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The United States has updated its Antarctic policy: more environmental protection and scientific research

The United States has updated its Antarctic policy: more environmental protection and scientific research

US President Joe Biden. EFE/EPA/Al Drago/Paul

USA President, Joe BidenOn Friday, the new National Security Memorandum on Antarctica was signed, which reaffirms the United States’ commitment to protecting the region for its sovereignty. Environmental importance He indicated that he would look Expanding its fleet of icebreakers to achieve its goals.

The new memorandum, which sets out US policy in the region, replaces the one that has been in effect so far and was drafted in 1994 during the presidency of Bill Clinton (1993-2001).

The White House indicated in a statement that the United States wants this new memorandum Environmental protection in Antarcticaand maintain the region as a center for scientific reseachand the preservation of the continent as a region Peaceful international cooperation And make sure Preserving the ecosystem.

Washington stressed in a statement that NATO “was able to maintain peace in the Antarctic region by freezing conflicting territorial claims and prohibiting military activities that do not support scientific research or any other peaceful purpose, while giving priority to science and the environment.” Protecting commercial interests, banning mining for non-scientific purposes, and encouraging transparency and cooperation.

Members of the US Coast Guard work on a ship used as an icebreaker (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

“The United States, represented by the Department of State in ATS bodies, will work with international partners through the ATS to advance peace and science in the region, and enhance international cooperation while protecting U.S. national interests,” the letter added. From the White House.

The document states that to ensure the effectiveness of the current system governing Antarctica, “the United States will continue to use all available tools, Including the expansion of the polar icebreaker fleet“.

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With this new memorandum, the United States refers to four pillars. “Protecting the relatively pristine environment of the Antarctic region and its associated ecosystems; preserving and pursuing unique opportunities for scientific research and understanding of Antarctica’s relationship to global environmental change; preserving the Antarctic region as an area of ​​international cooperation dedicated exclusively to peaceful purposes; and ensuring the protection and conservation of living resources and ecosystems in Antarctica region.

The United States, which has three research stations in Antarctica, indicated that, thanks to the treaty system that governs the region, it was able to conduct “15 surprise inspections of facilities” located on the continent.

The White House said: “We remain vigilant against the actions of states that could threaten the national interests of the United States by causing international disputes in the Antarctic region.”

The signing of the memorandum comes days before the start of the forty-sixth consultative meeting for the Antarctic Treaty in India next May 20, which will be attended by the 12 countries that signed the agreement in 1959 (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States). United States and Russia) along with dozens of other countries.