ecopa -> About Us -> 2nd ecopa Working Group Meeting 2001 – Minutes

2nd ecopa Working Group Meeting 2001 – Minutes

Participants:
Prof. Jose Castell (E)
Mrs. Karin Gabrielson (S)
Prof. Peter Maier (CH)
Dr. Bernward Garthoff (D)
Prof. Vera Rogiers (B)

Absent:
Dr. Johanna Kokkonen (SF) due to maternity leave.
Dr. Arthur van Iersel (NL)

ITEMS:

1. Structure of ecopa
a) Structure
b) Criteria for national platforms

2. Minutes of the first working group meeting

3. General meeting
a) Date and venue
b) Financing and budget

4. Miscellaneous:
a) Minutes and executive summary of the ecopa-workshop
b) Date and venue of the third ecopa-working group meeting

5. Diverse activities:
a) EU Ethics and Animal Welfare 2001 in Stockholm
b) VTIP-Meeting in Barcelona
c) Human Tissue – UK
d) Boyd Group
e) Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Welfare

1. Structure of ecopa

a) Structure:
After a long and serious discussion taking into account the proposals that were submitted by the participants at the ecopa workshop as well as a draft proposal prepared by Prof. Castell on the basis of these suggestions, the working group agreed unanimously on the following points:

  • Dr. Garthoff explained that the Council Regulation on the Statute for a European Association was not in effect yet, but that it is thought to be passed by the Council in June 2001.
  • It was thus agreed to proceed with establishing ecopa according to Belgian law as an “association internationale sans but lucratif” (AISBL) with its headquarters located in Brussels.
  • Dr. Garthoff and Prof. Rogiers explained that ecopa meets all the main requirements for an AISBL, e.g. a non-profit organisation that promotes for example science and education; with an envisaged existence for a longer period of time (more than six years) etc.
  • In accordance with Belgian law there shall be a Board composed of national platform representatives as well as an Executive Committee comprising a president, vicepresident, a treasurer and 4 additional representatives of national platforms to be nominated by the Board.
  • A general meeting is to be held once a year.
  • Extraordinary meetings may be convened by the Executive Committee or at the request of at least 2/3 of the members. (All members or full members (national platforms only?)
  • In accordance with Belgian law a small nominal membership fee will have to be levied upon the members. It was decided to set the amount at 1 Euro or the equivalent in BEF.
  • A yearly budget will be drawn up by the Executive Committee to be approved at the general meeting and to be audited by the Board.
  • It was also stressed that the statutes would have to be carefully worded with respect to the competencies and related liabilities of the Executive Committee to ensure transparency and to prevent any possible misunderstandings or even misuse.
  • Regarding membership it was discussed and agreed that national platforms shall have full member status including voting rights while any other organisation or individual desiring membership shall have an associate member status without voting rights. Full membership with voting rights will therefore be limited to national platforms with one vote for each member.

The Board:

  • Regarding the Board members it was decided that the national platforms would each nominate one representative as well as one additional representative as a substitute. These board members will then be in charge of electing the Executive Committee at the annual meeting.
  • To ensure that the national platforms would have enough time to nominate their respective representatives it shall be stipulated in the statutes that they have to be informed at least three months prior to the annual meeting.
  • Nominations shall be carried out on a yearly basis and exclusively by the national platforms. Only representatives that are present at the annual meeting are entitled to vote and to exercise their rights, e.g. elect the Executive Committee. (Yearly basis but at the same time we said that the terms for Board and Executive Committee members shall be the same = two years. If that’s the case then nominations would only make sense once every two years.)
  • It shall furthermore be foreseen in the statutes that representatives not fulfilling their duties properly (serious misuse) can be removed by their respective national platform.
  • In addition the Board may be extended by a small number of observers that are nominated by the associate members. These observers may contribute with suggestions etc. but do not have any voting rights. With respect to the size of the Board it shall be foreseen that about 80 per cent of the members are made up of representatives nominated by national platforms.
  • The associate members choose the observers among theirs’ midst. They serve on the Board as “invited members of the Board” without voting rights.

The Executive Committee:

  • Regarding the Executive Committee it was agreed that the president, vicepresident and treasurer do not necessarily have to be a member of a national platform but respectable persons of society.
  • Belgian laws require that at least one member on the Executive Committee be a Belgian national. It was decided that the treasurer should preferably be a Belgian citizen.
  • The Vice-President will also perform the duties of an Executive Secretary.
  • The four additional Executive Committee members must be from national platforms but shall not be associate members. (May they also be members of the Board? Or just members of national platforms?- If they are Board members then they would actually select themselves. In the beginning the Board would not be that large.)
  • When selecting the members for the Executive Committee, the Board members shall be obliged to consider the overall equilibrium of the four parties on the Executive Committee, e.g. ensure that at least one person of each party (academia, animal welfare, industry and government) serves on the Executive Committee. This policy shall also apply with respect to retirements, replacements etc.
  • For the election of the first Executive Committee this year, the working group will suggest a number of persons to serve as president, vice-president and treasurer to be approved by the Board.
  • The members of the Executive Committee will be elected for a two-year period with possible reappointment.
  • Once a draft of the statutes is drawn up and approved by the working group it shall be communicated to the national platforms including a letter of invitation to nominate their representatives.
  • Prof. Rogiers and Mr. Dantes volunteered to prepare a draft of the statutes in English and Flemish.
  • The statutes shall be ready for submission by June 1st, 2001.

b) Criteria for national platforms/Membership Questionnaire
A questionnaire comprising five essential criteria plus five less crucial ones shall serve national platforms as an orientation to judge for themselves if they already qualify for an ecopa membership. The five essential criteria are:

  • First: The working group members unanimously called the four-party-principle (representation of academia, animal welfare, industry and government) as well as acceptance of the 3-R-Concept crucial elements as a working basis for every national platform.
  • It was realised that some animal welfare organisations may have problems to accept the 3-R-Concept. They should view the acceptance of refinement methods not as a betrayal of their cause but as a means to prevent methods that are much worse according to their beliefs.
  • Second: A national platform needs to have at least a basic organisational structure (by-laws, statutes, legal status, address etc.).
  • Third: There must be a scope of activities e.g. sponsoring of programmes, activities in the field of education or the disseminating information. All working group members stressed that this does not call for a certain scope of activities but that there are activities that may differ from platform to platform.
  • Fourth: The selection of representatives and the delegation to ecopa must take place in an open and democratic way.
  • Fifth: National Platforms must provide information on their financial background with respect to the budget and its contributors. That does not mean detailed figures and names of sponsors but at least overall figures giving information on the genuine sources of financing. To promote transparency and mutual trust this data shall also be published on the ecopa website.

It was agreed that there would only be one national platform per country. If the situation arises that there are two potential candidates in one country or that a second platform evolves at a later stage, then it is the declared policy of ecopa to let the concerned parties discuss the matter for themselves. It is then hoped for that the concerned parties find a compromise and form one platform that would then be a member of ecopa. If no compromise were found then ecopa would have to decide taking the criteria of that questionnaire as a crucial guideline.

Prof. Maier volunteered to draft a list of the five less crucial criteria for the questionnaire as well as a final list of additional criteria. Those could be used in addition to the questionnaire in case that the first ten criteria are met by competing national platforms. Such criteria could comprise points as the holding of regular meetings or the publication of an annual report.

Once the questionnaire and the final list are complete and finally approved by the working group they will be communicated to the national platforms, developing platforms etc. as well as put on the ecopa website.

2. Minutes of the first working group meeting

  • With reference to the minutes of the first ecopa working group meeting, no changes or additions were suggested.
  • The minutes were approved unanimously and will be put on the ecopa website.

3. General Meeting

a) Date and venue

  • Regarding a date and a venue for this year’s general meeting it was suggested and agreed to hold it in Brussels between October 26 and 28 provided that space will be available at the Sheraton Airport Hotels Brussels.
  • November 12 to 14, 2001 was chosen as an alternate date for a general meeting to be held at the Sheraton Airport Hotel in Brussels.
  • In both cases the first day of the general meeting will be reserved for a board meeting in the evening, while the remaining two other days will be comprised of a 11/2 day programme including speakers and the official launching of ecopa.
  • It was furthermore decided that a full day would be devoted to the EU White “Strategy for a future Chemicals Policy” while the remaining half day will focus on additional topics such as activities and education.
  • Prof. Rogiers and Dr. Garthoff volunteered to draft a programme.
  • The programme and further details regarding the general meeting will be put on the ecopa website as soon as possible.

b) Financing and budget

  • Regarding the financing of the general meeting all working group members saw little chance for any funding from the EU.
  • Dr. Garthoff explained that there is a good chance to obtain funding from the Zbinden Foundation once again but additional sources would have to be found.
  • Mrs. Gabrielson suggested contacting Prof. Jan van der Valk in order to discuss the possibility of funding.

4. Miscellaneous:

a) Minutes and executive summary of the ecopa-workshop

  • It was agreed that the mailing of the minutes and the executive summary to all workshop participants should take place within the next few days.
  • All participants will have three weeks time to reply and to send their comments that will then be added to the minutes as an annex document. In the accompanying letter the participants will be asked to indicate whether a comment expresses his or her personal view or that of his or her organization/national platform.
  • Prof. Rogiers and Mr. Dantes volunteered to collect the comments and to prepare the annex before all proceedings of the ecopa workshop will be put on the ecopa website, e.g. program, minutes including the annex, executive summary, list of participants, attendance list.

b) Date and venue of the third ecopa-working group meeting

  • With reference to a next meeting the working group members decided that it shall be envisaged for May or June to be held at the VUB in Brussels again. No exact date was set yet in order to be flexible with respect to the preparatory work that needs to be accomplished in the meantime. Prof. Rogiers will then suggest a date and communicate to the working group members by e-mail.

5. Diverse activities:

  • Regarding the option of an ecopa-participation at the EU Ethics and Animal Welfare Conference in Stockholm it was discussed and agreed that the scope of this event appears to be rather broad without dealing with issues in greater detail.
  • In addition, apart from distributing leaflets, there seems to be no chance to present ecopa that would warrant greater involvement on behalf of ecopa.
  • Mrs. Gabrielson therefore suggested to attend the conference and to brief the working group members afterwards.

b) VTIP-Meeting in Barcelona

  • Prof. Rogiers reported that the organizers of the VTIP-meeting in Barcelona had asked her to give a presentation on ecopa but that she would not be able to attend due to timing problems. She therefore asked if anyone else was able to attend this meeting.
  • Prof. Castell volunteered to give a presentation on the 27th of April as foreseen by the organizers.
  • The working group members also agreed to provide him with draft paper for this presentation.

c) Human Tissue – UK

  • Dr. Garthoff reported that a new situation with respect to the use of human tissue is evolving in the UK. In contrast to other European countries the UK government endorses that pharmaceutical companies collect and pay (!) for human tissue which draws attention to the ethical issue regarding the possible problems that may arise from such a practice.
  • It was agreed to spread this news via ecopa. To serve this purpose it was also suggested to establish a respective e-mail mailing list. Mr. Dantes will prepare this list upon addresses provided by the working group members.

d) Boyd-Group

  • Prof. Rogiers and Dr. Garthoff informed their colleagues that they had received an email from Mrs. Jane Smith (Boyd Group) expressing her group’s interest in contributing to the success of ecopa and possibly becoming the nucleus for a national platform in the UK.
  • The working group members agreed that this example underlined the need for a set of common criteria to help groups and organizations to establish national platforms on their own without any external interference.

e) Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare

  • With respect to the EU Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare, Dr. Garthoff expressed his view that this committee appears to broaden its scope that in turn would give ecopa an additional opportunity to get involved with EU institutions. He suggested that all working group members take time to check the committee’s website to decide to what extent it would be advisable to get involved.