Forever Declaration

Declaration on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the Antarctic Treaty Presented for Signature on 1 December 2009 At the Antarctic Treaty Summit Held in Washington, DC

The Antarctic Treaty Summit, consisting of a group of people - as part of civil society - have adopted the following Declaration in the city where the Antarctic Treaty was signed on this day 50 years ago by the original 12 Signatory States;

Recognising that the establishment of lasting peace on Earth represents the primary condition for the survival of humankind and considering that the Antarctic Treaty has provided the means and the inspiration to ensure peace, security, environmental protection and international co-operation in the Antarctic region.

Acknowledging that increased commitment to the objectives and principles of the Treaty has been demonstrated by its increased membership to 47 States Parties that together represent approximately two-thirds of the world's population;

Aware that the template and visionary nature of the Antarctic Treaty have been employed to good effect in other treaties seeking to promote international co-operation;

Noting the indefinite nature of the Antarctic Treaty and that Antarctica should remain a natural reserve forever devoted to peace and science;

Bearing in mind the fundamental principles of international law set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, and that the Antarctic Treaty Parties have pledged that:

Noting that the environmental principles and mechanisms developed for the protection of Antarctica and its dependent and associated ecosystems have inspired the development of international environmental law at large and that such a role of the Antarctic legal regime should continue to be developed progressively;

Convinced that continued scientific research in Antarctica and the effective dissemination of its results are vital to our understanding of the Earth's systems, especially in relation to climate change, and thus is crucial to the interest of all humankind;


Reiterates the view that Antarctica should remain a continent devoted to international co-operation, the pursuit of scientific endeavour, and that it should be used exclusively for peaceful purposes;

Believes that the pristine nature of Antarctica as well as its aesthetic value will provide inspiration to present and future generations;

Affirms that the Antarctic Treaty, strengthened by the constituents of the Antarctic Treaty System, remains the effective legal means to provide for the international governance of the continent and its surrounding waters;

Encourages all States with an interest in the future of Antarctica to accede to the Antarctic Treaty and its associated instruments, thereby strengthening international commitment to it;

Calls on all States to align themselves with the fundamental principles of peace and international co-operation, including importantly co-operation through science and to recognise that such principles are the cornerstones that guide activities in Antarctica;

Further calls on all States to continue to improve and broaden co-operation in Antarctica taking into consideration that the interests of the international community are best served through such means;

Supports the efforts of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research: to encourage scientific research in Antarctica which at the same time meets the requirements of excellence and relevance; to continue to foster co-operation amongst the international scientific community; and to facilitate assistance for those with limited resources and experience;

Urges all States, organizations and individuals to eliminate impacts such as climate change, pollution or over-fishing that stem from outside the Antarctic Treaty area but which are harmful to the Antarctic environment;

Encourages all States to draw on the lessons learned from the Antarctic experience in creating effective governance systems for spaces beyond national jurisdictions;

Calls on all States in co-operation with the relevant non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations, to continue to improve and broaden co-operation in Antarctica recognizing that the interest of the international community are best served through such means, and urges that far-sighted, innovative and imaginative policies be developed to ensure that activities in Antarctica continue to be undertaken with the view to benefit humankind.

Encourages other like-minded people to support this Declaration.

This Declaration shall be distributed widely and shall be communicated by the coordinator of the Antarctic Treaty Summit to the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the governments of all States Parties to the Antarctic Treaty.