The Antarctic Treaty
Antarctica is a unique environment, where visitors are required to adhere to strict environment management requirements. It is a land that belongs to no single country. Instead it is used for peaceful and scientific purposes by a number of different countries, seven of which have research bases there, including South Africa.
In 1959, South Africa was one of 12 original signatories to the Antarctic Treaty. Several other countries have since joined the Treaty.
It is considered the mot successful treaty of its kind and formed the basis of accords later proposed for space, the moon and planetary exploration. The three basic principles of the Treaty are:
- The continent may be used for peaceful purposes only.
- Scientific investigation and cooperation is promoted.
- Territorial claims are placed on hold.
The Statement of Intent between the Southern Rim Gateway Cities to the Antarctic: Ushuaia, city of Argentina; Punta Arenas, city of Chile; Christchurch, city of New Zealand and Hobart, city of Australia and Cape Town, city of South Africa.
The statement is a commitment to a joint exploration into the benefits of academic and best practice exchange among the five cities. It was signed on 25 September 2009 in Christchurch City. The three basic principles of the Statement of Intent are:
- The five participants will carry out, in accordance with the principles of equality and mutual benefit, a full exploration of potential exchanges in the areas of education, work force development, tourism and economic development to promote common prosperity and city advancement.
- Regular contacts will be maintained between the identified project leader(s) and relevant Departments to facilitate consultations on the exchanges and cooperation as well as matters of concern.
- This Statement of Intent will come in to effect from this date of signature. It will be valid for a period of 18 months. It is intended that, should all participants make favourable findings, an Arrangement will be signed prior to the expiry date.