Home From The Sidelines The 46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting Held in Kerala, India

The 46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting Held in Kerala, India

India hosted the prestigious 46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM-46) from 20-30 May 2024 in Kochi, Kerala. The overarching theme of the ATCM was ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, which roughly translates into one Earth, one family, and one future. The theme resonated with the Antarctic Treaty System, which promotes the preservation of Antarctica, peace, and scientific cooperation for the benefit of humankind. Ambassador Pavan Kapoor, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs; Honourable Union Cabinet Minister, Shri Kiren Rijiju; and Dr. Shailesh Nayak, former Secretary of Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and Director, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru, inaugurated the ATCM. The elected Chair of the ATCM-46 was Ambassador Pankaj Saran, former Deputy Adviser to the National Security Board. Dr. Vijay Kumar, Scientist G-Adviser, MoES, headed the host country Secretariat.


Shri Kiren Rijiju announced that India plans to set up an Antarctic research station called Maitri-II. Furthermore, Dr. M. Ravichandran, Secretary, MoES and Head of the Indian delegation, elaborated that India would soon submit comprehensive environmental evaluations to establish the same. Dr. Ravichandran stressed India’s resolve to preserve Antarctica’s unique ecosystem and maintain global ecological sustainability. He remarked that the participating nations should ensure that Antarctica remains a beacon of science, peace, and environmental protection. The MoES, Government of India, noted that “Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Director, NIAS, Former Secretary @moesgoi  emphasized the preservation of the scientific sanctity of Antarctica during the Plenary session of the 46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting.”


Tourism was a prime agenda of the ATCM-46. The meeting had a positive response from the members of the Antarctic Treaty. On 25 May, the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty noted, “Today the #ATCM46 Special Working Group on the Development of a Tourism Framework began its discussions on a dedicated process to develop a comprehensive and consistent  framework for the regulation of tourism and other non-governmental activities in #Antarctica.” The parties agreed to a list of priority items and decided to meet before the next ATCM to further the establishment of the tourism framework.

Side Events

Several side events were organised apart from the main ATCM-46. Dr. M Ravichandran and Postmaster General, Kochi, Sh S Rashid, unveiled a special MyStamp to commemorate the ATCM. The 26th Committee on Environmental Protection (CEP-26) was held in parallel. The CEP-26 addressed various issues in successfully implementing the Environmental Protocol in Antarctica. The CEP prioritised the problems of sea ice change, protecting the emperor penguin, enhancing environmental impact assessment of significant activities, and developing an international framework for environmental monitoring in Antarctica. Several workshops and panel discussions were also organised.

Bilateral Events

MoES also jointly organised a ‘Changing Antarctic and Challenges Ahead’ seminar with the Korean Polar Research Institute and Polar Cooperation Research Centre, Kobe University. The Norwegian Polar Institute signed an MoU with NCPOR-Goa (Indian National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research) to boost polar science cooperation and operations. The MoU aims to advance our understanding of the polar region by fostering collaboration on important research topics.

The ATCM witnessed the participation of more than 400 delegates from 56 countries. Scientists, diplomats, and experts participated to discuss crucial matters of policy, governance, science, logistics, operations, and environmental stewardship. The in-person meeting had a virtual audience.