these areas to adapt and strengthen their resilience to unprecedented changes in marine ecosystems due to the climate crisis.
This extra protection would almost protect 4 million additional km2 of ocean from human activities, providing a safe haven for amazing wildlife, like whales, seals and penguins in another 1% of the world’s ocean.
All CCAMLR members including European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden) and the European Union support these new areas, with the exception of Russia and China.
“The leaders gathered here in Madrid, including Spain, must agree to use all their diplomatic weight to rally Russia and China to this historic action for biodiversity and climate this year.”. declared Pascal Lamy, President of the Paris Peace Forum, Co-head of the 2020 Antarctic Champions Group.
“We must act now to protect the Antarctic Ocean. Region cannot afford another year of wasted inaction” concluded Geneviève Pons, General Manager “Europe Jacques Delors”, Co-head of the 2020 Antarctic Champions Group.
To register for the event, please send your name and identification number to the following address: [email protected]
Notes for Editors
Antarctica 2020 is an initiative bringing together leaders and influential voices from politics, science, sport and media to advocate for high-level support from world leaders for the protection of these areas. This initiative, in collaboration with NGO partners in Coalition for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean (ASOC), Avaaz, Blue Nature Alliance, Ocean Unite, OnlyOne, SeaLegacy, The Pew Charitable Trusts and We move Europe will deliver to the President of the Spanish Government the #CallonCCAMLR petition which has been signed by nearly 1.5 million people around the world calling for the protection of Antarctic waters this year.
The Antarctic Treaty was concluded in 1959 and entered into force in 1961, it has 54 parties https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_Treaty_System.
Antarctica plays a vital role in regulating the global climate and, thanks to its extremely rich biodiversity and strong circumpolar current, provides nutrients to the rest of the global ocean. Covering 30% of the ocean’s surface, the Southern Ocean is an important buffer against climate change, absorbing up to 75% of excess heat and 40% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions which were absorbed by the world ocean.
This celebratory meeting will take place a few days before the 40th Annual Meeting of CCAMLR and COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity which both begin on 11. The meeting is expected to adopt the Madrid Declaration, which will be the expression of the commitment. to protect the biodiversity of this unique area of our planet.
CCAMLR: The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Living Resources (CCAMLR) was established under the Antarctic Treaty system to conserve the biodiversity of the Southern Ocean. CCAMLR is a consensus organization made up of 26 members, including the EU and eight of its member states. CCAMLR’s mandate includes ecosystem-based fisheries management, the protection of Antarctic nature and the creation of large marine protected areas that allow the ocean to increase resilience to climate change.