Today the Antarctic Treaty is celebrating its 60th anniversary.
Every year since 2015 the UKPN have organised an outreach project – the Antarctica Day Flags Initiative – with the aim to spread the word about this success story for world-wide collaboration and to hope its message and values inspires future generations.
We asked participating schools to create a flag for Antarctica (as it is without an official flag) which they believe symbolises this continent.
The flags are then sent to us here at UKPN, who pair flags from schools with researchers and station staff that are heading down to Antarctica for the Austral Summer (November-January). The flags are then transported all the way to Antarctica with these “flag bearers”, and proof of travel with a certificate and photos of their journey will be sent to the schools upon the flag bearers’ return.
It is only two days left before the Antarctica day and today we want to share beautiful pictures of most amusing marine mammals by talented wildlife photographer Stas Zakharov: the Antarctica seals. There are 6 species of seals in Antarctica, including Antarctic Fur Seals, Leopard Seals, Ross Seals, Crabeater Seals and Weddell Seals, and these 6 species apparently make up the majority of all seals on earth.
Weddell seals Leptonychotes weddellii at the Lemaire Channel
Antarctic fur seal Arctocephalus gazella, South Shetland Islands
Today’s #AntarcticaDay2019_UKPNpost features history of exploration of the South Pole – fascinating and dramatic story of rivalry between the two expeditions.
“I am just going outside and I may be some time – he went out into the blizzard and we have not seen him since” From Scott’s diaries, 1912
Amundsen’s South Pole expedition. Image from: https://nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/8-5_amundsens_group_at_pole_flag_flying1.jpg?quality=80&strip=all&w=780
Beginning of the 20th century was an era of polar exploration also known as Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. One of the key figures in the world’s history of polar exploration undoubtedly is Roald Amundsen who first reached the South Pole by land in 1911 and also led the first expedition that first reached the North Pole by air in 1926 (on-board the airship Norge). Amundsen and Oscar Wisting were the first men to have reached both geographical poles. But behind this simple date stands complicated and dramatic history of numerous attempts to be the first to reach the center of either hemispheres, history that carried away lives of many noble researchers, including Robert Falcon Scott’s entire party who died on their return journey from the South Pole where they found Norwegian flag deployed 34 days before Scott’s expedition arrival. The rivalry between British and Norwegian expeditions, led by Scott and Amundsen respectively, is perhaps one of the most dramatic events in the history of discoveries.
Read more about the race to the pole, details and differences between the two expeditions at:
The Antarctic treaty is an international agreement that sets aside the entire Antarctica continent as a scientific preserve devoted to peace and science “forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes in the interest of mankind”. The treaty ensured freedom of scientific investigation and ban of military activities on the continent. It was the first nuclear-arms agreement and the first institution to govern all human activities in an international region with no sovereign jurisdiction. The treaty remains a unique and inspiring example of international collaboration and implementation of the common heritage of mankind principle.
Signed on December 1, 1959 in Washington, D.C., United States it came into force in 1961 and currently has 54 member parties 29 of which, including all 12 original signatories to the treaty, have voting status(the latest status list as of April 2019 is available via the link). The twelve countries that were the original signatories are: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. All member parties implement the articles of the Treaty through their national laws. The Antarctic Treaty System holds yearly Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM) and has an Antarctic Treaty Secretariat that facilitates and supports the ATCMs.
The treaty consists of 14 Articles and is available in English; French; Russian and Spanish.
Antarctica Day is celebrated on the 1st of December every year since 2010, when it was established to commemorate the signature of the Antarctic Treaty on 1st December 1959.
Antarctica Day was initiated by the Foundation for the Good Governance of International Spaces (www.ourspaces.org.uk) with aims of building global awareness of this landmark institution, and celebrating this milestone of peace in our civilization with hope and inspiration for future generations.
Antarctica Day 2019 will mark the 60th anniversary of the Antarctic treaty. To celebrate this we launch the #AntarcticaDay2019_UKPN media campaign with a series of historic overview posts, photos and insights from current fieldwork in Antarctica.