US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton next week will host the first diplomatic meeting concerning the use of both the Arctic and Antarctic, her department said Wednesday.
Clinton will preside over the first joint session of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) and the Arctic Council on April 6 in Baltimore, Maryland, according to a press release from the State Department.
The joint meeting brings "together the two most important bodies involved with diplomacy at the Poles," the statement said.
"Ministers and other high-ranking officials will discuss accomplishments of the International Polar Year, an international and interdisciplinary undertaking that has mobilized thousands of researchers from more than 60 countries, to work on more than 160 projects in the polar regions," it said.
"US participation in International Polar Year included research conducted by a range of federal agencies," it added.
These include the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the US Geological Survey, it said.
The joint meeting occurs as the ATCM begins its 32nd meeting in Baltimore from April 6-17 which is expected to draw nearly 400 diplomats, Antarctic program managers and logistics experts, and polar scientists from 47 countries.
Delegates to the Antarctic talks are "to discuss several issues, including environmental protection, the advancement of science, and the management of tourism," the statement said.
The ATCM meeting also occurs on the 50th anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty, which was signed in Washington.
It "will note its historic significance as the first modern multilateral arms control treaty," which stipulates that Antarctica be used "for peaceful purposes only and guarantees freedom of scientific investigation."
The United States championed the treaty during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
During the ATCM meeting, US delegates propose to "limit the size of vessels that can land passengers in Antarctica and to establish higher standards for the use of lifeboats aboard tourist vessels that visit Antarctica," it said.
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