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Antarctica science and diplomacy

Published Thursday, January 23, 2020

A Westminster Hall debate on ‘Antarctica science and diplomacy’ has been scheduled for Tuesday 28 January 2020, from 2.30-4:00pm. The debate has been initiated by James Gray MP.

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Several countries have established research stations in Antarctica, some of whom have made territorial claims. This includes the UK. The Antarctic Treaty entered into force 1961, signed by 12 countries. It prohibits new or expanded territorial claims in Antarctica.  Several measures agreed by its signatories are designed to protect the Antarctic environment and wildlife. This includes a protocol prohibiting any activity relating to mineral resources, other than scientific research.  Fishing has also been banned in much of Antarctica. Measures agreed in recent years have sought to limit tourist activity and improve maritime safety. 

Recent research has highlighted the depletion of the ice sheets in Antarctica. Concerns over depletion of the ozone layer have however abated following the implementation of a 1987 protocol.

Commons Debate packs CDP-2020-0010

Authors: Nigel Walker; Stefano Fella

Topics: Defence policy, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, International law, Science

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