During the General Members Meeting and Work Retreat (or “GIN Conference”), in November 2016, in Bangkok, Thailand, we discussed and voted on the drafted Constitution and By-laws. The drafts were subsequently finalised by the GIN Secretariat and sent for a final confirmation to all GIN members, in early 2017.
A lot of careful consideration went into preparing these texts; after consultation with you, our Members, the mandate provided by the 2014 GIN Conference, and consultation with similar organizations over a period of two years, we brought you these draft documents for your feedback and confirmation.
In developing these documents, we were guided by several principles:
1. Make the documents as plain and accessible as possible;
2. Clarify and encourage how members can engage with the organization;
3. Center Key Affected Communities (also called the Global South) in all areas of our organization;
4. Ensure that we spend the vast majority of our time and resources on members’ capacity development, programs, and strengthening our network;
5. Make voting accessible and simple for a global membership.
Furthermore, after the General Members Meeting and Work Retreat, a new Board of Directors was elected, and will come into its role in the second trimester of this year. The Board composition will shift to include 11 Board members: 8 who represent regions, and 3 South African directors who bring professional expertise, as required by South African law. This was debated and voted on during the GIN conference, and then included within the final Constitution and By-laws.
The Constitution and By-laws, in an exceptional and one-time vote, was subject to approval by confirmation (50% of the vote plus one) by Full Members at the GIN Conference. No other votes took place, in deference to the access and participation of Members who were not be able to be with us in Bangkok.
From this point, all future votes will be subject to different procedures and standards as described in the documents.
It was crucial to confirm the Constitution and By-laws so that we have reference points for carrying forward important tasks such as Board elections and implementing programs with the correct level of member participation. As we all know, founding documents are living documents, subject to the evolution and input of our members now and into the future. With documents like these, we have to start somewhere and we the Board believe that these documents provide a sensitive and strong architecture for our work together.
We hope that you too find these documents to be thoughtful, comprehensive, and a good place to create this significant benchmark.