For the past 50 years, the Antarctic Treaty has provided a firm foundation of international cooperation to successfully manage nearly ten percent of the Earth for “peaceful purposes only… on the basis of freedom of scientific investigation in Antarctica as applied during the International Geophysical Year.” In other words, our world has always agreed to take care of Antarctica and collaborate on the management of the resource. Some of the first countries to sign the treaty included Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Union of South Africa, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States — and now of the eve of its 50th anniversary the Antarctic Treaty engages 47 nations, representing nearly 90% of humankind.
The Smithsonian Institution is looking to the dive industry to help them champion the cause of protecting the polar environment. Protection of coral reefs for future generations has been a great example of the dive industry coming together with business and NGO’s to drive education and increase awareness globally. It is with this good model in mind that the Smithsonian Institution sets its sights for protecting the polar environment. Polar biodiversity and the need for protection of habitat and species is high on their agenda, with a specific focus on endemic fauna such as reindeer, Greenland sharks, walrus, beluga, ring seals, harp seals and many others.
In Antarctica, nations have been cooperating under the common authority of the Antarctic Treaty which underscores a universal common interest of all that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty and to strategically plan for the future a summit has been planned for November 30 through December 03 2009.
The Antarctic Treaty Summit will provide a unique international, interdisciplinary and inclusive forum for scientists, legislators, administrators, lawyers, historians, educators, executives, students and other members of civil society to openly discuss, collaborate and plan for the future of this unique polar diving environment.
Learn more or register to attend here:
— Francesca Koe