The Czech Republic is one of the countries which has historically carried out significant scientific research in Antarctica, enjoyed an international recognition, and since 2006 has had its own research polar station. In the northern part of James Ross Island, the research station has been built by the Masaryk University in the years 2005–2006, to serve as a base for the Antarctic research of the Masaryk University, Faculty of Science, as well as other national and international academic institutions. The plans for setting up a Czech base in the Antarctic go back to the 1990s, when the necessary legal, logistical and later constructional preparations began.
The Czech scientists at the time did not operate any facility which could provide technical, logistical and laboratory support for complex multidisciplinary excellent research in the Polar Regions. Construction of the station was finished in February 2006. Since then, successful scientific expeditions are undertaken there each austral summer. The base bears the name of Johann Gregor Mendel (1822–1884), a founder of modern genetics and pioneering meteorologist, who lived and worked in Brno.
The CARP management structure is ordered at several levels, with the Executive Management consisting of Board of Coordinators forming the main body in the hierarchy. The Principal Investigator (Responsible Scientist) is the head of the Executive, followed by four Coordinators: 1) Project and Logistic Coordinator, who is simultaneously the J.G. Mendel Station Chief, 2) Scientific Coordinator and EEL (or Polar-Bio-Lab) Head, 3) Educational Coordinator and Polar-Geo-Lab Head, and 4) Technical Innovation Coordinator and Open Access Data Unit Head. The above-mentioned Board of Coordinators is overseen by the Supervisory Board, and collaborates with the Scientific Board and External Advisory Board. The Support Services include the Administration and Technical Staff, Logistics and Public Relations
The Antarctic Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C., on 1 December 1959, and entered into force in 1961. Currently, the Antarctic Treaty has 29 Consultative Parties (including Czechia) and 25 Non-Consultative Parties. The Antarctic Treaty regulates the legal regime of Antarctica and related areas south of 60° South Latitude. The Parties to the Treaty, in meet every year “for the purpose of exchanging information, consulting together on matters of common interest pertaining to Antarctica, and formulating, and considering, and recommending to their Governments measures in furtherance of the principles and objectives of the Treaty”. These meetings are known as Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM).
The treaty stipulates that Antarctica may be used only for peaceful purposes. It prohibits any measures of a military nature, such as the establishment of military bases and fortifications, the carrying out of military manoeuvres, as well as the testing of any type of weapon. It allows freedom of scientific research in Antarctica. In order to comply with this objective, the Parties agreed to exchange information regarding any projects of their scientific programmes and their results. Periodical inspections are arranged as a tool for ensuring compliance with the Treaty provisions. The Antarctic Treaty further prohibits any nuclear explosions in Antarctica and the disposal of radioactive waste material in these areas. For the period when the Antarctic Treaty is in force all previously made territorial claims are frozen.
Czechoslovakia was the first country that acceded to the Antarctic Treaty on 14 June 1962. In 2013, at the ATCM in Brussels, a consultative status of the Czech Republic as a Contracting Party to the Antarctic Treaty was recognized, effective from 1 April 2014. The Czech Republic hosted the ATCM XLII in 2019 in Prague.