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Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty on
Environmental Protection

The Antarctic Treaty System is a network of international instruments including the Antarctic Treaty itself and several subsequent treaties adopted on the basis of the Antarctic Treaty.

The Antarctic Treaty was signed 1 December 1959 in Washington, D.C., and entered into force 23 June 1961. Its objective is "to ensure that Antarctica is used for peaceful purposes, for international cooperation in scientific research, and does not become the scene or object of international discord."

This 1991 Protocol is a statement of the environmental principles governing the conduct of States Parties in relation to the Antarctic continent.

Its objectives are "to reaffirm the status of the Antarctica as a special conservation area, and to enhance the framework for the protection of the Antarctic environment with its dependent and associated ecosystems".

It aims to protect the Antarctic environment and dependent and associated ecosystems, and preserve the intrinsic value of Antarctica – its aesthetic values as well as its status as a place of research.

This Protocol was adopted on 3 October 1991 in Madrid, Spain, and entered into force in 1998.

Subsequent treaties include:
Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (CCAS)
Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)

Related instruments include:
Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities [offsite]
Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctic Fauna and Flora [offsite]
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL)

Read the full text of the protocol [offsite]