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Plenary of the European Polar Board meets in Sofia

The European Polar Board’s (EPB) Plenary, which includes representatives and alternative representatives of its member institutions (research institutes, logistics operators, funding agencies, scientific academies and government ministries from across Europe), convenes twice a year – in spring and autumn.

EPB’s Autumn Plenary meeting 2022 in Luxembourg was followed by the Spring Plenary meeting 2023 in Sofia, hosted by the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute on 19th – 20th April 2023.

The Bulgarian Antarctic Institute (BAI), as a Member of the EPB, plays an important role in polar research. Among other things, BAI operates the Bulgarian Antarctic base “St. Kliment Ohridski” at Livingston Island in Antarctica. In addition to that, they operate Bulgaria’s first research vessel, the Sv Sv Kiril I Metodii RSV, jointly owned by the Naval Academy, Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski, and the BAI. The research vessel set sail from Bulgaria’s Black Sea Port of Varna to Antarctica on 27th December 2022 for the first time, and is scheduled to return from its maiden voyage in early May.

The EPB members were welcomed to BAI’s offices in Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski by the President of the Executive Board of the Institute, Prof. C Pimpirev, and Former Foreign Minister, S Passy, for a welcome reception. The meetings and the welcome reception took place in the historic main building of the University.

On the occasion of the EPB Spring Plenary meeting in Sofia, Prof. C Pimpirev opened an Antarctic photography exhibition and, together with the EPB Chair, N Biebow, contributed to an interview for Bulgarian National Television.

See the interview here:

At the 2023 Spring Plenary, the EPB’s new strategy 2023–2027 was finalised and will be soon published together with the 2015-2022 Strategy Accomplishments Booklet. The EPB Action Group on Environmental Impacts of Polar Research and Logistics released their Synthesis Report, which will be soon available on the EPB website. After releasing the report, the action group will continue its work with a new Chair (Dr. A Yılmaz) and new responsibilities, and additional new members: Dr. M-N Houssais, Ms. M Vancauwenberghe and Dr. V Willmott Puig.

The EPB Executive Committee (EXCOM) elections also took place during the Plenary meeting in Sofia. Dr. M-N Houssais was elected for her second term as an EXCOM member. As Dr. V Vitale’s second term came to its end, the Dr. M Ojeda was elected to the EXCOM by Plenary. Congratulations to both Dr. M-N Houssais and Dr. M Ojeda and a huge thank you to Dr. V Vitale for his 4 years of valuable contributions to the EPB EXCOM.

Finally, this year’s Spring Plenary meeting was enriched by presentations from external guests that included representatives from several EU-funded Horizon 2020 projects: Arctic PASSION, INTERACT III, SO-CHIC and OCEAN:ICE as well as from the EPB partners: SCAR, IASC and EuroGOOS.

Many thanks to Bulgarian Antarctic Institute for hosting us and to all EPB Members and external guests for their contributions to this productive Spring Plenary meeting. We are already looking forward to the next Plenary meeting that will take place in Autumn 2023 in Tromsø.