1. NAME / INCORPORATION
1.1. The European Cave Rescue Association (“ECRA”) is a not for profit association of national cave rescue organizations and similar rescue organizations that are based in the continent of Europe.
1.2. The ECRA is to be neutral in matters of religious and political belief and practices, but may seek to persuade government organisations and others to adopt policies and laws supportive of cave rescue.
1.3. The ECRA is incorporated as an association under Croatian law with its seat in Croatia. Its postal address shall be 10000 Zagreb, Croatia, 22 Kozarceva Street, or such other address as the General Assembly shall from time to time approve. In the event of a dispute, the Court of jurisdiction is the Court of Arbitration in Sport, Lausanne.
1.4. In this constitution references to caving and cave rescue include reference to all forms of underground recreation and exploration including cave diving, the exploration of disused mine workings, and the rescues associated with all such activities.
1.5. The official language of ECRA is English.
2. PURPOSE AND GOAL ECRA exists for the following purposes:
2.1. to promote the exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of cave rescuing,
2.2. to facilitate cooperation and support between members,
2.3. to advance and improve cave rescue knowledge and the capabilities of member organizations,
2.4. to provide information and statistics on cave rescue incidents,
2.5. to exchange knowledge and experience of best practice in cave rescue between cave rescue organizations, caving organizations, manufacturers of caving equipment and other interested bodies,
2.6. to conduct research with a view to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of cave rescue,
2.7. to conduct such ancillary activity as the ECRA shall think appropriate to better achieve these purposes.
3.1. Full Membership of ECRA is open to organisations established in European countries in the following categories:
3.1.1. National representative or operational cave rescue bodies (“National Members”),
3.1.2. Regional representative or operational or cave rescue organisations (where there no national level organisation) (“Regional members”).
3.2. Associate Membership is open to other European organisations with an interest in cave rescue (“Associate Members”).
3.3. Observer Membership of ECRA is open to cave rescue organisations from non-European countries (“Observer Members”).
3.4. Admission into all classes of membership of the ECRA is to be by vote of the General Assembly, following an application to the Secretary General and a report to the General Assembly by the Committee on the merits (or otherwise) of the application. Where there is an existing member of the ECRA from the same country as the applicant the Committee shall consult those existing members about the application before reporting.
3.5. All members have the right to actively participate in the work of the ECRA and the General Assembly, and to nominate candidates for the Committee and Sub-Committees of the ECRA as they see fit.
3.6. All members are expected to participate in the work of the ECRA and to actively assist in achieving the purposes set out in Clause 2. The extent of such participation is however a matter for the Member concerned.
3.7. All members must pay their annual subscription within 28 days after the General Assembly shall have approved it for the year. Where a subscription is still outstanding after 28 days the Secretary General shall enquire into the reasons and, unless there are exceptional reasons why the subscription has not been paid, the Committee may suspend the member from taking any further part in the affairs of the ECRA until it has been paid. Where two years subscriptions are outstanding the Secretary General shall report the circumstances to the next meeting of the General Assembly, with a motion for the expulsion of the Member concerned from the ECRA.
3.8. Any Member may terminate their membership with immediate effect by delivering their written resignation to the Secretary General; their membership ceases immediately on delivery of that written resignation.
3.9. The General Assembly may by a motion passed by two thirds of the votes cast expel any member from membership, provided the Member has been given 4 weeks notice of the motion and has had the opportunity to address the General Assembly before the vote was taken.
4.1. BODIES OF ECRA
4.1.1. The constituent bodies of the ECRA are: – The General Assembly, – The Committee, – Such sub-committees or Commissions as the Committee shall from time to time appoint for such purposes and for such duration as the Committee shall specify.
4.1.2. The executive officers of the ECRA shall be the President, the Vice President, and the Secretary General.
4.1.3. The GA shall also elect Auditors as specified at 4.8. below.
4.2. GENERAL ASSEMBLY
4.2.1. The General Assembly (“GA”) comprises the full and regional members as voting members, and associate and observer members as non-voting members. It is the supreme authority of the ECRA.
4.2.2. The GA convenes annually at the invitation of the Secretary General, but not more than 14 months may elapse between the annual meetings of the General Assembly.
4.2.3. The GA will be chaired by the President of the ECRA for the time being or in his absence by the Vice President. In the absence of both such officers the most recently serving President, or if none most recently serving Vice President shall chair the meeting until it has appointed a Chair.
4.2.4. The Secretary General shall give at least two months written notice of the annual meeting of the GA and the Agenda to all members.
4.2.5. Members motions for office must be submitted in writing to the Secretary General no later than three months before the assembly’s date.
4.2.6. Amendments to motions may be submitted after circulation of the agenda and, with the permission of the Chairman, may be made from the floor at the GA.
4.2.7. An Extraordinary Meeting of the GA (“EGA”) may be convened upon the requisition of a minimum of one third of the voting members delivered to the Secretary General specifying the business to be addressed. The Secretary General shall thereupon convene an EGA to meet not earlier than one month and no later than two months thereafter and, save with the permission of the Chairman of the meeting, the business of the EGA shall be limited to the business set out in the requisition (including any amendments proposed at the EGA itself). 4.2.8. The annual meeting of the GA will include the following items on the agenda, and may include other items if proposed by a member or the Committee: – Election of the Committee members and auditors (in years in which an election is due), – Receiving considering and accepting or rejecting the annual report of the President, the annual financial statements, and the report of the auditors, – Considering the budget for the next fiscal year proposed by the Committee and setting a budget, – Deciding on any applications for admission to membership and any motions to expel members, – Setting the Subscription or subscription rates for the coming year. – Any other business proposed by any member of which 3 months notice has been given to the Secretary General (unless the meeting waives or shortens this time limit in any particular case).
4.3. THE COMMITTEE AND OFFICERS
4.3.1. The GA elects the Committee for a period of four years.
4.3.2. No individual may serve on the Committee for more than 8 consecutive years.
4.3.3. No more than 2 members of the Committee may be from the same country. The President and the Secretary must be from different countries.
4.3.4. The Committee consists of the President, Vice President, Secretary General, and other Ordinary Members.
4.3.5. The members of the Committee are not to be paid by the ECRA, except that actual bona fide expenditure incurred on the ECRA’s behalf by a member of the Committee may be refunded at the ECRA’s discretion.
4.3.6. All members of the Committee shall act in the interests of the ECRA as a whole and shall not act, in their role as Committee members, as the delegate or at the direction or control of the member to which they belong nor of the country or region from which they come.
4.3.7. The Committee, or any member of it, may be removed from office by the GA or an EGA by a motion passed by two thirds of the votes cast provided the Committee or committee member concerned has or have been given 4 weeks notice of the motion and has or have had the opportunity to address the GA or EGA before the vote is taken.
4.3.8. Subject to this Constitution the Committee may adopt such procedure as it may from time to time agree.
4.4. THE PRESIDENT
4.4.1. The President has responsibility for the leadership and representation of the ECRA and chairs all meetings of the GA and the Committee (if present) and represents the ECRA. He is responsible for the normal conduct of business.
4.4.2. Together with Secretary General the President is the authorised legal signatory for the ECRA, both signatures being required (save that for routine correspondence only one signature is required). If one of these two signatories is not available the Vice President may act as a signatory in the place of one of them.
4.5. THE VICE PRESIDENT
4.5.1. The Vice President deputises for the President in his or her absence, and assists the President with such of the President’s tasks as the President may request.
4.5.2. The Vice President may act as a signatory on behalf f the ECRA in the circumstances set out in 4.4.2 above.
4.6. SECRETARY GENERAL
4.6.1. The Secretary General is responsible for the proper administration, record keeping and financial affairs of the ECRA.
4.6.2. The Secretary General acts as a signatory on behalf of the ECRA as set out at 4.4.2 above.
4.7. SUBCOMMITIES AND WORKING GROUPS
4.7.1. Subject to this Constitution the Committee may establish such Sub-Committees, Commissions and Working Groups with such terms of reference and for such purposes as the Committee may from time to time decide.
4.7.2. The annual report of the President to the GA shall summarise what such bodies have been established and report on their work.
4.8.1. The GA shall elect two auditors for a period of four years, who shall not be members of the Committee (nor have served as a member of the Committee in the preceding two years)
4.8.2. The auditors shall inspect the financial records of the ECRA and report to the annual meeting of the GA as to whether the accounts presented by the Committee give a fair and reasonable view of the ECRA’s financial affairs.
4.8.3. The auditors may make such other report to the GA or EGA as they think appropriate in the interests of good governance of the ECRA.
4.8.4. The auditors, or either of them, may be removed from office by the GA or an EGA by a motion passed by two thirds of the votes cast provided the auditor or auditors concerned has or have been given 4 weeks notice of the motion and has or have had the opportunity to address the GA or EGA before the vote is taken.
5. QUORUM & VOTING
5.1. The quorum for a meeting of the GA shall be half of the members of the General Assembly entitled to attend and vote either by attending in person or by proxy or by electronic means.
5.2. The quorum for a meeting of the Committee shall be half the members of that committee entitled to attend and vote either by attending in person or by proxy or by electronic means.
5.3. Voting shall not be secret unless on any particular matter the meeting considering it resolves, or Chairman of it directs, that the voting on a motion or election shall be by secret ballot.
5.4. Where a voting member appoints a proxy it shall notify the Secretary General of the identity of the member appointed as a proxy before the commencement of the meeting.
5.5. Motions amending this constitution, expelling a member, removing the Committee or a member of it, or an auditor or auditors from office, shall only be deemed passed if two thirds of the votes cast are in favour. All other motions or elections shall be decided by a simple majority save that in the event of a tie the Chairman of the meeting shall have a casting vote.
5.6. At GA and EGA meetings full National Members have two votes on any motion or election.
5.7. At GA and EGA meetings Regional Members have one vote on any motion or election, save that where there are more than 2 regional members from any one country no more than two votes may be cast by Regional members from the country. How those 2 votes shall be shared amongst the Regional Members from the same country shall be agreed between them, and in default of agreement shall be as decided from time to time by the President.
5.8. Associate & Observer Members shall have no voting rights. 5.9. The President and Vice President shall each have one vote save that they shall not be entitled to vote at the GA at which they retire, nor in the election for members of the Committee.
6.1. The ECRA is to be financed by an annual subscription set at the annual GA. Different rates may be set by the GA for different classes of membership.
6.2. The ECRA may also raise funds by sponsorship, grants, endorsements, trading or other means provided such activity remains ancillary to the purposes set out in Article 2.
6.3. The initial subscription at the date of founding shall be 100 Euros per member.
6.4. Members’ expenses in respect of participating in the affairs of the ECRA shall be borne by the member concerned except for any specific expenditure authorized by a GA or EGA.
7. DISSOLUTION OF THE ECRA & AMENDMENT OF CONSTITUTION
7.1. The ECRA may be dissolved, or this Constitution amended, only by a GA or EGA meeting passing a motion to that effect by two thirds of the votes cast.
7.2. A motion to dissolve the ECRA must state how any assets are to be disposed of, and such disposal must be made for purposes similar to those set out at Article 2 above.
20th October 2012 ECRA meeting in Jura, France