LIFESTYLE NEWS - South Africa’s Antarctic and Southern Ocean Strategy (ASOS), a landmark move to implement the Antarctic Treaties Act, has been approved by Cabinet.
The treaty has set aside close to 10% of the Earth “forever”, to be used only for peaceful purposes, “and in the interests of all humanity”.
South Africa being part of the treaty supports Africa’s agenda of garnering research, conservation, sustainable resource use and environmental management.
ASOS was approved on Wednesday, one day after Antarctica Day. This also marked the 61st anniversary of the signing of the treaty.
The strategy outlines national interest, with the vision that “Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are understood, valued and protected in the interest of South Africa, Africa and the world.”
The Southern Ocean is the world’s most biologically productive ocean, juxtaposed with the coldest, driest and windiest content on Earth, the Antarctic.
Oceans are important carbon sinks, which store heat and carbon dioxide, and plays an irreplaceable role in climate change.
Partners in the South Africa’s Antarctic Programme (Sanap) include the Department of Science and Innovation, the Department of International relations and Coordination, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, the Department of Transport and the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries. The programme has also been bolstered recently by the Agricultural Research Council, the Medical Research Council, and the Human Science Research Council, among others.
Sanap said scientific data collected during voyages to the Antarctic is integral to understanding the impact of climate change and weather information associated with climate change.
South Africa maintains two stations in the region, one in Antarctica, and another on the Marion and Gough Islands.
To find out more about Sanap, click here.
Compiled by Nica Richards