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1st ecopa Working Group Meeting 2000 – Minutes

Minutes of the First ecopa Working Group Meeting
VUB in Brussels, Belgium, December 14, 2000

Present:
Prof. Dr. Vera Rogiers
Mrs. Karin Gabrielson
Dr. Johanna Kokkonen
Dr. Bernward Garthoff
Prof. Dr. Jose Castell
Prof. Dr. Peter Maier

Protocol:
Mr. Thomas Dantes

Absent:
Dr. Arthur Van Iersel (Excused)

1. ecopa minutes

  • Some working group members had not received all or just incomplete mailings by e-mail due to technical problems with different servers. It was therefore agreed that the members would be asked to acknowledge the reception of important mailings by short replies to the sender.
  • The working group members agreed that both the minutes and the executive summary were well prepared but that some changes were still necessary before it could be mailed.
  • Prof. Castell presented a revised version of the executive summary which was used as the basis for further changes to the document. The group discussed and agreed on various changes which were noted by Prof. Rogiers who will then circulate the updated version of the executive summary as “Version II”.
  • Regarding the minutes a need for further changes and clarifications was seen. Prof. Rogiers stressed the need to have a report as accurate as possible since this document will be made available to a wide range of people and institutions.
  • It was agreed to give everyone more time to carefully read the draft minutes and that further remarks could be sent to Prof. Rogiers until December 20, 2000. Prof. Rogiers would then incorporate the changes and send it to the members as “Draft II”.
  • Provide that there are no objections to the second draft by any member of the working group, the minutes will then be send out to all participants of the ecopa workshop by e-mail (pdf-file) or mail (photocopy). The particpants will then have two weeks time to send in any remarks or comments before the minutes is put on the ecopa-website.

2. Statute proposals

  • The working group members discussed the statute proposals that had been handed in by the participants of the ecopa workshop and agreed that all seemed to argue that a structure one kind or the other was needed.
  • The members also agreed on the vital necessity to clearly define criteria with respect to the type of organisation that shall be formed, e.g. a non profit organisation (association/federation) or possibly a foundation. It was also concluded that clear critria are needed concerning the set-up of national platforms as well as developing national platforms that wish to participate.
  • The members also discussed the option of granting various levels of membership (observer, associate member and full member) as well as the attribution of functions to different bodies (convention, board and an executive board at a later stage).
  • It was discussed and agreed that every member will prepare a list of ten questions regarding the criteria for a national platform or developing platform of which five are thought to be essential while another five are seen as desirable. The questions shall be e-mailed to Mr. Dantes till January 8th, 2001. These questionnaires will then serve as a basis to elaborate a definition of criteria for national platforms and developing platforms.
  • With respect to the possible structure of ecopa Prof. Castell volunteered to take the results from this meeting as well as the proposals from the ecopa workshop as a basis in order to draft a first structure proposal.
  • Prof. Castell also stressed that the legal requirements and statutes for registering an organisation differ considerably throughout the EU. It was agreed that the easiest country to register shall be located yet providing ecopa with the greatest flexibility and access to European institutions possible.
  • It was agreed that every working group member will check the requirements to register an organisation in his or her country. Dr. Garthoff volunteered to deal with the formal aspects of establishing ecopa as an organsiation. He will also check if there is already any European Directive in place that could serve as a guideline for registering.

3. Future Funding

  • Prof. Rogiers explained that funding the next workshop is a major and difficult task that needs to be dealt with at an early stage as the experience of the first ecopa workshop had shown.
  • Dr. Garthoff informed the members that based on the recent experience with obtaining funding from the EU for the first workshop which was negative there seems to be little reason to hope for better chances in 2001. Nevertheless contacts with the resepctive officials of DG Environment will be made again including Dr. Vogelgesang and Mrs. Susanna.
  • National governments are also difficult to gain as sponsors for a European event since they will usually refer to the EU. A different situation may arise if the meeting takes place in a country holding the EU presidency at that time as Prof. Castell pointed out. If it was Spain then there would be good chances to get government funding. Mr. Dantes will check what country holds the presidency in the second half of 2001. If it is an “interesting” country then it will be considered to organise the meeting there. Otherwise it will be organised in Brussels. (Sweden will pass the presidency on to Belgium !!!)
  • Prof. Maier said that there is no chance to receive any funding from the Swiss 3 R Foundation. Generally speaking, however, foundations ought to be targeted for funding.
  • With respect to foundations Dr. Garthoff said that he will contact the Zbinden Foundation once again that had already been a sponsor of the first workshop.
  • The members also discussed the option of approaching companies for funding. Prof. Rogiers added that there are already some companies that have signalled their willingness to become sponsors provided that ecopa turns out to be a working organisation.
  • It was agreed in principle that companies shall be contacted. Mr. Dantes will prepare a list of chemical companies including addresses and contact persons until the end of January 2001 or possibly earlier.
  • The type and form of the workshop in 2001 was also brought up as a question defining the financial needs to organise it. It was discussed whether this meeting should only be a workshop with a limited number of participants or a larger general meeting that would include the official launching of ecopa as well as further presentations accepting more particpants. In the latter case higher fees could be asked from the participants.
  • The members agreed that the next meeting shall include the official launching of ecopa accompanied by a number of presentations given by excellent speakers providing information on up-to-date and interesting issues such as the EU chemicals policy. This meeting shall then be highlighted by a document of ecopa which does not only identify the issues presented but provides proposals for a compromise/solutions.
  • The results shall then also be communicated to the media. It was therefore agreed that everyone will check what journals there may be available in his or her country to publish the results of the first workshop as well as to raise interest for the meeting in 2001. Nature, Science, Toxicology in Vitro, ATLA and ALTEX are to be thought among the most interesting and promising journals. Prof. Rogiers will contact Mrs. Abdulla of Nature again to provide her with the executive summary of the first workshop.
  • Mrs. Gabrielson also suggested to contact the national platforms to get information published in their respective national newsletters and on their websites.