Policy | VOL. 10, ISSUE 63, November-December 2010

Governing Antarctic: 1959 Antarctic Treaty: The legacy and the challenges

In the aftermath of the International Geophysical Year (IGY) in 1957-8, 12 participants led by the United States negotiated a treaty, which transformed the legal, political and scientific status of the frozen continent and surrounding Southern Ocean. Signed on 1st December 1959, the Treaty declared that “in the interests of all mankind”, Antarctic would be demilitarised and denuclearised. The disposal of radioactive materials was also prohibited. Science lay at the heart of the Treaty’s ethos regarding peaceful coexistence and the...

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