International Polar Foundation Strikes Historic Deal With South Africa’s Antarctic Programme

Cape Town, South Africa, 25 October 2013 – The International Polar Foundation committed to a landmark agreement today with South Africa’s National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) and the Department of Environmental Affairs, reinforcing future cooperation between the two organisations.

The agreement was announced during a ceremony on board South Africa’s scientific research vessel SA Agulhas II, in Cape Town Harbour, during an official visit to the vessel by Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium and Belgian Ministers Reynders, De Crem and Lieten.

“The International Polar Foundation is proud to announce that we will be working together with South Africa’s National Antarctic Programme on the logistics needed to extend sustainable activity in Antarctica, and to develop outreach and educational programs in South Africa to provide exposure to build the future generation of scientists and researchers”, said Alain Hubert, president of the International Polar Foundation.

The agreement includes the potential for cooperation on logistics and operations; communication, outreach and education programmes; science and technical co-operation; exchange of information and documentation; exchange of visits of experts and delegations; jointly organized seminars, workshops and meetings attended by scientists, experts, regulators and others.

The International Polar Foundation and SANAP will join forces on the development of the Polaris Climate Change Observatories (PCCO) in Cape Town, state of the art venues informing public understanding of the mechanisms driving climate change and exploring ways of adapting to the transformations the Earth is experiencing.

The two organisations also plan to roll out next year in South Africa the Polar Quest project, already highly successful in Belgian schools and the Class Zero Emission pedagogical project already existing in Belgium and UK.

Contacts          

Press Contact Belgium: Dave Walsh
+32 493 140 966
press@polarfoundation.org

Press Contact South Africa: Michel de Wouters
+27 82 776 4000

Notes:           

South Africa’s National Antarctic Programme (SANAP)

The International Polar Foundation

Based in Brussels, Belgium, the International Polar Foundation recently celebrated 10 years of achievement. Created with the objective of providing a novel interface between science and society, it was recognised by Belgian Royal Statute as a foundation for the public good in 2002.

The International Polar Foundation supports polar scientific research for the advancement of knowledge, the promotion of informed action on climate change, and the development of a sustainable society.

Founded by Belgian polar explorer Alain Hubert, Prof. Hugo Decleir and Prof. André Berger in 2002, the Brussels-based International Polar Foundation provides a novel interface between science and society, and was recognised by Belgian Royal Statute as a foundation for the public good in 2002.

The Foundation seeks to bring about a keener appreciation of the role of science, particularly research in the Polar Regions, through a re-examination of the planet’s interconnections, its fragility, the impact of human actions on the environment, and the evolution of millennial climate cycles.

To achieve its aims, the Foundation has initiated several high-profile projects; this includes supporting polar science through the creation and operation of the wind-and-solar-powered zero emission Princess Elisabeth Antarctica station, logistical support of scientists working in Antarctica, fellowship awards for Antarctic researchers, an annual symposium on Arctic issues, and several science and education websites and classroom activities and resources.

Princess Elisabeth Antarctica:

Located in East Antarctica’s Sør Rondane Mountains, Princess Elisabeth Antarctica welcomes scientists from around the world to conduct research in this little-studied and pristine environment.

Operated by the International Polar Foundation, in partnership with the Belgian Polar Secretariat, the station is an evolving technical prototype and a strong expression of Belgian ingenuity and innovation. Princess Elisabeth Antarctica’s design and construction seamlessly integrates passive building technologies, renewable wind and solar energy, water treatment facilities, continuously monitored power demand and a smart grid for maximising energy efficiency. Website: 

Polaris Climate Change Observatory:

The Polaris Climate Change Observatory (PCCO) aims to inform public perception of the role of science in issues of major social importance. The PCCO is a physical space where the most recent polar research findings can be displayed through innovative and attractive installations, and their global context explained.

Polar Quest:

The Polar Quest contest currently runs successfully in Belgian schools, which compete with each other with proposals for educational projects in Antarctica.

The teacher of the winning class has the unique opportunity of spending time at the International Polar Foundation operated Princess Elisabeth Antarctica research station from where they communicated with their classes. 

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