The Belgian Polar Secretariat was created by law on July 24, 2008 and its management rules were defined by Royal Decree of May 20, 2009.
The Secretariat manages the Princess Elisabeth station for all administrative, financial, facilities and operational matters. The Secretariat also seeks to build broad partnerships for activities in synergy with its main missions, namely facilitating research at or in the vicinity of PEA, promoting and implementing scientific programs and ensure dissemination of knowledge linked to Antarctic research and climate change.
Competencies of the Secretariat
The governing body of the Polar Secretariat is the Strategic Council, whose President and Vice-President are nominated by the Minister. The Strategic Council has 12 members, equally distributed between public and private sectors. The Director of the Polar Secretariat executes the decisions of the Strategic Council.
The Polar Secretariat is entrusted, by delegation of the Belgian State, with a representation mission within the international bodies and bodies whose mandates cover the Polar Secretariat’s mission, namely: COMNAP, DROMSHIP, and DROMLAN.
The Polar Secretariat centralizes all applications for scientific programs, including authorizations and opinions required by the law or by the relevant regulations for the purpose of the activities at Princess Elisabeth Station. It shall transmit those requests to the competent bodies and shall provide, if need be, administrative support for the applicants.
In the context of those duties and within the limits of the approved budget, the Polar Secretariat entrusts the IPF with the mandate of Antarctic Operator, which consists of:
- Committing the expenditure in the context of the budget placed at its disposal by the Polar Secretariat;
- Signing contracts in order to ensure the provisioning and the management of “BELARE” expeditions (Belgian Antarctic Research Expeditions) for the purposes of the Station’s operation or use;
- Choosing the members of the management and operational teams and constituting the latter, in consultation with the Polar Secretariat;
- Making sure that all the means in terms of personnel and goods are brought together to ensure a successful conclusion of the operations, in consultation with the Polar Secretariat.
The Polar Secretariat is responsible for launching any relevant initiative to facilitate, support and develop the scientific activities at Princess Elisabeth station and the Secretariat’s mission through partnerships with third parties.