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Agreement on the protection of the Antarctic environment enters into force

Nairobi, 14 January 1998 - The Madrid Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty enters into force today, following ratification by the 26 Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties.

"The commitment of the Contracting Parties to the Madrid Protocol is very important as Antarctica plays a critical role in the global environmental system", said Reuben Olembo, Assistant Secretary-General and Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), congratulating the parties to the agreement. "Major processes of interaction between the atmosphere, ocean, ice and biota affect the entire global system through feedbacks, biogeochemical cycles, circulation patterns, transport of energy, and changes in ice mass balance", he said.

The Madrid Protocol aims at furthering the environmental objectives of the Antarctic Treaty System by designating Antarctica as a "natural reserve, devoted to peace and science", and by regulating human activities therein to protect the Antarctic environment and its dependent and associated ecosystems.

UNEP hopes that the further development of the Madrid Protocol, in particular, the elaboration of its Annex V on Liability, will continue diligently and that the commitment of the Contracting Parties to the protection of the environment will be soon translated into reinforced actions to address the main environmental issues, including the overexploitation of fish stocks in the Southern Ocean.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Anthony Edwards
Senior Adviser and Chief,
Human Health and Well-Being Unit
P.O. Box 30552
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: +254-2-623787
Fax: +254-2-623846

Mr. Tore Brevik
Information and Public Affairs
P.O. Box 30552
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: +254-2-623292
Fax: +254-2-623927

UNEP News Release 1998/1

Tuesday 13 Jan 1998
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