Antarctica, the world’s southernmost landmass spans 14.2 million square kilometres of which only 0.18 percent of this continent is ice free. The Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) is a set of documents which aim to ensure continued peace in the Antarctic, to encourage scientific co-operation, and preserve its unique natural environment. The ATS comprises of the Antarctic Treaty, the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (also known as the Madrid Protocol), the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (CCAS) and the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty regulations. The Antarctic Treaty was agreed upon in 1959 and came into effect in 1961.
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