Prime Minister Ardern's address to the conference celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Madrid Protocol

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

President Sánchez,

Chancellor Merkel, President Macron, Prime Minister Morrison,

Distinguished Ministers, honoured guests, and Antarctic experts,

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

Thank you to the Government of Spain for organising and leading this important Conference to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Madrid Protocol.

We have great cause to celebrate.

60 years ago, the Antarctic Treaty entered into force.

That such a big part of the planet is set aside forever to be used exclusively as a place for peace, science, and international cooperation is, quite simply, a triumph of conservation and international diplomacy.

40 years ago, we, the Antarctic Treaty Parties, recognised the importance of protecting the seas around Antarctica, and established a new Convention: CCAMLR [pron. Cam-a-Lar].

CCAMLR’s conservation foundation, precautionary management and marine protection work are unique and world-leading.

And of course we are here to celebrate that 30 years ago, here in Madrid, we were convinced of the need to strengthen the Antarctic Treaty System.

We committed ourselves to the comprehensive protection of Antarctica, and designated it as a natural reserve devoted to peace and science.

The Madrid Protocol is central to the Antarctic Treaty System, and of fundamental importance to the world.

Continuing to comprehensively protect Antarctica, its ecosystems, wilderness, and its role in regulating our global climate is in our shared interests.

I want to acknowledge the negotiators, scientists, experts and the very important role of civil society in shaping the Madrid Protocol 30 years ago.

I also want to acknowledge those who continue to work to implement the Protocol today, many of whom are at this conference, and the important work of the Committee for Environmental Protection.

We need to continue to work together, at pace, using all of the tools in our tool box if we are to address the combined global crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, and if we are to ensure that our work in Antarctica continues to be world-leading.

We need all of our diplomatic efforts to promote and protect the Antarctic Treaty System.

We need Antarctic research to inform our decisions, to understand past and future climates, and to understand the implications of our actions on Antarctica’s ice and ecosystems.

We need to designate representative networks of marine and terrestrial protected areas in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

And we need to make sure that increasing human activity in Antarctica does not put pressure on Antarctica’s status as a natural reserve.

As I said at the outset, we have great cause to celebrate. But we also have great cause to act, and to strengthen our efforts to protect Antarctica’s very special status as a natural reserve. I want to underscore Aotearoa New Zealand’s full and enduring commitment to the Madrid Protocol.

We look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that the Antarctic Treaty System protects Antarctica over the next 60 years, and beyond.

Toitū te marae a Tāne-Mahuta

Toitū marae a Tangaroa

Toitū te tangata.

If the land is well and the sea is well, the people will thrive.


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