February 21st, 2019
“This year, we commemorate 116 years of uninterrupted presence of Argentina in the Antarctic Continent. Since then, “Antarctic Argentina” is strengthened through the exercise of a national vocation developed on the basis of the scientific activity by the Argentine Antarctic Institute, the logistic deployment by our Armed Forces and the specialized diplomacy of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs”, Minister of Foreign Affairs Felipe Solá expressed when presiding over the Argentine Antarctica Day ceremony at Palacio San Martín.
“These three actors sustain our sovereign claim in Antarctica and allow us to have a central role in the Antarctic Treaty System. Scientific activity if the core of Argentina’s Antarctic activity. Researchers of the Argentine Antarctic Institute, together with colleagues from CONICET, national science and technology institutes and academic centers develop projects on glaciology, paleontology, bioremediation, climate change and marine science, among others. We will try to strengthen our scientific activity. We will provide the Argentine Antarctic Institute the structure it deserves, with a research council as a special advisor, to strengthen its work”, the Minister said.
With the presence of Minister of Defense, Agustín Rossi, the Secretaty of Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic, Daniel Filmus, the Director of the Argentine Antarctic Institute, Walter Mac Cormack, the Rector of the University of Tierra del Fuego, Juan José Castelucci, Group Captain Videla and Colonel Montenegro -of the Joint Antarctic Command-, diplomatic representatives of the parties to the Antarctic Treaty, officials of the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat, Solá underlined the “restless work of women and men of our Armed Forces, who ensure the logistic support to Argentina’s science in Antarctica and in Antarctic Stations, through the deployment of ships, airplanes, vehicles and other means provided by military logistics”.
The Minister recognized “diplomats who actively represent our country in the Antarctic Treaty fora and who participate in drawing up the future agenda for the Antarctic Continent while defending Argentina’s interests. More than 60 years from its signature, the Antarctic Treaty endures and the fundamental instrument for consolidating peace, scientific cooperation and preservation of the Antarctic environment; but it also duly safeguards our sovereign rights over the Argentine Antarctic Territory, that is why the Argentine Antarctic policy demands a very intense, coherent and continuous foreign action”.
While greeting Orcadas, Carlini, Marambio and Esperanza Stations, which followed the ceremony via videoconference, Solá underscored “Argentina’s presence in Antarctica is the oldest, dating back from 22 February 1904, when the meteorological observatory that would become Orcadas Station was established. This milestone inaugurated an epic era of Antarctic expeditions lead by true heroes -among whom I would like to mention General Jorge Leal- and that would develop in the building of our Stations and the development of scientific activity. Today, we are honored by the presence of family members of those visionary protagonists of the more than one century of heroic deeds”.
Minister Solá added “in a short while the Congress will receive fundamental draft laws for our development in the South Atlantic; one of them aims at recognizing the new limits of Argentina’s continental shelf, aiming at strengthening our sovereign presence, our economic activity and memory with concrete facts, for the heroes of Malvinas 1982 and for others that lost their lives in Antarctica. May policies never betray those who offered their lives”.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs highlighted that since 2004, Buenos Aires is the seat of the Executive Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty; “we are proud of being their host, and the MFA will continue to facilitate their activities in order to assist the Antarctic Treaty System and the 54 Treaty Parties.
He also made a special reference to “the Province of Tierra del Fuego and the city of Ushuaia, the closest Gateway City to Antarctica -only 1000 km from the Antarctic Peninsula; that is why we aim at turning Ushuaia in the Antarctic logistic center it deserves to be, with the objective of providing all services the international Antarctic community needs”.
He also emphasized the recent creation of the Secretariat of Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a view to having an active and integral presence, and strengthen the legitimacy of our sovereignty claim and defend our natural resources”, celebrating it is led by Daniel Filmus, a man “with Antarctic vocation, ideas, knowledge and respect for what was done before”.
In finalizing, the Minister underscored “the 50th anniversary of the National Directorate for the Antarctic (DNA), responsible for the planning, control and oversight of Argentina’s Antarctic activity and for drawing up the Annual Antarctic Plan. It is responsible for the oversight of the compliance with environmental protection norms in Antarctica and administers Carlini and Brown Stations; and of DNA depends our Argentine Antarctic Institute”.