Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting 6-17 June 2005

Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting 6-17 June

Stockholm ATCM over

The two-week-long meeting of Antarctic Treaty parties (the XXVIII ATCM - Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting) ended on 17 June in Stockholm. Major successes were achieved in several areas.

At a concluding press conference Hans Corell, the Chair of the Stockholm ATCM, placed particular stress on the breakthrough in the thirteen-year-long negotiations on liability rules in the event of environmental emergencies in Antarctica - an issue that has not been subject to international regulation up to now.

Tony Press, Chair of the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP), reported on progress in the environmental field and the content of the extensive environmental report.

Other central issues dealt with at the meeting were taken up at the press conference. These include action to manage the increasing flow of tourists to Antarctica (the number of visitors in the most recent season was about 30 000) and the question of biological prospecting. Sweden would have liked a deeper discussion of this issue, and the meeting adopted a joint proposal from Sweden and New Zealand to have further consideration of the issue at coming meetings of the Antarctic Treaty parties. A final report will be produced and published by the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat in Buenos Aires.

Visit by Stockholm County Governor Mats Hellström

A few hours before the close of the Stockholm ATCM, County Governor Mats Hellström visited the meeting to congratulate delegates on the results achieved during their two weeks of negotiations. In his speech Governor Hellström pointed to the biodiversity in the Stockholm region, which arose when glaciers receded creating 30 000 islands and 800 lakes in the area. In fact, Stockholm has a lot in common with Antarctica, Hellström said, pointing to the action to promote environmentally sustainable development and ecological cycles used in planning in both Stockholm and Antarctica.

Marie Jacobsson, Hans Corell and Don MacKay
Marie Jacobsson, Hans Corell and Don MacKay

Liability rules for environmental emergencies in Antarctica adopted in Stockholm

After almost thirteen years of negotiations, the Antarctic Treaty parties have agreed on liability rules in the event of an environmental emergency in Antarctica. The decision was taken at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in Stockholm.

Yves Frenot, Vice Chair, Tony Press, Chair and Anna Carin Thomér, Vice Chair in the CEP

Strategy for future environmental challenges in Antarctica

At its meeting in Stockholm the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) of the Antarctic Treaty parties has agreed to appoint a steering group for future environmental challenges in Antarctica. This work will result in a strategy.

"We need a strategy for how we can secure the environmentally sustainable management of Antarctica. The strategy will deal with how we can manage future environmental challenges in Antarctica both in the short and in the long term," says Minister for the Environment Lena Sommestad.

The steering group will also identify the future role and responsibilities of the CEP. Work on the strategy will be prepared by a steering group ahead of the CEP meeting in the United Kingdom next year. The aim is to achieve more strategic, effective and sustainable work on the environment in Antarctica.

The environmental report and the results of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) in Stockholm will be presented at a press conference on Friday 17 June at the National Museum of Science and Technology.

Meeting

Negotiations at half-time

The second and final week of negotiations now remains before the Stockholm meeting of the Antarctic Treaty parties comes to an end on 17 June. The Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) has completed its environmental negotiations and the final report will be adopted formally this week. The environmental report will thus become public.

During the first week of the conference, good progress was made in the negotiations on liability in the event of environmental accidents in Antarctica. The concluding round of negotiations will now determine whether the parties are able to agree on a special Stockholm Protocol. If this were the case, such a protocol would meant an end to more than 13 years of negotiations in this area.

The agenda for the last week of negotiations also includes the ever-increasing amount of tourism to Antarctica, the complicated issue of bioprospecting, research - including preparations for the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007/2008 - and issues concerning the work programme and resources for the international Antarctic Secretariat in Buenos Aires.

ATCM Chair Hans Corell and His Majesty King Carl Gustaf at the
ATCM Chair Hans Corell and His Majesty King Carl Gustaf at the "Magic Planet"

Conference Diary - The ATCM in Texts and Pictures

Under the headline "Conference Diary: Texts and Pics" the Swedish Antarctic Secretariat will report continuously from the conference - from 6 June through 17 June.

Picture from the opening of the Antarctic meeting
Lena Sommestad, Laila Freivalds and Hans Corell at the opening of the meeting.

Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting Opened

Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Laila Freivalds opened the 28th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) on Sweden's National Day, 6 June, at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Djurgården in Stockholm. The meeting also decided that Ambassador Hans Corell should be the the Chairman.

 Minister for the Environment Lena Sommestad in Antarctica, February 2005
Minister for the Environment Lena Sommestad in Antarctica, February 2005

Minister for the Environment Lena Sommestad opened the meeting of the Committee for Environmental Protection

On 6-10 June the Antarctic Treaty's environmental committee - the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) will also meet within the framework of the conference. The CEP meeting was opened by Minister for the Environment Lena Sommestad on 6 June.

Global issues on the agenda

Issues dealing with environment and climate change as well as Antarcticas importance to the global environment will be in focus during both weeks of the meeting. In addition, major efforts will be made to conclude negotiations on a special protocol for regulating issues of responsibility, insurance and damages for activities in Antarctica should incidents such as major accidents, oil disasters or the like occur. Issues on biological prospecting in Antarctica, research as well as questions pertaining to the ever increasing tourism in the area are other important issues on the agenda for the Stockholm meeting. Read more about the Conference Agenda and Work Schedule here

Photo of conference poster

Sweden to host international conference on the Antarctic

More than 300 researchers, experts and representatives for some 50 governments and international organisations will meet in Stockholm for two weeks this summer. During the period 6-17 June they will take part in an annual meeting with the parties who signed the Antarctic Treaty, which guarantees that the continent is used for peaceful purposes. This is the first time that Sweden will chair the meeting since becoming a full member of the Antarctic Treaty 21 years ago.

The meeting in Stockholm will be the 28th international conference on the Antarctic, which in English one of the four official conference languages is designated XXVIII ATCM (Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting). During the two weeks of the meeting, internal negotiations will be held in a number of areas. Representatives of the media will be given the opportunity to attend a limited number of activities during the conference.

Kontakta oss

ATCM 2005 postal SE-103 39 Stockholm, Sweden
email to ATCM 2005

Media

A limited part of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) was open to the media.

Museums together

The ATCM will be held in the Museum Park on Djurgården, where three museums operate within a radius of a couple of hundred metres.