Media Note
Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 1, 2009


32nd Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting Convenes in Baltimore, April 6-17


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will host the first-ever joint session of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting and the Arctic Council on April 6, 2009, bringing together the two most important bodies involved with diplomacy at the Poles. This event will mark the beginning of the 32nd Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, which is being hosted by the United States, in Baltimore, Maryland, April 6-17, 2009.

The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting will be attended by nearly 400 diplomats, Antarctic program managers and logistics experts, and polar scientists from 47 countries, including 28 Consultative Parties with a scientific presence in the Antarctic, to discuss several issues, including environmental protection, the advancement of science, and the management of tourism. This year’s meeting occurs during the 50th anniversary year of the signing of the Antarctic Treaty, and at the conclusion of the 2007-2009 International Polar Year.

Ministers and other high-ranking officials will discuss accomplishments of the International Polar Year, an international and interdisciplinary undertaking that has mobilized thousands of researchers from more than 60 countries, to work on more than 160 projects in the Polar Regions. U.S. participation in International Polar Year included research conducted by a range of federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Geological Survey, among others.

This observance of the 50th anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty, which was signed in Washington, D.C., will note its historic significance as the first modern multilateral arms control treaty. The accord provides that Antarctica is to be used for peaceful purposes only and guarantees freedom of scientific investigation. The Treaty was championed by the United States during the Cold War and is widely considered to be one of the most successful treaty regimes ever established. U.S. initiatives at the 32nd ATCM in Baltimore will include proposals to formally limit the size of vessels that can land passengers in Antarctica and to establish higher standards for the use of lifeboats aboard tourist vessels that visit Antarctica.

More information on IPY and polar science being undertaken by the United States can be found at www.IPY.gov and more information about the ATCM and about U.S. Antarctic policy is available at www.atcm2009.gov.



PRN: 2009/276