Legislative instrument details: Madrid Protocol

Legal name Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty
Short name Madrid Protocol
CELEX reference
Identification number
Issued by Committee for Environmental Protection
URL to issuer http://cep.ats.aq/cep/index.shtm
Parent legislative instrument
Valid from 14/01/1998
Abstract The Madrid Protocol includes detailed provisions for environmental co-operation in Antarctica, and it draws on and improves the environmental protection measures previously agreed by the Treaty Parties, and places them in a legally binding regime. Through the Protocol, the Parties commit themselves to a comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment and dependent and associated ecosystems, emphasising the Antarctic Treaty's designation of Antarctica as a natural reserve dedicated to peace and science. The protection of the Antarctic environment is to be fundamental consideration in the planning and conduct of all human activities in Antarctica. This includes protection of Antarctica's intrinsic value (including wilderness and aesthetic values) and its value as an area for the conduct of scientific research (especially research essential to understanding the global environment). The environmental principles in the Protocol also include requirements for prior assessment of the environmental impacts of all activities and regular and effective monitoring to assess predicted impacts and to detect unforeseen impacts. Through the Protocol the Parties have agreed to prohibit any mineral resource activities for a period of 50 years after the Protocol came into force. In addition to the Protocol itself, five Annexes have been drawn up: Annex I - Environmental Impact Assessment; Annex II - Conservation of Antarctic Fauna and Flora; Annex III - Waste disposal and waste management; Annex IV - Prevention of marine pollution; and Annex V: Area protection and management.
Reporting framework
Reporting obligations
DG Env review of reporting theme Nature and Biodiversity
Geographic scope Antarctic
Comments The Antarctic Treaty was adopted in 1959 and has the following objectives: to demilitarise Antarctica, to establish it as a zone free of nuclear tests and the disposal of radioactive waste, and to ensure that it is used for peaceful purposes only; to promote international scientific co-operation in Antarctica; and, to set aside disputes over territorial sovereignty. Five separate international agreements have subsequently been negotiated under its auspices: Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctic Fauna and Flora (1964); Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (1972); Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (1980); Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities (1988); and Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (1991). Collectively they are known as the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS).
EC entry into force 14/01/1998
EC accession
Convention secretariat Secretariat to the Commission on Environmental Protection