STATUTES of the EUROPEAN CONFEDERATION OF SOIL SCIENCE SOCIETIES (ECSSS) – 14 August 2019
1. Name and headquarters
The European Confederation of Soil Science Societies (ECSSS) is a non-profit association governed by the present statutes and, secondly, by Articles 60 et seq. of the Swiss Civil Code. It is neutral politically, and non-denominational.
The headquarters of the ECSSS are in Geneva, Switzerland.
C/o hepia – Dr Pascal Boivin
Rue de la Prairie 4
1203 Geneva, Switzerland
The ECSSS shall be of unlimited duration.
2. Objectives and activities
The objectives of the ECSSS shall be to foster collaboration and co-operation amongst the National Societies of Soil Science in Europe, the European soil networks, soil scientists and engineers in all branches of the soil sciences and their applications, and to support the soil causes in Europe.
Europe shall be considered in its broadest sense.
The activities of the ECSSS shall include:
- Facilitating the organisation of meetings, conferences, and organize The EUROSOIL Congress (see point 6);
- Facilitating / supporting the development of the National Soil Science societies of the European countries.
- Arranging for the dissemination of material relevant to the interests of the ECSSS, in particular via the web portal and resources platform / links.
- Establishing cooperation within national societies of soil science in Europe and with other related organisations within Europe and IUSS; Representing Soil Science to a wide European audience and defending soil causes towards decision makers; promoting sustainable soil management and protection.
- Taking any other action that will advance Soil Science and soil management in Europe.
The ECSSS financial resources could be derived from:
- The Eurosoil congress (see point 8 of the statutes);
- Donations and legacies;
- Public subsidies;
- Membership fees;
- Any other resources authorized by the law.
The funds shall be used in accordance with the ECSSS objectives.
Requests to become a member of the ECSSS must be addressed to the Council. New members are accepted with 2/3 of the votes of the Council and a quorum of 10 votes. The requests are presented to the Council at least one month before vote. The vote can be electronic.
Any European national societies of soil science or moral person may become a member if they have demonstrated their dedication to the objectives of the ECSSS through their commitments or actions, and that they are not employed by the ECSSS.
The ECSSS comprises:
European national societies of soil science may join as Full Members. Only one organisation can join from each country as a Full Member. Their representative is the President of his/her soil society, unless he delegates his/her authority to another representative of his/her society.
Council members representing Full Members must be accredited by the relevant organization to the ECSSS Secretary at least one month before a European Congress of Soil Science in writing. The relevant organizations shall inform yearly the ECSSS Secretary on their accredited representative.
Full Members are the only members which are part of the Council and therefore to vote for all Council decisions.
Professional soil science organisations and organisations related to soil science and soil management in European countries may join as Associate Members.
Associate Members can participate to assemblies, they receive the communication material from the ECSSS, they can contribute to discussions, information resources and exchanges. They can take part to working committees.
- On the dissolution of the National society of soil science;
- By written resignation thereby notifying the Council at least one month before the end of the financial year;
- By exclusion ordered by the Council, for just cause, with a right of appeal to the Council. Appeals must be lodged within 30 days of the Council’s decision being notified;
- For non-payment of dues for more than one year and a half (if applicable).
Members who have resigned or who are excluded have no rights to any part of the ECSSS’ assets.
Only the ECSSS’ assets may be used for obligations/commitments contracted in its name. Members have no personal liability.
5. The organs of the ECSSS
The Association shall include the following organs:
- Executive Committee;
The Council is the supreme authority of the ECSSS and carries general responsibility for the efficient functioning and the success of the ECSSS. It consists of all the Full Members.
The Council must meet every two years at least. These meetings should be scheduled during the EUROSOIL congress, and could be during the WCSS or another European level event. Biennial assemblies should be scheduled at the previous assembly, and for additional assemblies, the invitation should be sent out at least 6 weeks before the meeting.
The Council has the following specific functions, together with its general responsibility for the wellbeing of the ECSSS:
- To accept and exclude members.
- To discuss, develop, promote and conduct the strategy and activities of the ECSSS.
- To solicit and select the country and venue of EUROSOIL congress. The selection of the host country should take place at the former EUROSOIL congress.
- To elect the President and Secretary.
- To modify the statutes (see section 7).
- To decide of membership fees (if applicable).
The Council quorum is reached with 10 members. Council decisions require 2/3 of the votes of the Council assembly. Each Full Member shall have one representative and one vote on the Council. A delegation can be given to another member of his/her soil society or to another Full Member. Votes are by a show of hands but voting can also take place by secret ballot, if at least five members request it. When required, the Council is empowered to take decisions by means of electronic or postal ballot.
All interpretations of the Statutes by the Council are final.
The agenda of the ordinary session of the Council must include:
- Approval of the Minutes of the previous Council;
- Approval of the Executive Committee’s activity report, including Eurosoil;
- Approval of the report of the Secretary and of the Auditor;
- Setting of membership fees;
- Approval of the budget;
- Approval of reports and accounts;
- Election of Executive Committee members and Auditor;
- Miscellaneous business.
The President of the Executive Committee chairs the Council, unless he/she has specifically delegated his/her authority to another member for that occasion.
The Executive Committee consists of the President, the Vice-President and a Secretary. It is authorized to carry out all acts that further the purposes of the ECSSS. It has the most extensive powers to manage the ECSSS’ day-to-day affairs and administrate the finances. The Committee meets as often as required.
The functions of the Executive Committee are:
- To take the appropriate measures to achieve the goals of the ECSSS;
- To convene the ordinary and extraordinary Council;
- To apply decisions regarding admission of new members as well as the resignation and possible expulsion of members;
- To ensure that Statutes are applied, to draft rules of procedure, and to manage the assets of the ECSSS.
The Executive Committee shall inform the members in writing of the date of the Council at least six weeks in advance. The notification, including the proposed agenda, shall be sent to each member at least 10 days prior to the date of the meeting.
The President and the Secretary are elected by the Council for a 4-year mandate. They are elected at the inter-congress assembly. They are in charge of the permanent activities of the ECSSS. They organize the Council meetings and votes whenever necessary.
The Vice-President will be from the host country of the next EUROSOIL Conference. His candidature is part of the proposal from the candidate countries and is responsible of the next Eurosoil Conference organisation. The Vice-President is elected at the Eurosoil assembly and serves for four years. He can present a candidature for being President or Secretary for another 4-year mandate.
All elected members can represent themselves for a maximum of 8 years.
The members of the Executive Committee act on a voluntary basis and can only claim compensation for their actual costs and their travel costs. Any attendance fees may not exceed those paid for official commissions. For the activities which go beyond the usual framework of the function, each member of the Executive Committee can receive an appropriate compensation.
Paid employees of the association can only sit on the Executive Committee with an advisory vote.
The Council appoints an auditor every two year to the ordinary session of the Council. It may also entrust this task to a fiduciary company.
The auditor shall check the operating and annual accounts prepared by the Executive Committee and present a written and detailed report to the ordinary session of the Council.
6. The EUROSOIL congress
The EUROSOIL congress is the main event of the ECSSS. It shall cover all parts of the discipline (science and application) and of ECSSS.
The host country National Society or adhering organisation shall officially cosponsor and be financially liable for the EUROSOIL congress, and shall make all necessary fundraising and other arrangements to ensure the success of the congress.
Please see the appendix below for further details.
7. Changes to the Statutes
The Council can only effect changes in these statutes on a 2/3 majority of voting Full Members present or with a delegation at the Council. The proposed changes must have been publicized to the Full Members at least 3 months before the vote for discussions, and 6 weeks before the vote for a final version.
The new or revised Statutes shall come into force on a date decided by the Council, which shall be as soon as possible after the publication of the results of a positive vote.
Profit sharing from country hosting the EUROSOIL congress:
- The ECSSS is not responsible for any losses incurred by the host country in hosting the EUROSOIL congress.
- A fixed amount of 40 € per delegate registration to the EUROSOIL is allocated to the ECSSS resources. The ECSSS also receives 20% of the profits arising from the EUROSOIL.
The financial year shall begin on 1 January and end on 31 December of each year.
9. Signature and representation
The ECSSS is legally bound by the joint signature of the President and the Secretary.
Should the ECSSS be dissolved, the available assets should be transferred to a non-profit organization pursuing public interest goals like those of the ECSSS and likewise benefiting from tax exemption. Under no circumstances should the assets be returned to the founders or members. Nor should they use a part or a total of assets for their own benefit.
The present statutes have been approved by the Council on a special assembly in Rio de Janeiro on August 14th 2018.
Appendix to the ECSSS Statutes
RULES FOR THE ELECTION OF ECSSS MEMBER/CITY ORGANISING EUROSOIL
- EUROSOIL is the conference of the ECSSS. It happens every 4 years and is organised for ECSSS by one of the ECSSS members.
- Each ECSSS member is welcome to propose organising the next EUROSOIL. The candidate must be a Soil Science Society member of ECSSS.
- The next EUROSOIL organising society is elected during an ECSSS General Assembly (GA) organised at EUROSOIL.
- Each ECSSS member has one vote. For each election it has to be defined who the voting delegate of each ECSSS member is. The quorum is defined in the ECSSS statutes. If no delegate of an ECSSS member is attending the EUROSOIL conference, the delegate should communicate its vote by electronic ballot at firstname.lastname@example.org before the first day of EUROSOIL. The list of electronic ballots is published by the ECSSS President at GA and with the results of the votes.
- If an ECSSS member votes with electronic ballot and there are multiple candidates, a ranking of the preferred organisers should be given, since the first choice may be eliminated in case of repeated votes.
- The majority of the votes is required. After the first vote, if there is no majority, only the three first candidates are kept for a second vote. If a third vote is required, only the two first candidates are kept.
- Ballots are collected in ballot box unless the whole assembly agrees to vote with hands held. Results are controlled by assessors independent from the voting members and remain consultable to the voting members one month after publication of the result.
- According to ECSSS Statutes, the leader of the elected application becomes Vice-President of the ECSSS for the next 4 years.
- Candidatures must be communicated to the ECSSS not later than 2 months before the coming EUROSOIL by an e-mail at email@example.com. The list of candidates will be published 2 months before the EUROSOIL conference on the ECSSS and EUROSOIL web sites.
- Not later than 1 month before the election, the full application (see content suggested below) must be communicated to the ECSSS in pdf form, for publication on the ECSSS web site.
- The vote is organised during GA of the EUROSOIL conference, and should not be scheduled later than the lunch break of the last conference day.
- Prior to the vote, each candidate has a maximum of 15 mn to present its application, and the assembly has a maximum of 10 mn to ask questions.
- Applicants commit to:
- Organise a high-level conference, fostering both soil science and the awareness and involvement of stakeholders on soil causes, at European level.
- Give ECSSS 40 € per delegate attending the conference, in accordance with the decision made at ECSSS GA Vienna, April 11th, 2018.
- Inform ECSSS on the calendar and the main steps of the EUROSOIL preparation along the process.
- Application rules for ECSSS members to host the EUROSOIL conference
- The proposal must contain the following information:
- letter of interest with main focus of the conference;
- preliminary budget with expected fees for the delegate categories;
- Commitment to include the per delegate contribution to ECSSS into these fees (ECSSS statutes Chapter 8);
- description of the conference hall, location, access, accommodation and other facilities;
- letter of support from a minimum of 4 ECSSS countries from different regional areas (e.g. Northern, Western, Central, South, Eastern Europe);
- designation of the local host committee President who will act as ECSSS Vice-President for 4 years if elected;
- motivation of the local host committee President to foster ECSSS activities as member of ECSSS executive committee;
- composition of the committee that will be in charge of developing the scientific programme. A minimum of 4 members coming from 4 ECSSS countries from different regional areas should be part of this committee;
- completed questionnaire (Excel document in appendix);
- any relevant information regarding the destination.
- The proposal must contain the following information:
- The official EUROSOIL PCO is an official professional congress organiser appointed by ECSSS. It will be responsible for:
- contracting the venue with local host;
- transferring all useful information and tools from previous EUROSOIL to the local host;
- managing the conference finances;
- charging and allocating to ECSSS the per conference delegate contribution (ECSSS statutes – Chapter 8);
- managing registrations;
- managing sponsorship and exhibition logistics;
- managing speakers’ logistics;
- abstracts handling;
- conveying required information, methodology and organisation from one conference to another;
- protecting the interests of ECSSS and its members.
- The local host will be responsible for:
- developing the scientific programme with a minimum of 4 ECSSS chairs coming from 4 countries from different regional area appointed by the local host;
- organising the call for sessions and the call for abstracts, appoint conveners and keynotes;
- organising the official parts of the conference;
- raising funds from local and regional sponsors.
- The official language of EUROSOIL is English.
- The local host may seek help from the convention bureau of the proposed venue to build the proposal but any proposal received directly from conventions bureaus, destination management companies or PCOs with no involvement of the local host will be rejected.
All proposals will be reviewed by ECSSS Executive Committee and the appointed PCO to check the compliance of the application with the above rules. Acceptance of proposals which are formally correct will be communicated within two weeks. Compliant applications will be then published and will have to follow the voting procedure (described above).
For the European Confederation of Soil Science Societies,
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