Presence in remote Antarctic noted and highly appreciated
Belarus gains observer status on Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes
By Tatiana Grigorova
The decision was made during the 24th meeting of the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes, held in Portland (Oregon, USA). Belarus took part as a guest and, at the close of the meeting, presented a report on its activity in the Antarctic and its implementation of the National State Antarctic Programme for 2007-2012.
“The contribution of Belarus to international activities in the Antarctic over recent years has been appreciated, resulting in the decision by the permanent members of the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes to give the country observer status for three years. After this, the Republic could be considered for permanent membership of this organisation,” explains the Deputy Head of the National Polar Research Centre, the head of the Belarusian Antarctic expedition, Alexey Gaidashov.
He tells us that support from Russian delegates present was essential in Belarus gaining observer status, as they gave a serious assessment of the Republic’s contribution.
Mr. Gaidashov explains that membership of the organisation is a key step in gaining consultative status on the Antarctic Treaty. The Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes is, in fact, the second largest organisation in the Antarctic Treaty system. After gaining observer status, a country can become a permanent, consultative member. Mr. Gaidashov continues, “However, we need to be more active in the Antarctic, both practically and scientifically, taking part in the work of various international organisations operating on this continent. An important factor is the availability of national infrastructure in the Antarctic, the creation of which is part of Belarus’ plan.”