The International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS) was founded in 1998 as a non-profit organisation. It has since fulfilled a dual function:
- it is an independent research and training institution focusing on the wider Black Sea region,
- it is a related body of the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) and serves as its acknowledged think-tank.
The ICBSS is a proactive member of the BSEC institutional family and participates in the deliberations of the BSEC decision-making, related, and subsidiary bodies, mainly in a consultative role. Upon specific mandates the ICBSS drafts policy documents (ministerial declarations, action plans, background papers), coordinates the work of ad hoc Groups of Experts and is actively involved in permanent BSEC Working Groups. The ICBSS regularly reports on these activities to the BSEC Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
As an independent research and training institution, the ICBSS exploits synergies with its institutional role and develops complementary activities, including the elaboration and publication of research papers and studies, the organisation of a variety of scientific events, the management of research projects on a contract basis, as well as networking activities. The ICBSS currently concentrates on BSEC-EU interaction, good governance and institutional renewal, energy, science and technology, and security and stability in the wider Black Sea area.