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Spanish army
Ministry of Defence
Spanish army

Ejército de Tierra

Base Gabriel de Castilla

Antarctic Campaing

Environmental Management

Environmental Management at the Base “Gabriel de Castilla”

Evolution of the Environmental Management System at the Base “Gabriel de Castilla”.

On 22 February 2010 the Environmental Management System implemented at the Spanish Antarctic Base “Gabriel de Castilla” was accredited by the Spanish Association for Standardisation and Certification (AENOR, by its Spanish acronym). This was the culmination of a ten-year process which highlights the Army’s commitment to the protection of the environment.

In 1998 the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (also known as Madrid Protocol) came into force, showcasing the need to intensify efforts to protect the fragile Antarctic environment.


The following year, i.e. during the Antarctic Campaign 1999-2000, the Army created the figure of Environmental Officer to guarantee compliance with the Protocol, to be appointed by the Army Veterinary Corps. Next an assessment of the environmental impact of the activities developed at the base was carried out; the waste generated was treated in accordance with the provisions contained in annexes I and III of the aforementioned document; and certain environmental data started to be collected.


Over the next four campaigns monitoring procedures became more sophisticated and comprehensive. In addition, the facilities were overhauled so as to reduce their impact on the environment.

During the 2004-2005 Antarctic Campaign a Technical Support Body was set up. It is made up of army veterinarians who have taken part in previous Antarctic campaigns and it ensures the continuity and follow-up of the activities of successive Environmental Officers. From then on, and as logical evolution to an endeavour which has been developing over five campaigns, a more ambition target was set: The implementation of an Environmental Management System based on the UNE EN ISO 14001 standard.

In subsequent campaigns the System was modified in order to adapt it to the changing conditions at the Base and to the demands of Antarctic regulations. In that regard, it is worth mentioning the Deception Island Management Plan endorsed by the XXVIII Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting.

At the same time, and following the principle of ongoing improvement set in the aforesaid ISO 14001 standard, the System has been perfected and it currently constitutes a useful and effective tool to develop and implement environmental policy and manage environmental issues.

Once the implementation, revision and internal audit stages were completed, a new landmark was reached with AENOR’s certification of the Base in February 2010. In subsequent campaigns, and following monitoring and renewal audits, a new certificate was obtained in February 2013, valid until February 2016.

 Certificado IQ NetpCertificado AENORp

But this is not the end of the story. The Army continues to strive to maintain and improve this Environmental Management System, which is unique among those certified at the different locations where the Army performs its duties.

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