Every year (before 1994 it was every two years) the Consultative Parties meet '"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". Since 1983 those countries party to the Treaty that are not Consultative Parties have been invited to take part in these meetings, though without participation in the decision making. In addition, organizations such as the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP), the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) and the International Association of Antarctic Tourist Operators (IAATO) participate in the meetings as observers and experts. During the ATCM, the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) also meets. The meetings are conducted in the four official languages of the Antarctic Treaty: English, French, Russian and Spanish. The proceedings of the meeting and the texts of measures taken by the meeting are included in the Final Report that is published after each meeting.
Besides the regular yearly meetings, Special Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings and Meetings of Experts are called from time to time to deal with specific subjects.