Press release

Scientist from the Alfred Wegener Institute becomes new Executive Secretary of the international Antarctic Treaty Secretariat

[17. April 2009] 

A scientist from the Alfred Wegener Institute will become the new Executive Secretary of the Antarctic Treaty system from August 2009. This was announced at the end of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) in Baltimore, USA. The majority of the 28 members entitled to vote for the new Executive Secretary of the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat decided on the German candidate Dr. Manfred Reinke who prevailed over competitors from Great Britain and Australia. The secretariat is seated in the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires.

Manfred Reinke has been working for the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association for many years, currently as Scientific Associate to the directorate. The 56 years old scientist studied biology and chemistry at the University of Kiel and computer sciences at the University of Hagen. He made first contact with polar research within the scope of his doctoral thesis at the Institute for Polar Ecology in Kiel, at the time headed by Prof. Dr. Gotthilf Hempel. He has many years of experience in various committees of international Arctic and Antarctic research and he is a recognized expert in science management.

“I congratulate Manfred Reinke on his election”, says a pleased Prof. Dr. Karin Lochte, scientific director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, about the appointment of one of her closest staff members for a position which is central to manage international Antarctic affairs. “It is of course first of all a personal success, but it also shows the trust and appreciation of the international community for German polar research.”

The Antarctic Treaty from 1959 permits the peaceful use of the Antarctic and prohibits any measures of a military nature. It guarantees freedom of scientific research. Existing demands for sovereignty are frozen by the treaty. It is supplemented by the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty since 1991. Since 1979, Germany belongs to the currently 48 parties of the Antarctic Treaty. It is one of the 28 member states entitled to vote because of its own Antarctic research. The fiftieth anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty was celebrated on April 6th in Washington with a Ministerial Declaration.

The Secretariat located in Buenos Aires resumed work in September 2004. It is since the infrastructural backbone of the international Antarctic Treaty system. Reinke follows Johannes Huber from the Netherlands as Executive Secretary. His term in office lasts four years.


Further information about the Antarctic Treaty System con be found here: www.ats.aq/index_e.htm, www.atcm2009.gov/index.htm.

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Das Institut

Das Alfred-Wegener-Institut forscht in den Polarregionen und Ozeanen der mittleren und hohen Breiten. Als eines von 19 Forschungszentren der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft koordiniert es Deutschlands Polarforschung und stellt Schiffe wie den Forschungseisbrecher Polarstern und Stationen für die internationale Wissenschaft zur Verfügung.