What's in the Antarctic Treaty?

The original Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959, consisted of only fourteen sections. These stated: 

  • That Antarctica should only be used for peaceful purposes with all military activity (including the testing of weapons) prohibited, except in support of science or peaceful purposes.
  • That freedom of scientific investigation and cooperation was to continue as it had during the IGY.
  • That signatories should share information regarding planned scientific expeditions, and exchange scientific personnel and results.
  • That by signing the Treaty no party renounced their territorial claims or rights to make one, but that whilst in effect no new claims can be made and no activity undertaken supports any claim.
  • That nuclear explosions and the disposal of radioactive waste material are prohibited.
  • That the Treaty applies to the area of 60°S, including all ice shelves.
  • That each member has the right to observe and carry out inspections of all areas of Antarctica.
  • That signatories will meet regularly to exchange information, consult, and recommend further measures.
  • That any disputes between signatories will be resolved peacefully, or referred to the International Court of Justice.
  • That each member should exert appropriate efforts to try and ensure no one engages in any activity in Antarctica contrary to the principles or purposes of the Treaty.
  • That the Treaty can be modified or amended by unanimous agreement of the signatories.
  • That the Treaty is open to other states which are members of the United Nations or who are invited to sign by all parties.

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We love to talk about the important heritage work that we do, telling the story of life in Antarctica both past and present. If you are interested in running a story about us, would like to arrange an interview, use our images or films, or want to discuss an opportunity to collaborate then get in touch.

For all press enquiries, please contact ukaht@89up.org or +44 (0) 203 411 28 89. For urgent press enquires out of office hours, please call +44 (0) 203 2 89 89 01.