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Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting Communiqué

 

From 2 to 11 July 2019, the Czech Republic hosted the XLII Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM). The meeting was chaired by Mr Martin Smolek (the Czech Republic). The XXII meeting of the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) was held from 1 to 5 July 2019 and was chaired by Ms Birgit Njåstad (Norway). The Meetings were organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

Over 370 participants from the Antarctic Treaty Parties, experts, representatives of civil society and international observers attended the annual Meeting. The Meeting was opened by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Mr Tomáš Petříček. The Meeting welcomed Slovenia as a Party to the Antarctic Treaty, bringing the number of Parties to 54.

The ATCM adopted the Prague Declaration on the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the Antarctic Treaty. The Declaration, inter alia, reaffirms the commitment of the Consultative Parties to the principles and purposes of the Antarctic Treaty, including the protection and preservation of Antarctica.

Strengthening of international collaboration in scientific and operational matters and exchange of information remained at the centre of the ATCM discussions. A special seminar dedicated to status and impact of hydrography in Antarctic waters showed that enhanced cooperation will assist in gaining better knowledge of the ocean which can bring more safety to navigation. Air safety in Antarctica was widely discussed by the ATCM. A substantive exchange of information was held on sharing of science plans and studying impacts of climate change. Furthermore, the ATCM continued to discuss education and outreach activities, inspections, bioprospecting and general matters related to the operation of the Antarctic Treaty system.

The ATCM discussions focused also on Antarctic tourism and non-governmental activities. Enhanced cooperation among competent national authorities and the importance of knowledge and assessment of impacts of tourism and non-governmental activities in Antarctica was stressed. Extreme and novel activities in Antarctica remain a concern of the Parties.

Antarctic tourism was also dealt with by the CEP which endorsed recommendations arising from the Antarctic Tourism Workshop, held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, from 3 to 5 April. The CEP also followed up on discussions held on the margins of the Joint SCAR/CEP Workshop on Further Developing the Antarctic Protected Area System that was held in Prague, the Czech Republic, from 27 to 28 June. Views were exchanged by the CEP on conservation of fauna and flora, climate change implications for the environment and environmental impact assessment. Mitigating microplastic pollution in Antarctica was a particular point of attention. The Parties also assessed 11 Antarctic specially protected areas and two Historic Sites and Monuments in Antarctica.

Parties expressed their gratitude to the Czech government and their appreciation for the excellent facilities provided for the Meeting.

The next ATCM will be hosted in Finland, from 25 May to 4 June 2020.

attachments

Prague Declaration on the Occasion of the Sixtieth... 531 kB pdf (Adobe Acrobat document) Jul 11, 2019

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