Photo credit: Tomoaki Urata
1.Rules and Procedures relative to the Statutes
2.1. ACTIVE AND AFFILIATE MEMBERSHIP (complementary information to article 6 of the statutes)
In accordance with the statutes, the following are entitled to membership of the Network and thus benefit from its services, or contribute to its actions:
– All Local Solidarity-based Partnerships between Producers and Consumers, hereafter called LSPPC (in French PLSPC), according to the definition provided in the statutes. This includes Teikei, CSA, ASC, AMAP, Reciproco, Voedselteams or similar equivalents
– All regional or national LSPPC federations or networks
– All individual citizens, academic researchers, decision makers, or more generally any person or entity that shares the declared objectives and values of the network.
However a distinction exists between Active Members who have voting rights in General Assemblies and Affiliate Members who do not (article 6), unless a proxy granted by an active member.
a) Active members
The active members represent either an LSPPC as individual entities, irrespective of whether or not they are legally constituted entities, their regional or national networks or federations; this is non exclusive (an LSPPC can be a member and also represent the membership of a regional and/or national federation or network ([article 6.a]).
Each LSPPC is represented by two people, when possible a consumer and a producer. It may therefore cast two votes in the General Assembly. The LSPPC may at any time request the replacement of the producer or consumer representing them.
Similarly, any LSPPC network or federation shall be represented by two people, preferably one producer and one consumer, and may therefore cast two votes in the General Assembly.
Organisations that are committed to supporting LSPPCs (article 6 paragraph a) i.e. whose purpose and practice include the support for LSPPCs in their respective country or region are also entitled to become members. However the number of LSPPC-supporting organisations that are active members should remain less than 10% of active members in the countries or States where LSPPCs are already well established (20 or more). Their total number at international level should be at less than 20% of the total number of active members.
This rule aims to:
– Facilitate the development of LSPPCs in areas and countries where they are few or inexistent by encouraging other organisations to join the network, and help them develop and enable potential pioneers in these countries or areas to have voting rights in General Assemblies
– Allow organisations that are actively committed to the development of LSPPCs in countries where they already exist, to play an active role in the network, without changing the nature of the International Network.
The final decision whether or not to grant active membership to an organisation that supports LSPPC remains the responsibility of the International Committee. The International Committee may invite an organisation that is part of the network as an affiliate member to become an active member, or to invite a non- member organisation to join the network as an active member.
In the event of a specific request from an affiliate member to become an active member, the Committee shall analyse this request and decide in according to the nature of the organisation and the abovementioned rules mentioned.
b) Affiliate members
The affiliate members all are citizens, academic researchers, organisations, experts or people interested or indirectly involved in the LSPPC movement, who support the objectives of the International Network URGENCI, and wish to actively defend the realisation of its activities (article 6.b).
2.2. MEMBERSHIP PROCEDURE (complementary information to article 7 of the statutes)
Membership procedure as defined by the Committee (article 7) is as follows:
Each candidate applying to the network for membership sends a written submission (postal or electronic) to the UREGENCI Office, on the corresponding membership form (see appendix 1), as well as any relevant documents (letter of candidacy, documentation, etc). Should the candidate clearly meet the membership criteria as defined in the statutes and the Rules and Procedures Document, membership is accepted by a URGENCI permanent staff member (or by the Secretary of the International Committee). Should any doubt exist, the latter submits the case to the International Committee, a decision is taken on a majority position. In the event of membership refusal by the International Committee, the URGNECI Office replies to the candidate in writing, explaining the reason for the refusal.
2.3. LOSS OF MEMBERSHIP (complementary information to article 8 of the statutes)
The International Committee reserves the right to propose that the General Assembly rule on the removal or non-renewal of membership, should a member fail to satisfy the Network criteria, or have committed a serious error. In such cases the International Committee requests that the member provide a written explanation. This request should be made at least one month prior to the General
Assembly, in order to allow the member sufficient time to respond before the General Assembly takes place. Failure to provide a written response will be considered as accepting the arguments put forward by the International Committee, unless it is proven that the request for explanation from the International Committee was not received, or that the member was in physically incapable of answering.
In any event of discovery of membership being based on deliberately false statements in the membership form, membership will immediately be terminated by the URGENCI permanent staff member.
2.4. MEMBERSHIP FEES
The membership fees are set for each two-year period. They are payable in advance when possible (to facilitate the Network’s cash flow), and at the latest at the time of the International Symposium, in Euros or in the currency of the country hosting the International Symposium. While waiting for a decision of the General Assembly as to the amount of the membership fees (see article 11), the International Committee has adopted the following interim proposal:
a) Active members
– For individual LSPPCs, the fee is set at 20 (twenty) euros or equivalent for a two-year period.
– For regional or national networks and/or federations the fee is 200 (two hundred) euros or equivalent per network for a two-year period.
– For the LSPPC-supporting organisations the fee is set at 20 (twenty) euros or equivalent for a two-year period.
b) Affiliate members
The fee for affiliate membership is 20 (twenty) euros or equivalent per member, for a two-year period.
This proposal shall be considered valid until ratified or modified by the first General Assembly (to be held at the time of the 3rd International Symposium).
3. Functioning of the network
s specified in Article 4 of the statutes, the governing bodies of International Network URGENCI are the General Assembly, the International Committee and the Executive Bureau.
The present Rules and Procedures Document proposes to add a fourth one, the Consultative Committee to the Executive Bureau (CCEB). It will include those representatives of local and regional public authorities who support the network and of persons who play a key role in the creation of the network. Its role is to ensure: a) an local accompaniment of the Executive Bureau, namely supporting the permanent Office staff in the development process; and b) a link with the public authorities that support the network. It plays an advisory but not decision-making role.
3.1. GENERAL ASSEMBLIES (complementary information to chapter 3 of the statutes)
The General Assemblies of International Network URGENCI will be held at the time of the International Symposia, every two years, or in ways to be defined by the International Committee.
Before each General Assembly, the International Committee collects the suggestions for items to be included in the Agenda, as well as the applications for the renewal of the International Committee, with statements of intent by the candidates that can be consulted by all members on the website. The agenda shall be fixed three months in advance (c.f. article 9 of the statutes). Suggested items for inclusion in the agenda shall be submitted to the International Committee 4 months in advance.
The General Assemblies are open to all members. Attendance is conditional to being a fully paid-up member.
Network members who do not have the financial means of making the trip to a Symposium and General Assembly may choose to be represented by another member (article 10), or submit a request for financial aid to the International Committee. The latter should be sent in writing to the URGENCI office. The International Committee decides which members will benefit from the available funding.
All active members are entitled to be represented by another active member or affiliate in the voting procedures as defined in article 10. Proxy forms are available on the website. They should be filled out and handed to the Secretary of the International Committee or the President by members attending the General Assembly on the day of the General Assembly.
During bi-annual General Assemblies, the following points should be determined:
· Renewal of the International Committee and Executive Bureau
· Priority actions of the Network
· Any revision to the Rules and Procedures Document
· Other business on the Agenda that requires the vote of the all members.
These decisions are taken either by secret ballot or by a show of raised hands (article 10). Items to be discussed are written on the Agenda, and possible options for solutions are communicated to the members in advance, together with the ballot papers. Active members also vote on activity reports and the budget, which are presented by the President and the Treasurer at the beginning of the General Assembly.
3.2. INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE (complementary information to chapter 4 of the statutes)
Between June 19th 2006 (date of creation of International Network URGENCI) and the First General Assembly (scheduled to take place during the third international symposium), the International Committee shall be composed of the 8 members of the Installation Committee of the Network designated at the time of the second international symposium in Palmela (Portugal).
As of the First Extraordinary General Assembly, its election and its composition will follow the rules as defined in article 13 of the statutes. The second paragraph of article 13 specifies: At least five members of the International Committee are elected and/or chosen from the active members. This provides the possibility to elect or co-opt a maximum of three other members, with the specific aim of representing countries or regions where the concept of local alternative marketing partnerships does yet exist.
The role of the International Committee, as defined in article 15 of the statutes, is to support the network in the period between two international symposia by providing guidelines on key initiatives and overseeing the progress of the Network’s actions. It is also responsible for ensuring the respect of the object and mission of the network by all members, as defined in article 2 of the Statutes.
It facilitates internal and external communication between the members of the network and organisations and works in close cooperation with the Executive Bureau. It follows and accompanies actions implemented by members by the Network, including those decided at the time of the Symposia. It defines priority action plans that it then supports. This includes the definition of strategies, fundraising, fieldwork, etc). When or if required, it seeks advice and support from the Consultative Committee to the Executive Board (CCEB).
The decisions of the International Committee are taken by consensus when possible; failing this, they shall be taken on the basis of a majority vote by members. Should the proportion be 50/50 (4 people out of 8) the President’s vote shall be decisive.
d) Internal functions of International Committee
The president coordinates the International Committee, manages the key issues of the Network, in accordance with the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly, and the desiderata of the members of the Network as expressed in the course of International Symposia or other occasions (Internet etc). He establishes contacts with political bodies, international organisations, and the media. He writes the newsletter with the help of the Secretary, and supervises all the actions of the International Committee, in particular the follow-up of the priority actions, the organisation of the International Symposia, and fund-raising. He convenes an International Committee meeting at least twice a year (article 14 of the statutes).
The Vice-president assists the President in his functions and stands in for him/her if or when required.
The Secretary ensures the administrative management of the Network. He is specifically in charge of the official correspondences in the name of the International Committee and has the powers to sign contracts and commitments, open a bank account, and execute payment (write cheques) on behalf of the President.
The Treasurer manages the accounts of the association, helped by the Secretary. The annual budget and the biannual financial report of the organisation is submitted to the General Assembly for approval, with the support of the General Secretary.
– Other responsibilities
In addition to this formal distribution of tasks within the International Committee, the Committee shares responsibility for following -up the various programs of the International Network. This sharing of responsibilities can be changed at any time and communicated through the network Newsletter.
3.3. EXECUTIVE BUREAU (Complementary information to chapter 5 of the statutes)
The Executive Bureau is composed of the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary, and the Treasurer. They are designated selected by the members of the International Committee as well as personnel working regularly for the network on a salaried or voluntary basis.
Any personnel working for the network, whether on a salaried or voluntary basis, is entitled to be a member of the Network, but may not be a member of the International Committee at the same time.
All salaried or voluntary personnel of the Executive Bureau work in close coordination with other members of the Bureau and other members of the International Committee. They answer to the President alone. The salaried or voluntary personnel of the Executive Bureau include the Headquarters office that is physically domiciled at the Network’s address in Aubagne, France. The main contact addresses of the Network (postal address, email, telephone and fax, etc) should correspond to this address.
It also includes any salaried or voluntary staff doing regular works for International Network URGENCI, either at the Regional offices (see point 2.2.3 hereafter), or in specific places, granted to individually with the International Committee.
Headquarters includes the post of Secretary (a non-permanent contract). The International Committee defines profile of this position as well as the salary. Appointments are made following open advertisement for the job. The International Committee selects the candidate by consensual choice or, if required, by majority vote.
The Secretary manages the daily administrative tasks of the network, essential aspects of internal and external communication, and the concrete implementation of the orientations determined by the General Assembly and specified by the International Committee.
He/she specifically manages applications to join to the Network, requests for information, and routine communication with members (replying to queries, providing information…). More details on this point are provided in section 4 hereafter « COMMUNICATION ».
Public relations such as certain more complex aspects of communication (such as Press relations, local authorities and other « official » contacts, such as with researchers, funders, responsibility lies with the President or is shared by him/her, the Vice-president, the Secretary or any person designated as qualified by the President.
The Treasurer provides support with the financial management of the Network (financing of action plans, symposia).
The Secretary shall receive specific assistance from the Consultative Committee to the Executive Board at regular intervals (two-monthly meetings) and at other moments in the event of need. In case of specific difficulties such as a difference of opinion with one or more members of the International Committee or the Executive Bureau or with any other person, member of the Network or not, the matter shall be referred to the President. According to the needs and financial means of the Network, the position of Secretary may be supplemented by other positions (other paid or voluntary personnel). The International Committee shall be responsible for justifying these additional posts and their finance, and should approve the decision by consensual choice or if required, by a majority vote.
c) Other regional and national offices
In addition to the Permanent Urgenci Office headquarters in Aubagne, Regional offices may be opened at any time in other areas or country where the Network is represented, on proposal by its members and of local, regional or national public authority accepting the responsibility. Any such additional offices must be unanimously approved by the International Committee, after studying the case and establishing the relevant contact with the local, regional public authority.
Particular attention should be paid to ensuring that the various regional offices and the Urgenci Headquarters in Aubagne constitute a coherent whole in the Executive Bureau. The President and the Secretary share responsibility for this coherence. In case of difficulties arising, the problem should be presented to the International Committee in order for them to be able to take relevant majority-based decisions to ensure better functioning. It might be possible for the Network to share work of general interest between the various regional offices and headquarters.
The funding required for running these Regional offices is the responsibility of the countries, regions or cities at the origin of the requests. Pay and due compliance with national laws governing the protection of personnel must should respect the legislation of the host country. All Urgenci Regional Offices shall be regarded as emanations and extensions of the Aubagne Headquarters. They shall cooperate and communicate closely with the International Committee and Headquarters.
In the event of failure to respect the statutes, the Rules and Regulations Document or for any other action that can be considered by the International Committee as a « serious error of conduct », the latter has full authority to decide on the closure of a Regional office. This decision should be taken by a unanimous vote. However at least six months before this decision is made, the person in charge for the Regional office concerned shall be requested to provide written explanations to the International Committee and an attempt made to reach a consensual solution. The final decision remains the responsibility of the International Committee; it should be validated by the General Assembly.
3.4. THE CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE TO THE EXECUTIVE BOARD (CCEB)
The Consultative Committee to the Executive Board (CCEB) is composed of people who support Urgenci Headquarters and the International Committee in managing the network and decision-making. Representatives may include:
– Representatives of the local and regional public authorities who support the network (in particular PACA Region, the City of Aubagne and the District Council of Garlaban Huveaune Sainte- Baume)
– People who have played a key role in creating the network, who can ensure local support for the Executive Bureau and/or who can provide a link with the local and regional authorities that support the network. The composition is defined by the International Committee and may be modified at any time, in agreement with the members and on proposals by the President, the Secretary, the General Secretary or the CCEB itself. The CCEB appoints its own President and secretary.
The CCEB is based near the Network Headquarters and can provide regular support. Its main functions are to:
– Ensure follow-up and local support to Headquarters in addition to that provided by the International Committee, and assist the latter in the coordination and control of the main programs of the International Network
– Build bridges with the public authorities that support International Network URGENCI and facilitate cooperation.
It plays an advisory but not decision-making role.
A quarterly meeting with the Executive Bureau should take place. The meetings shall be held in Aubagne at the Headquarters Office and, when possible, include certain members of the International Committee.
The languages of communication within International Network URGENCI shall be at least the two official languages of the network, i.e. French and English (see article 19) as well as any other languages that are possible.
4.1. INTERNET AND WEB
Most of the internal and external communication of the Network uses the Web site and electronic messages (emails).
The Web site is maintained and regularly updated by headquarters (the staff job-description includes that of Webmaster) with the support of the International Committee, particularly the President, and, if required, the support of experts in Web site creation and maintenance.
In addition certain parts of the Web site are open for the participation of members, the regional or national networks and any other person wishing to participate, either by the creation of Intranet spaces in the Web site, or by specific open spaces that operate according to methods defined on the Web site. This is the case of specific of fora, advertising space, and databases.
– Forum: The thematic fora are organised to enable Network members to exchange specific opinions and information.
– Advertising space: This space should help to create links between consumers and producers, or between local partnerships of various communities (to facilitate local exchanges between partnerships, North-South twinnings, etc).
– Databases: The Network membership database is accessible only to the members. The database of the « initiatives » is open, and can be updated by other members.
These spaces shall be used to exchange specific information, opinions input etc. between members. Information for the Network as a whole should be transmitted by the Webmaster.
The shared pages for which the Webmaster is responsible should be translated into English and French and, when possible, into Portuguese and Spanish. In theory, the translation time from French to English or vice versa should not exceed one month.
4.2. THE NETWORK NEWSLETTER
The URGENCI newsletter is published electronically and sent to all the members who have subscribed in French and English. It is published approximately once a month and informs members of progress made by the International Committee and the Network in general. It is written by the Secretary with the support of the President, or by the President himself or somebody he delegates to do it, and is first validated by the International Committee.
The long term aim is to find a small dedicated group of members with experience in writing and editing who will be able to draft a more elaborate network Newsletter. At least the leading article will always be written by the President. It will not be published without the prior approval of the International Committee.
This group will also undertake the creation, development and publication of the URGENCI magazine.
As proposed during the second International Symposium in Palmela, the Network will consider the publication of a magazine on the topic of the local solidarity-based partnerships between consumers and producers, written in English and French and when possible, in Spanish.
This magazine should carry the values, vision and mission of the Network. It will be intended for Network members, as well as for decision makers and a wider audience, in order t raise their awareness of questions of solidarity-based economy and sustainable development.
It aims to include many testimonies and accounts of experiments, be a source of inspiration for communities and a source of ideas for the politicians. It will be a forum for exchange, and will contain many opportunities for making contacts and planning actions, as well as a advertisements.
A magazine subscription will make it possible to finance part of the expenses of editing and mailing.
4.4. GENERAL RULES OF COMMUNICATION
The normal time-lapse to respond to communication is fixed at 20 days.
All communication by members to the URGENCI network by email or letter is dealt with by the permanent headquarters staff who answer within 20 days.
In the case of communication that requires simple collective decisions (communication within the International Committee, working groups, or the approval of proposals, texts…) no response within the 20-day limit may be considered as approval by the latter.
5.Activities and Programs
5.1. INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIA
a) Geographical location and role of international symposia in developing the dynamics of the International Network
The international symposia constitute a highlight in the activity of International Network URGENCI. They also provide an opportune moment to organise the bi-annual General Assembly, have privileged exchange and debate between producers and consumers and members and structure the network.
The first two international symposia (February 2004 in Aubagne and December 2005 in Palmela) made it possible to launch the International Network and to provide it with a diversified, coherent action plan that is gives the network a framework of reference. This action plan was structured into five programs by the International Committee.
The third international symposium will provide the opportunity to finalise the constitution of the Network, by taking note of the memberships, ratifying the statutes and the Rules and Procedures Document and for the first time, by electing an International Committee. This third and subsequent symposia will also provide an opportunity to evaluate URGENCI’s actions and to establish the orientations for the next two years.
The triennial program (2006-2009) specifies the prospects open between the second (Palmela at the end of 2005) and third International Symposium, between the third and the fourth International Symposium and the expected role of the third and fourth International Symposia.
b) Organization of the International Symposia
The International Committee supported by other members if necessary, organizes the international Symposia, while trying to hold an international Symposium every two years.
For each Symposium, it finds a venue, finance, manages the budget, establishes the program and ensures the preparation of the Symposium within the network, and invites the speakers.
The date of the Symposium is set by the International Committee. It is always set in a period of low agricultural activity (winter) between November and March, to facilitate farmers’ participation.
The process and the calendar for the organization of an international Symposium are as follows:
1- In the second semester of the year prior to that of the symposium, a call for candidates is sent by the International Committee, with the support of headquarters, to all members of the network and as widely as possible to stimulate the interest of local actors and local and regional authorities to host the organisation of the symposium.
This call highlights the objectives and general method for organising the international symposia, lays out the specific objectives of the next symposium and fixes a deadline for submitting proposals.
Proposals should include declarations of intent, highlighting the possibilities for financing and hosting that the candidates hope to ensure and as well as their specific ideas and proposals.
2- Before the end of the year preceding that of the symposium, the International Committee selects the candidacy considered to be most interesting and feasible as well as an alternative in the event of defection of the first.
Another selection criterion is the desire to establish a geographical rotation for the international symposia: as the first two international symposia were held in Europe, it would be interesting for subsequent ones to be hosted by different continents.
3- Once a candidate has been chosen and confirmed by both sides, the preparation for the symposium begins.
First, a pre-programme is established by mutual agreement between the International Committee, supported by the headquarters office, and local actors who take responsibility for the symposium.
In addition to the specific objectives of the symposium, the programme should take the gains and lessons learnt in previous symposia into account, in order to try to improve the quality of the symposium in terms of contents and organisation. The persons in charge of the preparation of a method and programme should use the report from the previous symposium.
This report should include recommendations for the next symposium. The International Committee and the headquarters should ensure that there is guaranteed funding for the event and raise complementary funds if required.
4- Once the preliminary programme has been defined and the funding are identified and secured, the date can be definitively fixed. At this point the process of promoting and preparing the symposium within the Network begin.
It takes a minimum of 6 to 8 months to finalise this process priori to the symposium. There needs to be a sharing of tasks between a technical team responsible for the preparation of the Symposium, consisting of the headquarters staff and other people coordinated by the International Committee, and a logistics team in charge of organising the Symposium, coordinated by the local actors who are responsible for the local implementation.
The Secretary is in charge of the coordination between the two teams under the supervision of the person in the Committee who in charge of the preparation of the Symposium.
c) Participation of members in the international symposia
The International Committee publishes the announcement of the Symposium on the site and by other means. All members (active and affiliate) are invited to participate.
The members of the Network who do not have the means of travelling to the Symposium can either choose to be represented by proxy (article 10), or request financial support from the International Committee. This should be sent in writing to the URGENCI Office. The International Committee selects the members who will benefit from available funding.
5.2. ACTION PLANS
The Second International Symposium in December 2005 in Palmela listed many actions that the members hoped the Network would take up. This included a certain number that were voted as a priority.
Work groups were created to implement these actions. A specific person was nominated as responsible for each group. This person is the main interface on this action with the International Committee. The list of the working groups per action theme and the contacts of the person in charge are available on the Web site. In addition lists of themes have been created under the headings Forum and Mailing.
In order to ensure overall coherence to the actions, the International Committee has included them in five major PROGRAMMES which have provided the a three-year Plan 2006-2009 to be used as a basis for fund-raising.
Within the International Committee, a specific person deals with the follow-up and accompanies each of the five programs. He/she plays the role of interface between the members of that work group and the International Committee.
The biannual symposia allow the various persons in charge to present their evaluations of the programs and actions to all the network members, and will provide the opportunity to discuss how best to continue, as well as to start new actions and the create of new work groups.
Parallel workshops can be organized during the International Symposia, to help participants to meet and exchange on these topics.
6.1. SOURCES OF FUNDING
The funding of International Network URGENCI is ensured by:
– Membership fees
– Donations made by the authorities that support the network, in particular for the operation of headquarters and the regional delegations
– Donations from any other organisation that supports the Network in implementing its objectives
– Any other donations that support the Network;
The International Committee and the other members involved in fund-raising are committed to looking for sources of funding exclusively from organisations (international communities, organisations, foundations, companies) that share the objectives, mission and values of the International Network as expressed in the object of the Network (Article 2 of the statutes) and whose activities are in no way contradictory with the ethical motives and objectives of the Network.
6.2. MEANS OF FUND RAISING
Fundraising for the general operation of the network, and specifically to support paid staff and the operation of the headquarters office, (salary, logistics, overheads and equipment, missions), are the responsibility of the International Committee, with the support of headquarters.
Fundraising for activities and projects specific to the five programs are the responsibility of the work groups in question.
They may however use the support of the International Committee and headquarters to raise funding. Generally speaking, any member of the Network, who is not a member of the International Committee or the headquarters staff, may raise funding to implement Network actions.
All fundraising activities should first have the agreement of the President (or of the Vice-President in the event of non-availability of the former) and of the Secretary and be signed by one or the other of the above.
6.3. FINANCIAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY THE NETWORK
Depending on available funding, the International Network will be able to support some of its members or specific actions. In this case preference will be given to supporting members of the poorest countries and areas of the world where there are few if any LSPPC-type initiatives.
The amount of funding, the number of projects and the selection of candidates are determined by the International Committee with the support of the General Secretary.