Princess Elisabeth Antarctica, the first "zero emission" research station, was inaugurated in 2009, during the International Polar Year. Designed and built by the International Polar Foundation with 2/3 of budget sourced from private funding, it was donated to the Belgian state in March 2010.
A public private partnership organization between the IPF and the Belgian state was then launched to manage the station: the Polar Secretariat, representing the Belgian state. A Protocol was concurrently signed between IPF and the Secretariat, naming IPF as the Antarctic operator and defining the respective obligations to ensure the long lasting life and development of the Princess Elisabeth station.
Since that date, four successful seasons were completed, hosting international research teams with a perfect track record for safety and to the scientists’ satisfaction per end-of-season surveys. The station has been reported as exemplary by international inspection teams.
At government request, a February 2013 benchmark and audit by Ernst & Young confirmed the highly efficient operations by IPF. This achievement was only made possible through the dedication and ingenuity of the operational teams as well as with the strong support of suppliers and partners of the Foundation to meet the stringent budget limitations of the Belgian state.
In order to solve some governance and management issues between the Polar Secretariat, the Belgian Science Policy Office and the Foundation, a new agreement was signed between the IPF and the Belgian state on July 18th. It releases the Polar Secretariat budget contribution to IPF to run the upcoming BELARE 2013-14 season and opens a round of discussions to define a new public-private organization allowing for international partners to join the Princess Elisabeth station as partners.
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Contact & Photographs
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