A long awaited breakthrough has been made with a decision to establish the first secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty System in Argentina, 40 years after the treaty came into force. A blocking veto against the choice of Buenos Aires has been removed by the uk . Despite the growing number of member countries, the system did not have its own secretariat. Debate within the treaty system about establishing the office was partly limited by concerns about its powers. For several years Buenos Aires had remained the only option accepted by all countries except the uk, which vetoed the choice because of continuing bilateral tensions. But recently at the annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative meeting, the uk announced that it would join the consensus. "The go-ahead is an important step for the effective management of Antarctica's ecology,' said Marcus Haward, programme leader at the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre at the University of Tasmania.