For Oral Answer on : 30/09/2021
Question Number(s): 52 Question Reference(s): 46851/21
Department: Foreign Affairs
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his Department has reconsidered the ratification of the Antarctic Treaty System; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) comprises the Antarctic Treaty (1959), the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals 1972 (CCAS) and the Madrid Protocol on Environmental Protection 1991.
To date, fifty-four States have acceded to the Antarctic Treaty, made up of Consultative and Non Consultative parties. Consultative parties conduct scientific research in the Antarctic and have decision-making authority. Non-consultative parties do not participate in decision-making processes, but are bound to carry out the provisions of the Treaty and decisions taken within its framework, including, for example, the establishment of State jurisdiction over personnel and entities who are its nationals while in Antarctica.
Ireland was not an original signatory of the Antarctic Treaty or any of its Conventions, and has not since acceded. Accession to the Antarctic Treaty System would require the active involvement and participation by a number of Government Departments and necessitate a number of administrative, policy and legislative commitments, including the requirement for primary legislation.
The Department of Foreign Affairs intends to undertake an assessment in the coming months, to establish the nature and extent of these commitments, how they would align with Government priorities, the potential for these commitments to develop over time, and the legislative and other steps that would be required should a decision be taken to accede to the ATS.