Since 1985 the country has been a full and consultative member of the Antarctic treaty, with full voting rights in the International Plenary.
“Only 29 countries out of the 52 that have signed this treaty have a consultative status, which places Uruguay in a context of global privilege”, said Claudio Romano, President of the Uruguayan Antarctic Institute (IAU).
He also explained the importance for Uruguay of being part of this Antarctic Treaty and of the work undertaken by the IAU together with other ministries and agencies for the Artigas Antarctic Scientific Base to be part of a cooperation system for the Antarctic as a peaceful territory and with scientific purposes only.
The power generators consume 200,000 liters of Antarctic diesel every year, either for heating, electricity, transport, water, means of communication, among other needs.
Romano explained that Ancap makes an annual donation of 150,000 liters, which added to the IAU’s contribution meets the diesel demand of the base’s generators.
On the other hand, an extra percentage of fuel, 150,000 liters should be used by the vessel “ROU 26 Vanguardia” that once a year arrives at King George’s Island with fuel, food and logistic material that enables the normal operation of the base.
Another part of the fuel is intended for flights made during the year by the Hercules C130 which belongs to the Uruguayan Air Force, approximately 60,000 liters per trip.
60% of the Uruguayan Antarctic Institute’s budget is spent on fuel, claimed the president of the IAU.
Romano also noted the efforts carried out by all stakeholders for fuel to be unloaded exclusively by Uruguayan means as of 2015. “Completing this development under the conditions set forth in the Antarctic Treaty for its operation took five years of hard work and the intervention of many authorities”, he added.
According to the president of the IAU, our country with its ongoing activity at the base and its participation both in scientific research and in forums and presentations, “establishes a principle”.
Since the treaty was signed, among the 111 founding countries only 18 have acquired this status and our country is one of them. “And this is an honor and privilege”, he added.
With regard to international activity, Romano mentioned the defense policy recently published by the Uruguayan state, positioning the Antarctica as a “place of interest for the country”, which is often not considered in its full dimension, he acknowledged.
According to Romano, “Uruguay’s term in the Antarctic continent is a country project”. The Artigas Base does not only operate because of the IAU, but it requires the participation of ministries, agencies, institutions in order to enable our country to comply with the mandates of the Antarctic Treaty and today Uruguay has achieved the international recognition it boasts.