Antarctica, United States, Antarctic Heritage Trust Camilla discussed on Monocle 24: The Foreign Desk
Rejoining US Antarctica as we've just been hearing is an unusual place and it has a fittingly unusual history here to talk us through. It is Camila nickel chief chief executive of the Antarctic Heritage Trust Camilla is a straightforward answer to the question of who governs. Antarctica is nobody. It's governed under an international treaty under which fifty four nations have signed it and fifty one nations signed up to the the ideals and the cruises within the treaty. And it's through the treaty did it and taught to his governed so nobody ends it. There are territorial claims being talk about that a little bit more but these are set. Aside on the Antarctic Treaty there is that smaller cohort of countries smaller than the fifty four much smaller. Who Do actually claim a chunk of it? I can't remember being nerd ish enough that I I did have a small more collection of Australian Antarctic territory postage stamps as a kid. That's right So the pair between one thousand nine hundred and the second war number of nations put forward sovereign claims claims to portions of Antarctica UK. Was I possibly not surprisingly the U. K.. The first cave in one thousand nine eight then shortly thereafter. They encouraged strongly main coverage Australia New Zealand to do the same so they are still under president to that time. Of course. That's three unions. Eat and you have no way another with a big Antarctic nation and France as well and then you have the USA and Russia and the Soviet Union they were then they claim the right to claim the whole thing at any point in the future. Why was there that extraordinary gap between the discovery of Antarctica? Two hundred years ago this week and those first claims being asserted in the early years of the twentieth century. Was it just that everybody looked at time tactic and just thought. What are you supposed to do that and decided to leave it there? Well the vest discovery it came about as she because the sealy industry so the nations were looking for new stocks of seals. In who gets you'll pelts and sell them back up north and in the eighteen twenties there are a number number of ships operational Dan so she's getting more more further south and it was only the few pining brave souls that measure penetrate the first I drake passage which isn't a torty difficult passage of water but also into the ice so fifty years previously in seventeen seventy s captain cook course famous circumnavigates Antarctica. Okay Cross Antarctic Circle. Three times failed to spot the continent. If you look at the map of where he went to you could see the you've just crossed a little bit higher. He probably would have seen something but it was ice conditions and the small ships and they weren't ice strengthened ships. These these vessels. They're using so they couldn't be terribly brave in terms of pushing into the ice because they would difficult stuck in one thousand nine hundred. William Smith was on the brink Williams and he found the South Shetland islands and he's spotted those went back Valparaiso and got instructions. Underneath Captain Edward Brownfield to head South again. The following season in January to go and find Antarctica must be there beyond the South Shetland Islands so Brownfield Field Irishman from Cork leading this royal naval expedition. Or but on a merchant ship did just that and on the thirty January eighteen twenty spotted the Antarctic peninsula and named aimed at Chelsea land. You mentioned those. I claims stopped being made around the beginning of the twentieth century. And that is of course just in time to queue up the two world wars which which both had consequences far beyond the primary battlefields in Europe. was there ever any echo of the registered in Antarctica which Oh you had all these potentially rival nations huddled or again did everybody just look at the prospect of the potential battlefield before the been this. This does those look like kind of hard work well. The festival certainly didn't we registered Antarctica so that period was still this lot wailing going on. So they're they're winning fleet still down on their wedding Stations doping operated famous the men from Shackleton's Expedition Endurance Expedition. All came off. That expedition went straight into war. So that was the kind of the notable bull so first of all story the second is interesting so the Second World War is where those sorts of tensions were really starting to rise temperatures. Were starting to rise. Certainly and it was was in response to these kind of geopolitical maneuverings by several nations particularly the UK that Argentina Chile joined the race and they asserted their claims ninety four. Three eight hundred forty four and this really just Rosa temperature and in forty three the UK the colonial office and the Admiralty said. Having none of this we need to assert sovereignty not a little more explicitly so they salvage operation tavern which was a secret mission to go down to documents and established wintering basis. So this is so we could they could have wintering purser people on on Antarctica on the ground year round creating facts on the ground as diplomats. Like to put her thing yes. It's sort of absolutely said that there's a physical British present Serta Times prior to that you'd had vessels going down during the summer season but outside of that not much but Argentina and Chile were were starting wanting to do the same. There was a bit of a race of flag-planting flag removal clotting but little little huts being built plaques being installed and removed and it was. It's getting a little silly. It never came to blows. There's plenty of blows on Northern Hemisphere Dunes. But certainly this this operation fresh tavern from the case for interview establishes wintering being stations and established for formerly the total claim. So that was the limit of open conflict a certain amount of I guess cosmetic Rg Bulgy indeed aide continued through the forties and fifties and of course after the Second World War. The Cold War ensued the tension sort of moved to between the US and the USSR and stations are being built and the survival of sessions have claimed the whole continent but it wasn't until the nineteen fifty seven and the intellectual fiscal year. which was this extraordinary year of Science Science International Collaborative effort for science mostly in Antarctica? Excuse me but pretty much. It was and that was a global effort across nations between nations crossing boundaries to study Antarctica. So there's all sorts going on. It worked tremendously well as eighteen months extraordinary science and collaboration and it paved the way for the treaty. Not we can collaborate here if we remove territorial claims remove any military activity ending that if we're focusing on things like science. There's a collaboration that can happen here. And this this paved the way for the Treaty of fifty nine. How did the fifty nine treaty? Actually do that. What was the framework that enabled all these current and past and potential future rivals to either agree or agree to disagree on certain things? He's that so the initial centuries to the treaty when they're twelve of them and these actually where the the nation's with US often claims significant activity in Antarctica so these nations got together in in Washington for some weeks to negotiate this treaty. Now I think the final final treaty is short is any forty clauses. It's pretty elegant. It's it's pretty straightforward pragmatic that simplicity I think reveals what what has been kept out so so all those things number of things that just are not included in the treaty that obviously to contentious and therefore they focused in on setting aside the consonant for peaceful the scientific purposes. They outlawed all nuclear activity later. And any mineral exploitation anything like that and then later protocols environmental portal came into force all switch really rigorously manage environment. So in terms of Wildlife Managing Tourism Heritage Management Waste Management that sort of thing shipping so the final treaty is possibly the ultimate compromise that she it is incredibly workable. It's enforced through domestic government so every nation secrecy nation passes totic law onto which it upholds the the laws of the treaty and all activity by any nation is permitted by domestic government. So any activity we do is permitted by the Foreign Office here and anything. Any transgressions are then punished or considered under domestic law. You have yourself travel to Antarctica several times. Has it been your experience. That is a genuine cooperative community or or obvious. Still rivalries are their transgressions alday disputes. Does anybody have pushed their luck. With the terms of the fifty eighteen Andreotti on the ground in Antarctica. There are very many people. Really you know any given time I think The maximum people in highest peak is six thousand. They're very spread apart around the content. But it's an incredibly collaborative place so whilst there may be robust discussions around the treaty table said there's an Antarctic Treaty meeting every year between the rival nations. You'd expect those are not played at quite the same way down in Antarctica so for example we look after she cites there today. In an Argentinean stations. Nearby I am very closely the team we have done there. Have Klay spacious with the Argentine. They bring station. There's search and rescue. Reciprocal such rescue arrangements. The Navy Eh. If ever there is anybody in the navy will appear and and a rescue when our teams are on remote feel camps considering the remote sites often the the today in basis like San Mateo will radio in and say we're here for need us. We've got a doctor here and we'll come over and visit you in a few weeks. So it's an interesting positive playing out of Intellectual Inc.. The two hundred. Th Anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica is obviously a failure. Spacious anniversary in the annals of exploration are the great celebrations versions of this moment planned semi the Antarctic heritage. Trust to whom I see. We have a new program called Antarctica insight which is a cultural program which is engaging with artists artists. Scientists historians young people to look at Antarctica to consider the last two hundred years. And I think that that two hundred isn't terribly long to have been involved in a content content on a to reflect on those two hundred years of human activity there the good in the bat but also to think about the present and the future. What kind of Antarctica? What kind of constantly we handy onto the next generation and how they can take responsibility for it and how equipping them to do that so I'm going to be some autism conventions is going to be exhibitions? Talks workshops learning programs in an schools activities. Help people engage that every meaningful way just one final question on behalf of listeners. Who Like My Sofa? incandescently jealous because they've never been to Antarctica. Do you have a favorite part of it. Of course a potluck Roy. Of course it is an extraordinary place because what you've got is the coming together of extraordinaire landscape even agenda Penguin Colony. which brings you this extraordinary life and humor and and raw wildlife off as well as a historic site which has all the significance of it being the birthplace of Shanti Science and that is tangible you can smell it and taste it in the air? When you're there sits a special special place Camilla Nickel?.