New Zealand Prime Minister Visits Antartica

In a rare visit for a world leader, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is in Antarctica to mark the 65th anniversary of her country’s Scott research base and highlight climate change issues.

Ardern’s arrived in Antarctica Wednesday, a day later than she planned after bad weather forced her plane to turn back during an initial effort to reach the research base earlier this week.

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In a video message recorded at the environmental research facility, Ardern said News Zealand is at a critical juncture in its presence on the frozen continent. She said that as the base has turned 65, the role the facility and the scientists who work there is incredibly important, and the New Zealand government is committed to redeveloping it.

Her 72-hour visit to Antarctica comes as a 27 international scientists and diplomats are meeting in Hobart, Australia, for a two-week annual meeting to consider conservation measures to protect and preserve the ecosystem in the waters around Antarctica.

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The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is made up of 26 member nations and the European Union, and they are holding their first in-person meeting since 2019. The group includes delegates from China, the United States and Russia, as well as Ukraine.

Environmental scientists and conservationists are urging the commission to put additional protective limits on fishing in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean, but fear deteriorating relations between Russia, China and the western world could make reaching a consensus among the delegates more difficult.

Some information for this report Came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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