Constitution

CONSTITUTION OF THE WORLD CONGRESS OF HERPETOLOGY

Revisions proposed in 23 November 2011, by

Jean-Marc Hero (Secretary-General Elect and chair of the Constitution Sub-Committee), Richard Griffiths (chair of the International Herpetological Committee), and the following members of the Constitution Sub-Committee (Linda Trueb, Marion Preest & Ron Heyer).

NOTE: Revised from the previous version adopted at Fourth WCH in December 2001.

This revised constitution was ratified unanimously by the WCH Executive Committee and the International Herpetological Committee on 2 March, 2012.

 

ARTICLE 1. NAME

The name of this organization is the World Congress of Herpetology.
ARTICLE 2. DEFINITION

As used throughout this Constitution, herpetology is defined as the study of all aspects of the zoological taxa Amphibia and Reptilia (exclusive of Aves)

ARTICLE 3. PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the Congress are to promote international interest, collaboration and co-operation in herpetology. These are to be achieved by holding periodic international congresses of herpetology, by establishing specialist committees, by serving as the Section of Herpetology of the International Union of Biological Sciences and by undertaking or encouraging such other activities as will promote these objectives.

ARTICLE 4. GOVERNMENT

4(i) Size. The congress shall be governed by an Executive Committee of not fewer than sixteen (16) and not more than twenty (20) members who in turn shall be advised by an International Herpetological Committee of not fewer than forty (40) and not more than fifty (50) members. Membership of both committees shall be open to all herpetologists and shall be as representative as possible of herpetological sub-disciplines, regional herpetological societies, and the geographic distribution of herpetologists.

4(ii) Term of Appointment of Members. Members of both the Executive and International Herpetological Committees are elected for two inter-congress terms, and are eligible for re-election by the Congress at which they are scheduled to retire.

Except as provided in Article 4 (iii) the terms of retiring members shall be deemed to expire at the end of the final General Meeting of a Congress.

4(iii) Office Bearers. The executive officers of the Congress shall be a Secretary-General, a Secretary-General Elect, a Treasurer, a Website Manager and the Chair of the International Herpetological Committee (IHC). The Secretary-General Elect and Treasurer shall be elected by members of the Executive Committee at its business session following the general business meeting of each Congress. The Treasurer shall be a current member of the Executive Committee. The retiring Secretary-General and Treasurer, if not re-elected, and notwithstanding the provisions of Article 4(i), shall remain members of the Executive Committee until the end of the calendar year in which their retirements occur.

Vacancies caused by the resignation or death of an executive officer between World Congresses will be filled by the Executive Committee, except that the Secretary-General Elect shall, in the event of the position of Secretary-General falling vacant, fill that position.

4(iv) Election of Members. New members of both the Executive and International Herpetological committees shall be elected by registered participants assembled at the general business meeting of each World Congress of Herpetology from a list of nominations submitted to the Executive Committee. If the number of nominations exceeds the number of vacancies, then the election shall be by open ballot of a format to be determined by the Executive Committee. Members shall be as representative as possible of herpetological sub-disciplines, regional herpetological societies, and the geographic distribution of herpetologists. Nominations will be announced prior to the congress.

4(v) Nominations for Membership. At least 18 months prior to a congress, the Secretary-General shall notify affiliated organizations and such herpetological journals and newsletters as he/she may determine, of a call for nominations for membership of the Executive and International Herpetological Committees.

All nominations for membership of these Committees must be received by the Secretary-General prior to the Business Meeting of a congress and must be seconded either by any two members of either the Executive or International Herpetological committees, or, in the case of the International Herpetological Committee, by the governing body of an Affiliated Organization.

4(vi) Filling of Vacancies. Vacancies caused by the resignation or death of a member of either the Executive or International Herpetological Committees will be filled by a person appointed by the Executive Committee, except that any vacancy on the Executive Committee will be filled by a member of the International Herpetological Committee. All such appointees shall automatically retire at the next World Congress of Herpetology but shall be eligible for re-election.

4(vii) Duties. The Executive Committee shall determine the date and venue of each World Congress of Herpetology [Article 5(i)] and shall appoint a Conference Director and Organizing Committee for each such Congress. Responsibility for the program for each World Congress is vested in the Executive Committee, which shall delegate authority to the Conference Director and/or Organizing Committee to undertake specific tasks and functions associated with each Congress subject to final review by the Executive Committee.

The International Herpetological Committee (IHC) shall act as an advisory body to the Executive Committee; it may either respond to specific requests by the Executive Committee orĀ  initiate matters to be considered by the Executive Committee. The IHC will provide and disseminate information about the WCH to the regional herpetological societies.

The Executive Committee and IHC members may nominate representatives or be asked to represent WCH at relevant international forums (e.g., IUCN World Conservation Union, International Union of Biological Sciences, and Global Biodiversity Information Facility) as required. Formal WCH representation must be approved by the Executive Committee.

4(viii) Conduct of Business. All officers and committee members shall accept, and conduct their business within, the guidelines of the Constitution.

The Secretary-General is a member of the Executive Committee and shall be responsible to the Executive Committee for the following functions that occur in association with the Congress to be held under her/his tenure: (1) co-ordination of the general business of the Congress, including all general correspondence, maintenance of records, the organization of all Executive Committee meetings and the circulation of minutes of all meetings to members of the Executive Committee; (2) receipt of nominations for membership of the Executive and International Herpetological committees; (3) establishment of an Organizing Committee for the Congress and appointing a Conference Director; (4) appointment of the Scientific Program Committee for the Congress and designation of the chair of this committee; (5) establishment of subcommittees with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee; (6) receipt and consideration of proposed resolutions for the congress; (7) appointment of a person to record minutes at the Executive Committee meeting sessions and the business meeting of the World Congress of Herpetology; (8) chairing the opening Plenary Session and the General Meeting at each WCH.

The Secretary-General Elect is a member of the Executive Committee and shall be responsible for undertaking all negotiations to obtain a host institution for the Congress to be held under his/her tenure as Secretary-General. The Secretary-General Elect should represent a portion of the World that complements the region represented by the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General Elect will also assist the Secretary-General in the execution of WCH matters.

The Treasurer is a member of the Executive Committee and shall be responsible for (1) keeping records and accounts of all monies received and dispersed by the Congress; (2) presenting an audited statement of accounts at the first Business Meeting of the Executive Committee at each Congress; (3) chairing the Fiscal Planning Committee; and (4) assuming an active role in fund-raising activities.

The Website Manager shall be responsible for maintaining the official WCH website under the direction of the Secretary-General and the Executive Committee. The Website Manager is an ex officio member of the Executive Committee and the Organizing Committee of the Congress.

The Conference Director is an ex officio member of the Executive Committee and the Organizing Committee of the Congress, and in that role, is responsible for (1) consulting with the Executive Committee and Organizing Committee to determine the appropriate fees (registration and other) and auditing requirements for the Congress; (2) presenting a complete budget for the Congress to the Executive Committee and Organizing Committee; and (3) arranging to indemnify members of the Executive Committee and Organizing Committee against any personal financial liability that might be incurred as a result of activities associated with the Congress.

The Executive Committee shall meet in a business session during the course of each World Congress of Herpetology and be chaired by the Secretary-General. Agendas for such meetings shall be drawn up by the Secretary-General and circulated to members via electronic, facsimile, or priority mail at least two months prior to the Congress. Between Congresses the Executive Committee shall conduct its business by electronic, facsimile, or priority mail, and on any voting matter the Secretary-General shall allow one calendar month from the date of posting of letters by air mail before forwarding a second copy to members who have not replied during this period. If a member fails to respond to this second letter within one calendar month then he or she shall be deemed to have abstained from voting. Failure to vote on three successive occasions will be taken to signify that a member wishes to tender his or her resignation.

The International Herpetological Committee shall neither meet nor conduct business independently of the Executive Committee, but shall exercise its duties and responsibilities through the Secretary-General.

4(ix) Subcommittees. The Secretary-General, with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee, shall establish subcommittees to carry out specific functions or to examine and report upon matters of specialized herpetological interest.

4(x) Finances. The Executive Committee shall solicit funds from individuals or organizations wishing to support the work of the Congress, shall retain surplus monies from individual Congresses and from the sale of Congress proceedings or symposium publication rights, and shall deposit such funds with a body such as a national society or scientific institution that is approved by the Executive Committee and that has its accounts subjected, at least annually, to professional audit.

The Executive Committee shall expend such funds as are necessary to conduct the business of the Executive and International Herpetological committees between congresses. The Treasurer shall keep records and accounts of all monies received and disbursed by the Congress and shall present an audited statement of accounts at the first business meeting of the Executive Committee to be held at each Congress.

4(xi) Records. The Secretary-General shall cause to be kept such written records as are necessary to ensure the effective management and continuity of administration of the Congress. Such written records are to be passed in their entirety by the Secretary-General to the Secretary-General Elect within three months of the change of incumbency.

Except that the Executive Committee may determine periodically that such archival records may be deposited in an institutional library or archive if the records are no longer required for the conduct of regular business.

4(xii) Meetings. The Executive Committee shall meet at such times and places as shall be determined by the Secretary-General, but shall conduct formal business only at those business meetings provided for in Article 4(viii). At such business meetings, decisions will require a simple voting majority of members present, except that changes to the Constitution require the procedures set out in Article 6.

The International Herpetological Committee shall meet at times and places to be determined by the Secretary-General.

ARTICLE 5. CONGRESSES

5(i) Venue and Date. Each World Congress of Herpetology usually shall be held in August/September every four years (not less than 3 years and not more than 5 years after the preceding congress). A call for bids shall be open one year prior to the preceding congress. Bids to host the WCH should be submitted to the Secretary-General Elect at a date specified (no less than three months prior to the preceding WCH). Bids should include information on the proposed WCH including: the Conference Director, the Organising Committee members, the chair and members of the Scientific Program Committee, Hosting Institution(s), proposed dates, and detailed information on the location (transport and accommodation available) and venue (conference facilities). Bids will be distributed amongst the Executive and IHC for feedback and consideration. The venue and date of each Congress shall be determined by the Executive Committee; except that the Executive Committee shall submit to a preferential vote at the general business meeting of each congress a list of suitable venues for the next congress and shall subsequently make every effort to put such a vote into effect.

5(ii) Language. The official language or languages of the Congress will be determined by the Executive Committee.

5(iii) Participants. Participation in any congress shall be open to all persons interested in herpetology, and is subject only to compliance with registration procedures and payment of the prescribed fee.

5(iv) Host Institution. The Secretary-General shall undertake all necessary negotiations to obtain a host institution for each Congress, and shall seek the approval of the Executive Committee prior to accepting the invitation of any institution to host a Congress.

5(v) Organizing Committee. The Secretary-General shall undertake all necessary negotiations to establish an Organizing Committee for each Congress, the composition of which must be ratified by the Executive Committee.

An Organizing Committee shall report to the Secretary-General no later than six months, and complete its work no later than 12 months, after the end of the Congress for which it was established.

5(vi) Conference Director. The Executive Committee shall appoint a Conference Director for each congress, who shall be responsible to the Executive Committee through the Secretary-General for all aspects of the organization of each congress. The Conference Director is to be an ex officio member of the Executive and Organizing committees, and will not be the chairperson of the Scientific Program Committee.

5(vii) Finance. Each World Congress is to be financially self-supporting. It is the responsibility of the Executive Committee, in consultation with the Conference Director and the Organizing Committee, to determine registration and other fees, auditing requirements, and to approve a Congress budget prior to entering into any contractual arrangements with the hast institution.

The Executive Committee, at its discretion, may make available to the Organizing Committee such funds, either as a loan or gift, as it may determine; conversely surplus funds from any one congress will be retained by the Executive Committee for the future conduct of the business of the World Congress of Herpetology.

5(viii) Indemnity. The Executive Committee shall ensure that appropriate action is taken under the laws of the host country to indemnify members of the Executive Committee, the Conference Director and members of the Organizing Committee against personal financial liability for any aspect of the Congress and its organization.

5{ix) Sections. The Executive Committee may establish such Sections of a congress as it deems necessary to meet the needs of specialist subgroups of herpetologists.

5(x) Program. Notwithstanding Article 4(vii) the program for each congress (including plenary speakers, contributed papers and symposium topics and convenors) will be developed by a Scientific Program Committee of nine members to be appointed by the Secretary-General, and to include the Conference Director and no more than three other members from the host country. The chairperson of the Scientific Program Committee will be appointed by the Secretary-General and will report to the Executive Committee through the Secretary-General. The Scientific Program Committee, through its chairperson, will propose a scientific program no later than six months before the Congress. Each symposium convenor will submit a list of proposed contributors to the Scientific Program Committee, which will arrange for the Secretary-General to issue formal invitations to all proposed contributors in consultation with the Executive Committee. The final program for each congress must be approved by the Executive Committee four months before the Congress.

5(xi) General Management Meeting. The Executive Committee shall ensure that each Congress program provides for the holding of a least one General Management Meeting. Such a meeting shall include the election to vacancies on the Executive and International Herpetological committees, discussion on nominations for the following WCH, and consideration of all congress resolutions. The meeting is open to all registrants of the congress.

5(xii) Publications. All rights to volume publications arising from Congress activities and programs, including editorial control, are vested in the Executive Committee. No symposia or other official meetings can be convened during the course of the congress or at the congressional venue without the explicit, prior consent of the Executive Committee.

ARTICLE 6. AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION

Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed (1) to any two members of the Executive Committee and/or International Herpetological Committee who also endorse the proposals and/or (2) by any two members of the Executive Committee and/or International Herpetological Committee; such proposals shall be subject to a vote conducted by electronic, facsimile, or priority postal mail among members of both Committees and shall be adopted if two thirds of the members voting favour the proposed amendments.

An amendment shall become effective upon adoption unless a later date is specified in the amendment itself.
ARTICLE 7. AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS

The Executive Committee, at its discretion, may confer upon particular international, transnational, national, and regional societies or associations of herpetologists in any country the status of an Affiliated Organization. The governing body of each such organization is thereby eligible to submit to the Executive Committee, at least three months prior to a congress, one nomination for membership of the International Herpetological Committee. Affiliated Herpetological Organisations will be listed on the WCH website with links to their website where appropriate. No other rights are conferred upon an Affiliated Organization. The Executive Committee, at its discretion, may withdraw the status of an Affiliated Organization.
ARTICLE 8. HONORS

The Congress shall not bestow honors of any kind on individual herpetologists, other than by involving them in the business of the Executive or International Herpetological Committees, or by their involvement in the proceedings of a Congress. Awards may be presented to best oral and poster presentations at WCH congresses.

ARTICLE 9. RESOLUTIONS

The Executive Committee shall consider and recommend action by a General Meeting of a congress on properly presented resolutions, whether such proposals are initiated within the Executive Committee, adopted by Sections of the congress or made by any group of twenty (20) or more persons in attendance at the congress. Such resolutions must deal only with matters relevant to herpetology and herpetologists. Any individual who wishes a Section to adopt a proposed resolution should, whenever possible, give notice of intent to the organizers of the Section in sufficient time to ensure that the proposal is included in the program and allotted sufficient time for discussion.

The Secretary-General shall receive proposed resolutions up to 24 hours prior to the General Meeting of a Congress and shall cause the submitted proposals to be announced to the General Meeting by posting or such other medium as he or she may determine.

The Executive Committee shall take whatever subsequent action may be required by resolutions of a congress, insofar as such action is consistent with this Constitution.

Formally adopted resolutions will be posted on the WCH website.

ARTICLE 10. DISTRIBUTION ON DISSOLUTION

Upon dissolution of the World Congress of Herpetology, the Executive Committee shall assign to the International Union of Biological Sciences, or such other international organization or organizations as it believes will best serve the interests of international herpetology, all assets and accrued income, less any expenses which the Executive Committee or its delegates may incur in arranging such a dissolution.

ARTICLE 11. PROHIBITIONS

Notwithstanding any provision of this Constitution which might be susceptible to a contrary interpretation:

a. The Congress shall be organized and operated exclusively for scientific and educational purposes.

b. The Congress shall not be organized or operated for any profit other than that which will enable the Congress to pursue its objectives.

c. No part of the assets or net income of the Congress shall be put to the benefit of any member or private individual.

Comments are closed.