HOST COUNTRY COMMUNIQUE
The XXXIX Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) was held in Santiago, Chile, from the 23 May to 1 June 2016. The Meeting was chaired by Ambassador Alfredo Labbé (Chile). The XIX Meeting of the Committee on Environmental Protection (CEP) was held from 23 – 27 May and was chaired by Ewan McIvor (Australia). The Meetings were organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile.
Over 340 participants from the Antarctic Treaty Parties, experts, representatives of civil society and international observers attended the annual Meeting. The Meeting was inaugurated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile, M. Heraldo Muñoz.
The following topics were discussed in the CEP: exchange of information on environmental matters, climate change implications for the Antarctic environment, area protection and management plans, conservation of Antarctic flora and fauna and environmental impact assessments. The CEP also considered the report of the Joint Meeting of the Committee on Environmental Protection and the Scientific Committee for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (SC-CAMLR), that was held in Punta Arenas, Chile, on the 19 and 20 May.
Discussions in the ATCM focused on the following issues: promoting scientific research and consolidating the culture of international collaboration, safety and operations in Antarctica, Antarctic inspections, tourism and non-govermental activities in the Antarctic Treaty area, information exchange between competent authorities, management and protection of historical sites and general matters concerning the operation of the Antarctic Treaty system. Education issues and outreach were also widely discussed.
The Meeting also held a Special Working Group to commemorate the 25th anniversary years of the signing of the Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty on Environmental Protection, which was inaugurated by the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile Edgardo Riveros. This working group had the structure of a symposium, with the participation of 11 panelists and was aimed at celebrating and discussing
achievements in relation to the Environmental Protocol's role as the framework for advancing environmental protection in Antarctica and to focus on ensuring that the Protocol was future-proof. The Meeting also adopted a resolution reaffirming the commitment of Parties to the mining ban under article 7 of the Protocol.
The ATCM adopted the Santiago Declaration on the twenty fifth anniversary of the signing of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. The declaration reaffirms the commitment of the Consultative Parties to the protection of the Antarctic environment and its associated and dependant ecosystems. The Santiago Declaration is attached to the present communique.
Parties expressed their gratitude to the Chilean government and their appreciation for the excellent facilities provided for the Meeting.
The next ATCM will be hosted by China in 2017.