45 countries pledge support for Antarctic-research

During a meeting in Edinburgh,Scotland, the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting participants said scientific research undertaken during the year "will increase knowledge of the Antarctic and will yield a better understanding of the major terrestrial, ocean and atmospheric systems that control the planet."

The International Polar Year, which has been observed in 1882-83, 1932-33 and 1957-58, is a joint initiative by the World Meteorological Organization and the International Council for Science, and aims to provide better observation and understanding of the polar regions, according to the AP.

Fifty years ago, the international scientific and logistical cooperation during the International Geophysical Year paved the way for the 1961 Antarctic Treaty, which suspended all territorial claims and designated the continent as a place for peace and science.

During International Polar Year 2007-08, thousands of scientists from 60 countries will conduct research in the polar regions.