1.1 The CEC may levy annual membership fees with approval from the members at an Annual General Meeting. Fees may be waived by the CEC in cases of genuine hardship. Where membership fees are waived for any particular member or members, all members must be notified.
2. MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES
2.1. Full Member Organizations: Organizations with full member status have the right of voice and vote in Member meetings. Staff of organizations with full member status may be elected to serve on the CEC. On any issue before MERN members for a vote, each full member organization is entitled to one vote.
2.2. Associate Member Organizations: Organizations with Associate Member status have the right of voice only.
2.3 Observers: Organizations that are being considered for either full or associated membership can be registered with MERN as an observer and receive all observer rights and status or Individuals or organizations who are interested in the activities of MERN may register as observers, be able to receive news of MERN events, attend MERN meetings and have right of voice only.
3 FULL MEMBERSHIP ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
3.1. Applicants for full membership of MERN must be organizations which:
3.1a. Are registered or in the process of registration with the Myanmar Government
3.1b. Are implementing or supporting on-going programs in Myanmar on issues related to the environment, inclusive of programs building governance, accountability of government and donors, and matters related to local environmental conditions affecting global atmospheric climate change.
3.1c. Do not engage in proselytizing. (Religious)
3.1d. Are not aligned with any political party.
4 ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
4.1. Applicants for Associate Membership of MERN may be organizations or civil society that are not and may not intend to be registered formally as an association or non-government organization in Myanmar e.g. community groups
4.2. Agencies eligible to be a Full Member may not choose Associate Member status instead of Full Member status.
5.1 Organizations that are being considered for either full or associated membership can be registered with MERN as an observer and receive all observer rights and status.
5.2 Individuals or organizations who are interested in the activities of MERN may register as observers, be able to receive news of MERN events, attend MERN meetings invited by CEC and have right of voice only.
6.1 The CEC may, with the consent of that person, appoint a person or persons to be Patron of the Network, to represent the Network in such manner as the CEC and the Patron(s) may agree from time to time as written in a signed TOR. The Patron receives all observer rights & status.
7 PROCEDURES FOR MEMBERSHIP APPLICATIONS
7.1 The organization applying for full membership must submit an application to MERN office. The application form will be developed and adapted from time to time by the MERN CEC, and will need to be accompanied by:
• A list of Board Members or other decision-making body;
• The organization’s official registration to operate in Myanmar or where not yet registered, application to register and letters of recognition from line ministries or state authorities will suffice where formal protocol agreements have not been completed. (Not required for Associate Membership.)
• Two letters of recommendation from existing full MERN members.
• The Organization’s profile including Vision and Mission Statement
• The organizations Charter/ Bylaws
7.2 The organization applying for associate membership must submit an application to MERN office. The application form shall include:
• A signed statement that pledges the Organization/group to adhere to the principles of MERN as stated in the Vision and Mission Statement and Charter of MERN;
• The Organization’s profile including Vision and Mission Statement
• A list or summary of the Organization’s current activities in Myanmar; and any brochure or other document used to explain the Organization’s purpose and activities; 3.7.3 Observer: – Personal/Organization profile
7.3 Upon receipt of the required documents, MERN Chief Executive Officer shall bring the application for membership to the next meeting of the Board.
7.4 The CEC shall admit the Organization to membership if, in the opinion of the CEC the organization meets the membership criteria.
7.5 If a letter comes from at least 25% of the Full Member organizations (or there are letters from 25% of members) which protests the Board inclusion or exclusion of an organization or group, the membership application must be taken to the next Members Meeting to be decided by a two-thirds majority in a secret ballot of the Full Member Organizations.
7.6 After joining MERN, Member organizations have to inform MERN in writing, and provide the necessary documentation, about any change which may affect their continued eligibility to fulfil their current member status.
7.7 MERN CEC can raise questions on or review an organization’s membership status on the basis of information provided by the organization or on the basis of any other information it obtains.
8 DISCONTINUATION OF MEMBERSHIP
8.1 Membership shall be discontinued under the following circumstances:
- The member organization submits a letter to the CEC advising of their intention to withdraw from membership.
- Full Member organizations decide by a two-thirds majority vote in a secret ballot that the member organization no longer meets the eligibility criteria as stated in these By-laws, or has activities and/or objectives that are not in accordance with the Vision, Mission or values of MERN.
- The CEC informs the member organization in writing that, in the view of the CEC, the member organization no longer meets the eligibility criteria as stated in Article 3.2.1, 3.2.2 and 3.2.3 or has activities and/or objectives that are not in accordance with the vision, mission or values of MERN, and the member organization does not appeal the decision within two months of receiving the CEC’s letter.
- If a member organization is absent and does not send a proxy for 3 consecutive members meetings without written official request (reapplying after lapsed membership is possible).
8.2 If the CEC removes an organization from membership then receives a letter of appeal from the organization, the matter must be taken to the next Members Meeting to be decided by a two-thirds majority vote in a secret ballot of the Full Member organizations.
8.3 The CEC must inform the membership of any changes in the membership of MERN at regular intervals and at least at every Members Meeting.
9 MEMBER MEETINGS
9.1 Member Meetings are open to all member organizations of MERN. The CEC may also choose to invite or exclude additional organizations or persons as observers or as speakers.
9.2 The primary language of MERN meetings and business will be conducted in Myanmar. Simultaneous translation will be provided during meetings by MERN to ensure inclusivity where needed. Where-ever possible minutes will be done in English as well as in Myanmar.
9.3 The CEC shall call an Annual General Meeting (AGM) every year, during which the Annual Report and Financial Statement will be presented, and election of any new CEC members will take place.
9.4 Specially-convened Members Meetings may also be called through the following procedures:
9.5(a) The CEC may call for additional members meetings to address urgent or critical issues.
9.5(b) Full Member organizations may call a special meeting by submitting to the Chairperson of the CEC a written request signed by at least twenty five per cent (25 %) of all members. In this case, a meeting shall be held within one month with confirmation within 2 weeks ahead, unless otherwise agreed.
9.5(c )The MERN Chief Executive Officer may call a meeting, with the permission of the CEC in case of an urgent matter affecting MERN and its membership.
9.6 All meetings shall be convened with a minimum of two weeks written notice to members.
10 QUORUM AT MEMBERS MEETINGS
10.1 A quorum for meetings is attained by registration of attendance of over 50 % of all Member organizations.
10.2 A quorum may be achieved by including proxies, postal votes or by video/phone conference (such as Skype).
10.3 Where a quorum is not achieved at a meeting, the Chairperson will defer the meeting and those in attendance will select a date for a meeting to be held.
11 PROXIES AND POSTAL VOTES
11.1 Only an organization’s Chairperson or Chief Executive Officer, or a senior staff member of the same organization nominated in writing by the organization’s Chairperson or Chief Executive Officer may vote in MERN meetings.
11.2 Where provision for a postal/email vote has been arranged, the organization’s vote may be submitted by postal/email ballot.
12.1 The Chairperson of the meeting is appointed by the CEC, is responsible to ensure that there is a process to ascertain whether the required quorum exists, and that each Member agency votes only once on each motion.
12.2 The Chairperson of the meeting will facilitate thorough discussion on all issues brought to the meeting for decision in order to help build consensus where possible.
12.3 Member organizations should submit to the CEC or Chief Executive Officer any issue they wish to be placed on the agenda at least one week before the Members Meeting. Where the request has been seconded by another member organization, the CEC is obliged to put the issue on the agenda.
12.4 The agenda of the Members Meeting must be circulated to all members at least one week before the meeting.
12.5 Discussion and voting on issues already on the agenda may be initiated by the Chairperson of the meeting.
12.6 Voting on issues not already on the agenda may be initiated by a Member agency making a motion and a representative of a second Member agency seconding the motion. If there is insufficient time to discuss and vote on the issue, the Chairperson may defer the discussion and voting to the next Members Meeting.
12.7 All motions must be recorded in writing before a vote is taken.
12.8 Votes on membership and the election of persons to committees will be by confidential/written ballot.
12.9 All other votes will be by show of hands unless there is a vote for another procedure. Voting may be deferred to allow broader voting postal/email voting if members present vote for that course.
12.10 The votes required for a motion to be passed are as follows:
12.10.1 Motions to amend these By-Laws require a vote of two thirds of all voting organizations, for which a quorum exists;
12.10.2 Election to the CEC require the candidate(s) to receive the highest number of votes within categories for the make-up of the CEC, in an election for which a quorum exists;
12.10.3 All other motions shall be carried by a vote of fifty percent (50%) plus one of all voting organizations, for which a quorum exists.
12.11 Further details on the procedures for CEC elections are shown given in Section 4.4 below.
12.12 While a MERN vote shall not be binding on member organizations, the CEC and MERN staff shall be bound by the decisions.
13 RIGHT TO INFORMATION
13.1 The following documents must be kept at MERN head office and be made available for inspection by members during ordinary business hours and, for hard copy upon the payment of a fee set by the CEC, not exceeding 1,000 kyats per page, a member must be given a copy of any page or pages that they request a copy of:
(a) Charter, (free soft copy)
(b) the register of members, (free soft copy)
(c) minutes of CEC meetings, (upon request with charges)
(d) annual reports of the Chairperson, (free soft copy)
(e) accountant’s and auditor’s reports, (upon request with charges)
(f) budgets, (upon request with charges)
(g) policies and other like documents, and (free soft copy)
(h) any other documents the CEC determines, from time to time.
(Documents relevant to member organizations will be accessed at MERN head office with the approval of CEC)
3.13.2 Upon a motion being carried, the CEC may destroy any of the documents listed in by-law 3.13 that have reached seven years of age, excluding
a) This Charter
b) Register of members
c) Minutes of CEC meetings
d) Legal registration document
e) Audit report
f) Fixed assets