June 22, 2015
In 1959, 12 countries with scientists active in and around Antarctica signed the Antarctic Treaty, which committed all signatories to respecting the continent as a place of peace and science. Today, 52 nations are party to the treaty, and from June 1 to 10 they gathered in Sofia, Bulgaria, for the annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) to discuss issues vital to Antarctic land conservation.
Members of Pew’s global penguin conservation campaign were in attendance, along with representatives from the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, an international network of nongovernmental organizations committed to the conservation of the continent and its surrounding waters.
Each year at the ATCM, various issues related to Antarctica’s future are discussed, including the effects of tourism, ongoing scientific research, and climate change. But at this year’s meeting, a meaningful new action was taken: Treaty members formally recognized BirdLife International’s newly released Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Antarctica.