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Together - Statutes


a) Conceptual framework

Co-responsibility for the well-being of all, including future generations, is understood as being the widely shared feeling of responsibility for the community of humans and our planet, without exclusion or discrimination, its application in daily, individual and collective practice, and its systematic incorporation in the political, legal and socio-economic organisation of society.

Co-responsibility for the well-being of all presupposes the individual and collective participation of citizens in defining the well-being of all as a societal objective, and in the framing and implementation of activities and action plans to achieve this goal. It is the most advanced expression of democracy, placing each citizen on an equal footing in the recognition of his or her rights (the well-being of all without exclusion) and duties (the shared responsibility of all in securing those rights). It is also the practical expression of social harmony, solidarity and reciprocity, through the feeling of belonging to a global community.

Today promoting co-responsibility for the well-being of all has become a necessity in order to address the challenges facing humanity in building the societies of the future. In a context of interdependence and limited resources at global level, it is a response to the shortcomings of GDP as the sole indicator of progress, making a break with the view of well-being as restricted to consumption alone. It paves the way for reversing the unlimited growth of disparities in order to focus the interest on human being and its dignity and to move towards equal rights and responsibilities and the eradication of poverty and forms of stigmatisation. It makes it possible to achieve much greater efficiency by ensuring consistency of action and stakeholders, enhancing areas of complementarity and synergies, better harnessing and use of existing resources (both material and non-material), the multiplying effects to which it gives rise, particularly through social cohesion, recognition and the regaining of self-confidence and the forms of reciprocity it fosters, resulting in a drastic reduction in costs, for example regarding job creation. It also makes it possible to overcome the difficulties of energy transition, environmental protection and, more generally, sustainable development, through the involvement and consultation of the various territorial levels, from the grass roots to the objectives agreed at global level.

Co-responsibility for the well-being of all, including future generations, is built up, first of all, at local level in urban and rural areas. It also presupposes the drawing up of an appropriate, comprehensive political framework, asserting common values and principles, and combining participatory and representative democracy (with a redefinition of the latter as a means of facilitating the former).

In order to build up co-responsibility for the well-being of all, there must also be a process of experimentation and methodological capitalisation, learning from successes and failures, identifying the best solutions and consolidating best practice, whether in action in the field, in forms of organisation or in the political sphere. Such a process requires a networking of territories taking part in building up co-responsibility, together with the regional, national or international public entities offering their support.

b) Background

Practices of co-responsibility, sharing and solidarity have always existed, but often in too dispersed a way. Such practices must be able to be enhanced and systematised in new forms of democratic governance as a vehicle for societal progress towards the well-being of all. Some are already (or about to be) working towards this goal on a territorial basis and/or in networks of exchanges and capitalisation, such as the Cittaslow network, Transition Towns, the Sustainable Cities Network, etc.

In an attempt to ensure systematisation and capitalisation, various towns and rural areas have, since 2006, got together as “Territories of Co-responsibility”, encouraged by the Council of Europe as part of its strategy and action plan for social cohesion, defined as society's capacity to ensure the well-being of all through the co-responsibility of private and public stakeholders and citizens, and with the support of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. Their gradual networking has made it possible to develop a process of capitalisation, formalised in the methodological framework we have termed the SPIRAL approach (Societal Progress Indicators for the Responsibility of All).

In September 2009, the first International Meeting of Territories of Co-responsibility took place in Mulhouse (France), a pioneering city in this process. This was the starting point for the informal establishment of the International Network of Territories of Co-responsibility “Together for Territories of Co-responsibility”, with the financial support of the EU (URBACT programme). Three years later, in November 2012, the second International Meeting of Territories of Co-responsibility was held, once again in Mulhouse. At that meeting it was decided to introduce a rotation of co-ordinators, leading Mulhouse to hand over its role of co-ordinator to the towns of Braine l'Alleud (Belgium), Kavala (Greece) and the Inter-municipal platform of Greater Lisbon (Portugal) up to the 3rd International Meeting of Territories of Co-responsibility to be held in Braine-l'Alleud in 2015. It was also decided to establish the network officially as a legally constituted entity.

These statutes are the statutes of the formally established International Network of Territories of Co-responsibility, approved at the network’s Constituent General Assembly, held in Strasbourg on 4 November 2013.

c) Definitions

The International Network of Territories of Co-responsibility, “Together for Territories of Co-responsibility” or, more simply the “Together Network”, comprises territories of co-responsibility throughout the world.

A territory of co-responsibility is a territorial entity (village, neighbourhood, municipality, grouping of municipalities, etc.) in which a process of consultation has emerged in order to frame and implement new forms of co-responsibility between all stakeholders, both public and private, and citizens to undertake the necessary changes to ensure the well-being of all, future generations included, in an equitable relationship, and to contribute to the building up of co-responsibility for the well-being of all at local and global level.

To successfully implement this process, each territory of co-responsibility is a local multi-stakeholder platform representing the various existing public, private and citizen sectors, or those created ad hoc. This local multi-stakeholder platform may have a variety of names, depending on the history, culture and laws of each country or region. For example, “Social Network” in Portugal, “Citizen Assemblies” in Turkey, “Support Commission” in Wallonia, “Regional Partners Commission” in Cape Verde, or “Local Co-ordination Team“ or “Local Support Group”, depending on the terminology used in certain EU projects, such as Urbact, etc.

Each local multi-stakeholder platform chooses one or more individuals able to play the role of facilitator(s) of the process and the SPIRAL approach at local level. These SPIRAL facilitators are given training and follow-up support from the Together Network and act as technical interface between the Together Network and the local multi-stakeholder platform to which they belong to assist the process. In addition, trained SPIRAL motivators provide local technical support in each country, or at regional level.

Article 1: Constitution

The undersigned founding Territories of Co-responsibility shall constitute the International Network of Territories of Co-responsibility in the form of an association, entitled “Together, International Network of Territories of Co-responsibility” or, in its abridged form, “Together Network”.

Article 2: Members

The full members of the Together Network are the multi-stakeholder platforms in each territory of co-responsibility, whether informal or legally established and/or the unifying structures of these platforms, corresponding to several neighbouring territories (such as the supraconselhias social network platforms in Portugal). Territories which identify with the principle of co-responsibility for the well-being of all, such as the Cittaslow Network, the Agenda 21 Territories Network, etc. may also become full members. Each full member shall appoint internally a person as its representative in the Together Network, who may be replaced at any point.

The municipal authorities of the Territories of Co-responsibility, and the regional, national or international public authorities and other national or international organisations which promote a policy to nurture co-responsibility for the well-being of all and support territories of co-responsibility shall be invited to become ex officio members of the Network.

Associate members may be natural persons or legal entities who subscribe to the principles of co-responsibility for the well-being of all who wish to contribute in one way or another to the development and extension of the Together Network, and strengthen co-responsibility for the well-being of all in society, being or not an actor in a Territory of Co-responsibility.

Only full and ex officio members shall have voting rights in the general meetings.

Article 3: Aims

The aims of the Together Network are:

  • to promote co-responsibility for the well-being of all, at all levels, in partnership with the organisations working towards this goal;
  • to support territories of co-responsibility, including in the initial phases of their establishment;
  • to provide training, in particular for facilitators and motivators;
  • to facilitate exchanges and partnerships between territories of co-responsibility at all levels (local, regional, national, international);
  • to promote experimentation of new practices which strengthen the processes of co-responsibility for the well-being of all;
  • to ensure networked methodological capitalisation, in particular in the context of the SPIRAL methodology;
  • to promote proposals for public policies which seek to develop co-responsibility for the well-being of all, in particular the proposals drawn up within the Network, based on practices in the field;
  • to engage in dialogue with regional, national and international public institutions, in particular with regard to the proposals referred to immediately above;
  • to provide input to the wikispiral.org website and any other communication tool which will serve the aims of the Network;
  • to carry out any other activity which strives to assert and encourage co-responsibility for the well-being of all, including future generations, in society.

Article 4: Headquarters and delegations

The Together Network headquarters I located in: Praça da República 7630-139 Odemira (Portugal). The Together Network may open delegations in any country or region if the members concerned so wish.

Article 5: Co-ordination bodies

Co-ordination of the Together Network shall be ensured by:

  • a Management Board, comprising three full members (Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary); its role shall be to co-ordinate the Network between general meetings, with the support of the Secretariat;
  • a General Assembly Bureau, comprising three full or ex officio members (Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary) to organise and ensure the smooth running of the Network’s general meetings;
  • and an Auditing Committee comprising three full or ex officio members (Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary) to verify the proper management of the Network, in particular the annual financial statements, with the support of the Secretariat.

These different functions shall be specified in the Rules of Procedure.

All officials shall be elected for a period of 2 to 4 years by the Constituent General Meeting, then by the Extraordinary General Meetings to be held on the occasion of the International Meetings of Territories of Co-Responsibility.

Article 6: Ordinary General Meetings

Ordinary General Meetings shall be held twice a year: once before the end of March to approve the Management Board’s report and the annual accounts of the previous year, and again before the end of the year to approve the action plan and budget for the following year.

The Ordinary General Meetings shall not require the physical presence of members, but may take place via the Internet. Arrangements for the convocation and functioning of the meetings shall be specified in the Rules of Procedure.

Article 7: Extraordinary General Meetings

Extraordinary General Meetings shall be held at the same time and at the same venue as the International Meetings of Territories of Co-Responsibility, which shall be held every three years, on a rotational basis between the territories of co-responsibility in the various countries. Their functions and convocation and functioning arrangements shall be specified in the Rules of Procedure.

Article 8: Secretariat

The Together Network shall have a secretariat to assist the Network’s co-ordination bodies in their duties and in carrying out the action plans agreed upon by the general meetings. The Secretariat may be based in the association’s headquarters or in certain delegations and/or in other places, being decentralised (working remotely), in particular for all the services carried out via the https://wikispiral.org website and any other online instrument, and for maintenance thereof. The composition, responsibilities and operation of the Secretariat shall be specified in the Rules of Procedure.

Article 9: Members’ obligations

  • members shall sign the Charter of Territories of Co-responsibility (appended to the Rules of Procedure);
  • members shall take part in the activities of the Together Network and contribute to the achievement of its objectives.
  • members shall pay an annual subscription. The amount thereof shall be decided by the Constituent General Assembly, and then by the Extraordinary General Meeting and shall be recorded in the Rules of Procedure.

Article 10: Members’ rights

Members shall be entitled to all the services provided by the network, including:

  • the services provided on the https://wikispiral.org website, and, if appropriate, any other online instrument developed by the Network;
  • the remote support of the Secretariat;
  • the training organised by the Network;
  • the exchanges promoted by the Network, in particular exchanges of practices, methodological capitalisation, the establishment and operation of specific thematic networks etc., whether via the website, meetings or field visits.

A member shall be admitted on a proposal from a member entity or on an expression of interest, subsequently approved by the Management Board which shall verify that the member satisfies the criteria set out in Article 2, and then confirmed by the next Ordinary General Meeting.

A member may be excluded if it has deliberately and unjustifiably prejudiced the Together Network or a member of the Network, or if it has not fulfilled its obligations for a period of three years. Exclusion shall be proposed by the Management Board which shall inform the member concerned, and shall be approved or rejected at the following Ordinary or Extraordinary General Meeting to be held at least one month later to grant the member concerned sufficient time to present the arguments in its defence.

Article 12: Rules of Procedure and amendments

These Statutes are supplemented by Rules of Procedure which shall specify the functioning of the Network not stipulated herein. Any amendment to the Statutes or the Rules of Procedure may be decided only at an Extraordinary General Meeting, on a proposal from the Management Board or the General Assembly Bureau.

Page last modified on Wednesday 27 of November, 2013 16:34:48 UTC