Statute
27 / Oct / 2015
Statute of the Georgian National Platform of Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum
(Approved by the General Assembly of the Georgian National Platform on March 6,
2018)

1. General Provisions
1.1. The Georgian National Platform of Eastern Partnership is an association of local and international non-commercial legal entities registered in Georgia aiming to participate in Georgia’s European integration processes, to popularize democratic values, and to advocate for the interests of citizens toward improved overall wellbeing in the country. The member organizations of the Georgian National Platform agree that EU integration is the most perspective way for Georgia’s economic, social and political development and by joining the Platform they
commit themselves to promote this process.
1.2. Georgian National Platform is a member of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society
Forum.


2. Goals of Georgian National Platform
2.1. The goals of Georgian National Platform are as follows:
a) monitor the fulfillment of commitments undertaken under the Association Agreement and advocate for positive changes at the national as well as European level by promoting dialogue among the public, civil society and private sectors;
b) raise public awareness about the importance of the European integration process;
c) ensure effective functioning of the National Platform to achieve its set goals;
d) promote the implementation of the goals set by the Joint Declarations of the Eastern Partnership Summits and the EU-Georgia Association Agreement of the European Neighborhood Policy and other joint events, including:
- implementation of measures envisaged by the priority spheres of the EU-
Georgia Association Agreement and other joint documents and the Action
Plan;

- harmonization of Georgian legislation with that of the European Union, including approximation of trade and investment regulation laws and practices with EU standards in all spheres;

- creation of the necessary conditions for the effective implementation of the
Association Agreement;

- participation in the Civil Society Platform (hereinafter Georgian-European
Platform) as determined in Article 412 of the Association Agreement and
formation of the dialogue forum of the civil society as determined in
Article 241 of the same Agreement;

- in the sphere of democratization, human rights and rule of law;

- supporting the movement of citizens and simplification of visa rules for them in a safe environment;

- strengthening energy security and cooperation in the sphere of long-term, stable and safe energy supplies and transit;

- sustainable development and environmental protection;

- promotion of business development, including support for small and medium businesses;

- promotion of social dialogue and partnership;

- studies, technologic development and innovation;

- education, training and youth;

- agriculture and rural development;

- transport;

- cooperation in the sphere of culture;

- regional development and cooperation on the regional level

e) promote civil society development with regard to the Eastern Partnership, including through information, involvement and mutual cooperation.


3. Forms of Activities


3.1. To achieve the goals set by the Statute, the National Platform shall:
a) promote raising public awareness about EU integration;
b) set up five working groups in line with the five thematic platforms of the Eastern Partnership as well as subgroups, taking into consideration the key initiatives and other directions of the Eastern Partnership in accordance with Article 9 of the Statute;
c) discuss the implementation of the five thematic platforms of the Eastern Partnership as well as special initiatives of the partnership in Georgia, including through studies and monitoring;
d) provide society with information about the results of the studies and discussions;
e) submit the results of the discussion in the form of recommendations/opinions to the Georgian Government, Parliament, European and Euro-Atlantic structures;
f) cooperate with civil society organizations and public agencies of Georgia;
g) promote the correct and efficient implementation of recommendations shared by the Georgian National Platform of Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in Georgia;
h) cooperate with the EU Delegation to Georgia and the European Commission;
i) cooperate with the National Platforms of Civil Society Forums of other Eastern
Partnership member states;
j) cooperate with international, EU and third countries’ civil society organizations participating in the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum;
k) cooperate with working groups, steering committees and other structures of the
Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum;
l) cooperate with the Georgian-European Platform as well as the Civil Society
Dialogue Forum.


4. Georgian National Platform Membership
4.1. Any local and international non-entrepreneurial (non-commercial) legal entity registered in Georgia, who shares the goals and values of National Platform of Eastern Partnership, excluding those entities that have been founded by legal entities of public law, may become a member of the National Platform.

4.2. Besides the requirement set forth in paragraph 4.1 of this Article, an organization willing to join the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Georgian National Platform shall:
a) be registered in accordance with Georgian legislation for two years or more upon submitting a written application for the National Platform membership;

b) have at least one year of experience working in any sphere/spheres of the five thematic platforms of the Eastern Partnership;

c) have relevant human resources for constant participation in the Platform’s activities.
4.3. Interested organizations that fail to meet the criteria set forth in paragraph 4.2 of this Article may be invited, upon the recommendation of the Coordination Council, as associated members, who participate in the activities of working groups as observers.

4.4. An interested organization shall submit an official application to the Coordination Council of the Platform, wherein it shall indicate about the person/persons, who, in case of membership, will represent the interested
organization in relations with the Platform. Contact persons must not be public servants or officials of political parties. One and the same natural person shall not represent two different organizations in the Platform or its groups.

4.5. An interested organization must attach to the written application a registration certificate confirming its registration according to Georgian legislation and copies of the organization’s statute as well as information about the number of staff members and implemented projects.

4.6. The Coordination Council shall decide on the issue of membership no later than two months upon receiving the application based on consultations with the working group members.

4.7. Before the membership issue is decided, an organization seeking membership shall provide a written statement detailing its agreement of the Platform goals as well as recognition of the Code of Ethics as a mandatory set of rules.

4.8. A National Platform member organization shall participate in the activities of at least one working group of the Platform in accordance with the organization’s scope of activity and experience.

4.9. A National Platform member organization may participate in all working groups through different natural persons.

4.10. One and the same individual representing the National Platform member may simultaneously participate in two working groups—with voting rights in one working group and consultation vote in the other. Different individuals representing the same National Platform member organization have the right to participate in the activities of both working groups with voting rights.

4.11. The issue of assigning an organization seeking membership to working groups shall be decided by the Coordination Council on the basis of the organization’s application.

4.12. The Coordination Council shall notify the interested organization in writing about the final justified decision on its Platform membership.



5. Termination of National Platform Membership
5.1. Powers of the National Platform member organization shall be terminated:
a) on the basis of a personal statement;

b) upon liquidation of the organization or cancellation of its registration in accordance with the law;
5.2. By decision of the National Platform, a member of the National Platform may be expelled from the National Platform, if:
a) it seriously violates the commitments undertaken under the Statute;
b) its representatives seriously violate the rules set by the Code of Ethics;

c) it or its representative deliberately discredits the Platform goals;

d) its representative is absent, without a valid excuse that has been preapproved by the Coordination Council, from planned meetings of a working group/groups.

1) it is absent without a valid excuse from four consecutive meetings of working groups and/or the General Assembly;

2) it abstains from responding to letters, public statements and appeals prepared on behalf of the Platform in a consecutive manner over the course of a year;

3) it is absent from the meetings organized by the Platform, including sectoral meetings over the course of a year;

e) The head of the Platform member organization shall be notified about its representative committing the actions determined in subparagraphs “a”, “b”, “c” and “d” of this paragraph and be given a reasonable amount of time to withdraw the representative. If the Platform member fails to withdraw such a representative and to propose a new representative to the Platform, it will be expelled from the Platform based on sub-paragraphs “a”, “b”, “c” and “d” of this paragraph.


5.3. According to the decision of the Coordination Council, Platform membership may be suspended based on the circumstances envisaged by paragraph 5.4 of this article until the next General Assembly of the National Platform.

5.4. A decision about the expulsion of a member shall be made by a majority of votes of the members present at the Platform’s meeting by secret ballot.


6. Rights and Responsibilities of National Platform Members
6.1. National Platform member organizations may:
a) participate in the election of the members of the Coordination Council of the National Platform and have its representative elected as a member of the Coordination Council of National Platform only in one group preliminary defined by the organization;

b) attend the meetings of the Coordination Council on the basis of notifications sent at least three calendar days before the meeting. The right to attend the sessions of the Coordination Council may be restricted upon the motivated decision of the Coordination Council if the area or time allotted for the meeting does not provide a fair opportunity for the attendance;

c) get any information from the Coordination Council of National Platform about the activities of the National Platform, including about the date and agenda of the Council meeting no later than three days earlier, as well as receive a protocol within a week after the meeting.
6.2. National Platform member organizations shall:
a) participate in the work of the General Assembly of National Platform with no more than one preliminary defined representative;

b) participate in the uniform electronic communication network of the National Platform with no more than one preliminary defined representative; representative may be replaced based on prior notice;

c) participate in each working group of the National Platform with different representatives;


d) adhere to the Statute of the National Platform and the decisions made by the
Coordination Council;


e) be guided by the norms set forth in the Code of Ethics in relations with the
National Platform member organizations;


f) uphold the dignity of the National Platform.


7. General Assembly of National Platform
7.1. General Assembly of the National Platform Members is the supreme governing body of the National Platform, which is convened by the Coordinating Council or Chair of the Coordinating Council at least once a year;

7.2. The decision to put the issue of making amendments to the Statute of National Platform on the agenda of the General Assembly shall be made by the Coordinating Council, except for the case when the draft amendments and addenda are submitted upon the request of no less than one fifth of the Platform members;

7.3. General Assembly of the National Platform is quorate if it is attended by more than one half of members on the list. General Assembly makes decisions with a majority vote of the attendees if not otherwise envisaged by the Statute.

7.4. Each member organization has one representative in the General Assembly. Each member organization has one vote. The right to vote shall not be delegated to the representative of another organization.

7.5. General Assembly of the National Platform shall:
a) elect the members of the Coordinating Council among the representatives of the member organizations for one year by secret ballot, according to a simple majority of attendees. Each working group shall offer the General Assembly the candidates for the Coordinating Council membership. All candidates nominated by a working group shall be put to a vote at the General Assembly. The two candidates who collect the most votes among other candidates nominated by this working group shall be deemed elected. In case of an equal vote, the members shall be selected by sortition;
b) hear the annual report on the National Platform’s activities;

c) make a decision by the majority of attendees on the expulsion of National
Platform members from the Platform;

d) make a decision by the majority of members on the list on the dissemination of a statement/appeal on behalf of the National Platform, including through the electronic communication network. To make a decision using the electronic communication network, it is mandatory to raise the issue for discussion at least three days (72 hours) before putting the issue to a vote;
d1) approve the Platform Code of Ethics;
d2) by majority voting (if no less than more than half of the listed members are present) amend the Statute of the National Platform and other documents;
e) make a decision on the reorganization or self-liquidation of the Platform with a majority of 2/3 of the members.

8. Relation of the EU-Georgia Civil Society Platform
According to Article 412 of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, the Georgian National Platform of Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum shall promote the functioning of the EU-Georgia Civil Society Platform (hereinafter the "Georgian- European Platform"). Members elected from the National Platform shall directly participate in the activities of the Georgian-European Platform. The activities of the Georgian-European platform shall be determined under the regulations agreed with the European side according to which the Georgian side is represented by 18 members, including nine titular members. The rest of the members are alternatives. The members of the Georgian-European Platform elect the chairperson and the titular members who, in accordance with the Georgian-European Platform, have a formal right to participate in the voting at the meeting of this Platform. Alternate members having the consultancy vote may also participate in the meetings of the Platform.

8.1. Members of the Georgian-European Platform shall be elected according to the following procedures:
8.1.1. General Assembly of the National Platform elects 14 members of the Georgian-
European Platform by voting, by the majority of attendees, who represent the
National Platform working groups as follows:
• the first working group - four members,
• the second working group-four members, including two entrepreneurs’/employers’ association/union;
• the third working group - two members,
• the fourth working group - two members,
• the fifth working group - two members (Trade Union);

8.1.2. The working groups as well as the National Platform member organizations may nominate candidates;
8.1.3. Chairperson of the National Platform may participate in the Georgian- European Platformwith member status without elections;
8.1.4. The remaining three members shall be elected for the defined three directions based on a competition among the non-member non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by the commission created by the General Assembly; the commission is comprised of authoritative NGOs independent of the National Platform. The mandate of the three members elected to the Georgian- European Platform shall be equally distributed among the representatives of independent trade unions, entrepreneurs and other NGOs. The National Platform Secretariat shall provide logistical and organizational support, transparency and impartiality of the procedure.
8.2. Members of the Georgian-European National Platform will be replaced once every two years.
8.3. A joint work meeting is held with the participation of the National Platform Coordinating Council and the Georgian-European Platform periodically, at least once every six months to discuss timely issues concerning the Association Agreement;
8.4. Members of the Georgian-European platform shall cooperate with the relevant groups and subgroups of the National Platform.
8.5. The five candidates for membership of the Civil Society Dialogue Forum shall be selected at the Coordinating Council Meeting among the NGOs in accordance with the five directions defined in Chapter 4 of the Association Agreement;
8.6. Candidates representing civil society organizations, as well as scientific circles working on relevant directions defined by the Association Agreement, may be selected at the meeting;
8.7. The organizations that do not represent the National Platform may be selected as candidates for membership at the meeting.



9. Georgian National Platform Working Groups and Subgroups
9.1. To fulfill the goals set by the Statute, the National Platform (General Assembly) shall set up five working groups in accordance with the five thematic platforms of the Eastern Partnership. Working groups created by the National Platform are: 1. democracy, human rights, effective government and stability; 2. economic integration and convergence with the politics of the European Union; 3. environmental protection, climate changes and energy security; 4. contact between people; 5. social dialogue. Meanwhile thematic or field specific subgroups (hereinafter the “Subgroup”) may be created in the working groups on merit.

9.2. Subgroups of the Georgian National Platform
a) representatives of the Platform member organizations shall establish the subgroups within the working groups of the National Platform;
b) sub-groups shall be created 1) considering the key initiatives of the Eastern
Partnership and the most important challenges of the Association Agreement based on the decision of the Coordinating Council of the National Platform; 2) with the initiative of at least five members of the National Platform, respective group coordinator submits to the Coordinating Council the aforementioned proposal on the creation of the subgroup at the earliest meeting;
c) based on the decision of the group, the coordinator shall present the initiative to establish the subgroup to the Coordinating Council at the earliest upcoming meeting;
d) the National Platform member organizations may participate in all subgroups with different individuals;
e) subgroup coordinator attends the Coordinating Council meeting with a consultancy vote if the Council discusses issues related to the respective working group;
9.3. a working group shall meet at least once every two months. The working group may carry out its activities through the electronic communication network of the working group;
9.4. a working group is comprised of one representative of those organizations, whom the Coordinating Council assigns to a particular working group in line with the scope of activity and experience, on the basis of the member organization’s application;
9.5. a working group may make a decision on behalf of the working group, if the information about the meeting venue, time and agenda is available for all members of the working group at least five business days before the meeting. If the group members cannot attend the group meeting, they may submit their position regarding the issues on the agenda in advance or request participation through the means of telecommunication;
9.6. a working group may make a decision within the scope of the preliminary distributed agenda by a majority of attendees present. The consent of more than half of the members on the list shall be obtained to make decisions using the electronic communications network.
9.7. a working group may disseminate statements with consent of the majority of listed members;
9.8. activities of a working group are led by two coordinators of the working group who are members of the Coordination Council. Candidates are nominated by the groups registered two days prior to the General Assembly. The Group Coordinators are elected by the General Assembly of the National Platform among the representatives of the National Platform member organizations through a secret ballot for a one-year term.
10. Coordination Council of Georgian National Platform
10.1. The National Platform shall be coordinated by the Coordinating Council comprised of 11 members. The Council members are the group coordinators led by the Chairperson of the Coordinating Council.

10.2. Meetings of the Coordinating Council shall be held at least once every two months. Special meetings of the Coordinating Council shall be convened upon the initiative of the Chairperson or at the request of 1/3 of the Council members. The meeting of the Coordinating Council is quorate if over one half of its members are present. Decisions are made by majority voting if not otherwise envisaged by the Statute. The Council members shall be notified about the planned meeting and its agenda five days before the meeting, and shall be notified immediately in the case of convening a special meeting. Information about the Coordinating Council meeting and agenda shall be disseminated through the common network at least three days before the meeting.

10.3. The Coordination Council meetings shall also be attended by the National Coordinator with the consultancy vote. The National Coordinator may recommend the Coordinating Council, the working groups and the National Platform. The National Platform may request him/her to inform the Platform regarding the international events organized by him/her and/or with his/her participation.

10.4. The Coordination Council shall:

a) convene and hold the General Assembly of the Georgian National Platform; notify the members of the National Platform of the date and agenda of the meeting at least 10 days prior to the General Assembly;

b) solve an applicant organization’s membership issue by voting based on the information obtained by the coordinators as a result of preliminary discussions in the groups;

c) publish the draft amendments and addenda to the Statute of the National Platform at least two weeks before to submit it to the General Assembly;

d) discuss the cases of violation of the Code of Ethics and/or Statute of the National Platform and send a recommendation letter to that member, whose activities contradict the Platform goals or who seriously violates commitments undertaken under the Statute and/or the norms set by the Code of Ethics; in case of the failure to cease the violations within reasonable terms, the Coordination Council shall suspend the member’s powers and submit the recommendation on expulsion of the member to the General Assembly of National Platform;

e) based on the needs of the National Platform, the Coordinating Council shall raise funds for strengthening the National Platform and fulfilling the goals set by the Statute or shall submit a relevant recommendation for receiving financing by
member organizations in respect of those project proposals, which aim at strengthening the National Platform; elect the Deputy Head of the Platform among the members of the Coordination Council based on the recommendation of the Head of the Platform.

f) appoint and dismiss the employees of the National Platform Secretariat upon the recommendation of the Chairperson of the Coordinating Council;

g) approve the regulation on the activities of the National Platform Secretariat;

h) elect an editorial board of the National Platform’s Official Gazette, if applicable;

i) solve other issues, which, under the Statute, go beyond the competence of the
General Assembly;

j) a member of the Platform may request the Coordination Council to put issues on the agenda.
10.5. Term of office of a member of the Coordinating Council shall be terminated earlier if a) s/he no longer represents the organization in the Platform or the respective Group within which s/he was elected;)s/he is absent, without a valid excuse, from three consecutive meetings (or more than half of the regular meetings) of the Council. The Coordinating Council shall decide whether the member had a valid excuse.
10.6. In case of the termination of the term of office of a member of the Coordination Council, the person, who was first runner up by quantity of votes at the last General Assembly, shall become a new member of the Coordinating Council. In case of a tie, the member shall be selected by sortition. A newly elected member shall perform his duties during the remaining term of office of the excluded member.
10.7. A person cannot be elected as a member of the Coordinating Council for more than two consecutive terms.



11. Chairperson of the Coordination Council
11.1. The Chairperson of the Coordination Council shall be elected from among its members by the National Platform for a term of one year.
11.2. A person shall not be elected as a Chairperson of the Coordination Council for
more than two consecutive terms.
11.3. Any member of the National Platform may nominate a candidate for the Chairperson of the Coordinating Council at least 10 days before the General Assembly. The candidates nominated five days before the General Assembly shall confirm the nomination and submit his/her vision in writing to the National Platform.
11.4. The Chairperson’s term of office shall start from the moment of election and last until the election of a new Chairperson.
11.5. The Chairperson of the Coordinating Council shall represent the National
Platform in relations with the third persons;
11.6. Chairperson of the Coordinating Council shall:
a) lead the activities of the Coordinating Council and chair its meetings;

b) sign statements/appeals and other documents of the Coordinating Council and
National Platform;

c) coordinate the inter-group activities and apply to them with recommendations;

d) convene special meetings of the Coordinating Council, the working groups and
General Assembly;

e) manage the National Platform Secretariat, publications and web-pages of the
National Platform.

f) perform other functions as envisaged by the Statute.


11.7. Two Deputy Chairpersons shall be elected among the Coordination Council members by the Chairman of the Coordination Council. When selecting the Deputy Chairpersons, the Chairman of the Coordinating Council shall take into account that the persons selected for positions must represent the interests of civil society, private sector and trade unions. The Deputy Chairman shall
a) perform the assignments of the Chairperson;

b) in case of early termination of the Chairpersons’ powers or his/her inability to perform his/her duties, act as the Chairperson until the new Chairperson is elected by the General Assembly;


11.8. Only the General Assembly, by a vote of the majority of members, may terminate early the term of office of the Chairperson of the Coordination Council for non-fulfillment of duties, abuse of power and improper behavior contradicting the goals of the Statue of the National Platform.



12. Regional Representations of the Georgian National Platform
12.1. Regional representations of the National Platform shall be established to strengthen the National Platform;
12.2. The location of the representations, status of the Platform representative and the rule for recognition shall be determined by the Coordination Council by the voting majority based on consultations with the groups.

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