Sixty years ago, in 1961 and at the height of the Cold War, the Antarctic Treaty came into force designating Antarctica for peace and science for all humanity. Today, as the continent suffers from global warming, and as relations appear strained and intractable, Antarctica could again be the venue of renewed multilateralism led by the EU.
The EU is proposing the largest act of ocean protection, with designation of two large-scale marine protected areas (MPA) in the Southern Ocean, the East Antarctic and the Weddell Sea, covering over three million square kilometres. Years of scientific and diplomatic effort have been invested in securing consensus from the members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). However, two members, China and Russia continue to block consensus agreement.
Designation would be a fitting celebration of Antarctic multilateralism, but also of decisive action in the lead up to the climate and biodiversity COPs. It would also be a powerful demonstration of the EU's Biodiversity Strategy 2030 and of the EU's International Ocean Governance agenda. The EU can do this, to find out how, join us on June 4th at 14:00 CET.