The Conversation

Explainer: Keeping conflict on ice with the Antarctic Treaty

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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.

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