Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Who owns Antarctica?

Antarctica is defined as all the ice and land shelves south of 60 degrees S latitude. It is the only continent on earth with no native human population. No country owns Antarctica. Several nations have laid claim to parts of Antarctica as national territory but their claims have not been recognised by other nations. The Antarctic Treaty System or ATS came into force in 1961 and regulates international relations with respect to Antarctica. Twelve nations originally signed the treaty designating Antarctica as a scientific preserve with no military presence or activity other than for scientific research . To date, 47 nations have signed the treaty but only nations carrying out significant scientific research have voting rights. Canada signed the treaty in 1988 but has no decision making powers.

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