Constitutional principle of responsibility in an Environmental Organization

Betsan Martin, Michael Pringle, Environment and Conservation Organisations of New Zealand ECO, September 2016

The case study examined the process of adding a principle of responsibility into the constitution of Environment and Conservation Organizations of New Zealand (ECO). ECO is a national, member-based umbrella organization of environmental groups in New Zealand, and engages in international environmental policy, negotiations, and organizations, including the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Amendments to the constitution in 2013 were proposed by Betsan Martin, a member of the Executive. The constitutional amendment process began with a focus on engagement with Māori interests and principles governance in the Treaty of Waitangi (1840), (re Charter for Responsibility principle on respecting diversity of knowledge systems).

Principles of responsibility on managing resources for the Common Good, taking account of long term consequences of decisions, and uniting with others are references for constitutional provisions for responsibility and climate policies.

Over a period of three years, 2013 – 2016, the Executive and members considered amendments to the Constitution and adopted principles of responsibility in its Constitution. To support the proposals, and member engagement, Briefing Papers were prepared for the Executive and for members. Over the 3 years of discussions, the constitutional amendments were expanded to include specific reference to principles of responsibility and climate. The amendments were approved in August 2016.

Case study period: 2013-2016

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