Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty Law and Legal Definition

The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty is an international agreement that provides for comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment and the dependent and associated ecosystems. This treaty is a part of the part of the Antarctic Treaty System. It is also termed the Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, or the Madrid Protocol.

This treaty was opened for signature on October 4, 1991 and it came into force seven years later on January 14, 1998. It has been ratified by 17 nations, including U.S. Sixteen other countries have signed the treaty but have not yet ratified it. The treaty will be open for review in 2048.

The Madrid Protocol was adopted in 1991 in response to proposals that the wide range of provisions relating to protection of the Antarctic environment should be unified under a comprehensive and legally binding form.

The U.S. government enacted the Antarctic Science, Tourism, and Conservation Act of 1996 to implement the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.