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The Antarctic Treaty
The Antarctic Treaty was drawn up by the 12 nations which were active in Antarctic research during the international geophysical year. These were Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the USA. These original signatories have consultative status and thus have the right to take part in shaping the measures to be implemented to promote the principles and objectives laid down in the treaty.
The treaty entered into force on 23 June 1961 and any nation that is a member of the United Nations (UN) may sign the Antarctic Treaty.
The cooperation within the framework of the treaty has been successful. It has protected the Antarctic from changes in a period when the international political climate has at times been unstable, forged the way for outstanding international scientific cooperation and laid the basis for global cooperation to protect a vulnerable environment.