Minutes from the 2021 Annual Meeting of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
Fritz Köster, ICES President, welcomed meeting participants to the second online Council meeting, physical meetings continue to be limited due to travel restrictions and disruptions caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
All meeting participants were provided the opportunity to introduce themselves, a list of participants is included in Annex 2 of this report. New Council delegates, observers, and first-time meeting participants, were extended special welcome to the meeting. All member countries were represented during the course of the meeting.
The President noted that during 2021, there were additional Bureau meetings, to accommodate shorter online meetings required to allow adequate time to address the ongoing and emerging issues. There were also two additional meetings dedicated to address the resignation and absence of the General Secretary (see section 4).
The President reviewed the follow-up, in relation to actions decided at the 2020 Council meeting as outlined in the President’s review CM 2021 Del-Doc 1.3, noting that work conducted in 2021 continued to be influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization has been successful in meeting its obligations thanks to the dedication and flexibility of staff and the entire network.
The pandemic has put stress on the Secretariat, and has been especially challenging given the leadership transition. However, as in 2020 all advisory products were delivered and the successful completion of the first online Annual Science Conference is especially noteworthy.
In June, the General Secretary submitted her resignation effective 31 December 2021, much earlier than planned. Since then, she has been on leave. As a result, the secretariat and the entire organization has operated without a General Secretary, with increased stress and demands placed on staff and the Bureau wish to recognize their resilience.
Transatlantic cooperation continues to be of central importance to the organization with continued efforts evident in the work of expert groups, projects, and committees, with specific focus on the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, the Arctic, and cooperation with PICES, but not least the education initiative. Recognising this, there is no specific agenda point addressing Transatlantic cooperation as in previous Council meetings.
Meeting participants noted that all items decided at the 2020 meeting have been followed up or are scheduled to be addressed during the course of the meeting.
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