EPB-ESA Memorandum of Understanding
Based on the complementarities among the terrestrial, marine and space platforms for the study of Antarctica (ESA-EPB workshop, Paris, 4 April 2012), the European Polar Board and the European Space Agency have proposed a framework agreement which could serve as an umbrella in order to facilitate the conclusion of specific individual agreements between ESA and EPB Members. The EPB appointed an Action Group to collect suggestions from the members and to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between EPB and ESA. The EPB plenary meeting in Krakow in April 2013 agreed that the MoU between EPB and ESA should be signed by the EPB Chair and by the ESF legal representative. This process was delayed by the EPB Plenary Assembly resolution in Lisbon, in December 2013, to start the new external Secretariat from 1 January 2015, a year before the expected closure of the ESF. Therefore, the EPB Plenary Assembly recommended taking into consideration the shorter term during which ESF will legally represent the EPB. Consequently, a new version of the MoU was edited, establishing that the agreement will become effective upon signature, and it will remain in effect until 31 December 2015. In April 2014, the EPB plenary meeting in Helsinki came to the final decision to move the EPB Secretariat to the NWO, and noted that keeping the ESF in the MoU for a few months would not appear appropriate. The Plenary therefore recommended investigating with ESA to find a new solution without ESF, it being understood that ESF might sign a different agreement with ESA, not involving the EPB.