The 42nd Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM XLII) and the 22nd Meeting of the Environmental Protection Committee (CEP XXII) took place in Prague, Czech Republic, between 01 and 11 July 2019. This event of the State Representatives signatories to the Antarctic Treaty took place under the auspices of the 60th anniversary of the signing of this treaty which covers all activities in Antarctica and the South Ocean.

The Romanian delegation was led by Dr. Manuela Elisabeta SIDOROFF as National Contact Point at ATCM, Vice President of CNCA and Director General of the National Institute for Research and Development of Biological Sciences (INCDSB).

The ATCM XLII meeting was officially opened on July 2, 2019. On behalf of the host government, the head of the host country secretariat, Dr. Pavel Kapler, opened the meeting and proposed Martin Smolek’s candidacy as chairman of ATCM XLII, a proposal that was accepted.

The Environmental Protection Committee (CEP XXI) met on July 1-5, 2019.

Participants from 54 countries, Parties to the Antarctic Treaty, observers and experts from international organizations gathered at the annual meeting.

Head of Delegations at ATCM XLII

Photo: Head of Delegations at ATCM XLII

The composition of the Romanian delegation, the objectives of the delegation, etc., were approved by Memorandum 22 / 24.06.2019 proposed by the President of the National Commission for Antarctic Research of the Romanian Academy, endorsed by the CNCA coordinator within the Romanian Academy – Acad. Victor Voicu and by the Minister of Foreign Dipl. Teodor Melescanu.

Carmen Burlacu

Photo: His Excellency Carmen Burlacu, Ambassador of Romania in the Czech Republic and Dr. Manuela Elisabeta Sidoroff

At ATCM XLII, the participating representatives discussed the subjects included in the agenda, as: Antarctic Treaty Operation (Report of the Parties, Observers and Experts, CEP Report 22, General and Secretarial and Financial Issues, Biological Prospecting in Antarctica, Information Exchange, Strategic Multi-Annual Work Plan, Antarctic Treaty and Environmental Protocol Inspections, Scientific Issues, Future Scientific Sharing, Scientific Collaboration and Facilities, Implications of Climate Change for the Management of Areas under the Antarctic Treaty, Tourism and Non-Governmental Activities in areas under the jurisdiction of the Antarctic Treaty.

Romania’s objectives were focused on the following directions:

  • Participation, as a non-consultative part, of the ATCM XLII works that were conducted in accordance with the agenda of the meeting and where measures, resolutions, decisions and documents of strategic importance for ATCM (the Multi-Annual Strategic Work Plan);
  • Presentation of the four informative documents in the form of IP (Informative Papers);
  • Meetings with current and potential partners.

With regard to Biological Prospecting in Antarctica, many parties have recalled previous ATCM resolutions reaffirming that the Antarctic Treaty System is the appropriate framework for managing the collection of biological material in the Antarctic Treaty area and for examining its use.

At this point on the agenda, was presented and considered IP 146 rev. 1 “Biological Prospection in Antarctica BY the ROICE – Romania Team”, IP mentioned in the Final Report.

This paper presented the results of three scientific expeditions in West Antarctica, King George Island, and Barton Peninsula, conducted by the National Institute of Research & Development for Biological Sciences – ROICE Team together with the researchers of the Korean Polar Research Institute (KOPRI).

At the same time, the following IPs of Romania were presented and mentioned in the Final Report:

  • Through IP 162 “Recent Romanian Antarctic Education and Outreach Activities (Romania)”, there were mentioned the many activities carried out in Romania on education and outreach, including international collaborations;
  • Romania presented IP 137 rev. 1 ”Cooperation between Romania and the Republic of Korea – Antarctic Scientific Research and Logistics Facilities 2015-2019”, which highlighted the successful collaboration between Romania and the Republic of Korea following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2015;
  • Also was presented IP 161 “Cooperation between Romania and Australia in Antarctica”, which reported that it has celebrated other Antarctic milestones such as 50 years of cooperation with Australia.

At the end of the works, was adopted the “Prague Declaration on the Occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty”.