THE CONVERSATION: The year 2011 marked the 50th year of the Antarctic Treaty, a visionary document that for the first time set out a vision for an entire continent based on peace, science and co-operation. Dr Tony Press looks at how it's holding up today.
The Antarctic Treaty covers a huge sector of the globe – the entire Antarctic continent and its surrounding waters below 60 degrees South.
By making this area a demilitarised zone, by defusing global superpower tensions, and by setting aside disputes over sovereignty in the Antarctic, the Treaty provides a zone of peace and cooperation in a region close, and strategically important, to Australia.
The Treaty also provides an effective framework for conducting globally significant science important to the future of the planet.