Twelve countries active in Antarctic scientific research signed The Antarctic Treaty December 1, 1959. The treaty came into force June 23, 1961, designating the entire continent as “a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science” and creating an unprecedented global partnership that today includes nearly 50 countries. The Treaty is augmented by the Environmental Protocol that sets standards for all human activities, and which aims to ensure that those activities are planned and conducted in a way that limits adverse impacts on the Antarctic environment.
Treaty Parties come together once a year at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM). As an invited Expert since 1992, IAATO participates in annual ATCMs, providing expert advice on tourism-related issues. In its role as representative for the Antarctic tourism industry, IAATO also submits Information Papers and contributes to discussions by the Antarctic Treaty party delegates.