In all civil society groupings of like-minded people, an agreed and ordered structure serves to enable a body to meet the prescriptions of its members. In this regard FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, is no different. Formed under Article 60 of the Swiss Civil Code, FIATA’s Statutes govern the operation of the entity to its members.
The term ‘member’ used in the not-for-profit sector describes many different sets of people. At FIATA, however, member has a specific legal meaning defined in Article 4.1. This article addresses core FIATA members with voting rights; that is Association Members. Such entities have satisfied the requirements of formal membership, complied with the application process, and been approved by the General Meeting on a motion of the Presidency (Article 4.2 applies).
Understanding the definition of a FIATA Association Member is important for several reasons, which include:
- knowing who must be notified of the annual General Meetings or Special Resolutions/Special General Meetings;
- complying with any legal requirements as to the FIATA members register;
- determining who may have rights and obligations as a ‘member’.
Association Members can have rights and obligations under both the Swiss Civil Code, as well as the FIATA Statutes themselves. These Statures form an agreement between FIATA and its members. As to Association Members’ rights, it is important that their respective delegates are familiar with the FIATA Statutes and policy documents as set out in the FIATA Association Policy Handbook.
OVERVIEW OF GENERAL MEMBERS’ RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS
- voting rights (at the General Meeting, under Article 5.2.7), usually four votes for each Association Member;
- the right to receive notice of meetings and to attend certain meetings. Article 5.2.2 requires the call of meeting for the General Meeting to be made at least six weeks before the meeting, to the email address held in the FIATA register of Association Members;
- the right to nominate people to hold formal roles in FIATA. As to nominations for the Presidency (Article 5.3.3) and the Extended Board (Article 5.4.1), nominations are required in writing in the prescribed form, four months before the General Meeting;
- the right to appoint as well as to remove members (Article 5.2);
- the right to appoint delegates. As to Institute nominations, with voting rights, these are covered by Article 7.9;
- members of Standing Committees/Working Groups (ad hoc) are appointed on the written nomination of the respective Chair and confirmed by the Presidency (Article 7.10);
- the right to access certain documents;
As to the above, Article 5 and 7 of the Statutes should be read in conjunction with FIATA Policy Documents.
- Document 10/87 Rules of Procedure of the Extended Board, 17 October 2001.
- Document 10/110 Rules of Procedure of the General Meeting, 26 September 2008.
- the requirement to pay membership fees. Article 4.7 sets the deadline to pay the annual membership contribution for 31 May of each calendar year. It is important to note that this financial requirement is a condition for the abovementioned rights of Member Associations;
- the requirement to follow FIATA rules;
- y obligations of the General Meeting, as set out in Article 5.2;
This brief overview of rights and obligations was to be provided to Association Member delegates at the FIATA HQ meeting in March 2020, as the first in a series of presentations to strengthen the aspect Know your FIATA over future HQ meetings. We hope to complete the articles in future sessions at the HQ meeting in March 2021.