This organisation is run for charitable purposes only, as can be seen in the section on tax privileges, as laid down by German general fiscal law. The aims of the organisation are:
The policy of Naturefund will be realised through:
The national and international areas to be protected should be, to whichever extent possible, removed from the hands of mankind in order to provide an undisturbed habitat for plants and animals. In those areas where a complete uninterference by man would not be feasible, the aim of the organisation would be to attempt the best use of such areas, for example in the form of ecotourism or sustainable forestry.
Every natural person, regardless of religion or background can become a member of this organization.
This organization relies on active members, sponsors and honorary members.
Minors are more than welcome to become members of the organization. They need a signature from their legal guardian or in the case of children whose parents are married, the signature of both parents.
The request to modify the membership, e.g. from passive to active membership, must be made in writing to the executive committee at least three months before the end of the financial year. The modification of the membership is then accepted by a 2/3 majority at the annual general meeting.
Membership must be requested from the executive committee in writing. You can do this by post, fax or email. The executive committee will then take a decision based on your written application. Admission will be granted if:
Membership can be terminated by voluntary withdrawal, exclusion or upon death of the member.
Membership can be withdrawn at any time by way of a written explanation to the executive committee. This would then take effect at the end of the month in which the written explanation is received.
The exclusion of a member with immediate effect can occur if a gross offence against the policies, mission or interests of the organization is committed. The exclusion of a member is decided by majority vote from the executive committee. The member is then awarded two weeks in which to appeal this decision.
In the case of a conclusion of the membership for whatever reason, all duties related to the member relationship also come to an end. A reimbursement of contributions, donations or other types of support is in principle impossible. Thus there is no duty on the organization to reimburse any previous payments.
Membership fees are determined at the general meeting of members. The cost of annual membership and the means of payment is thus a universally-binding fees decree.
The organs of the organization are the:
This general meeting of members must take place at least once a year and it must also occur in the first half of the financial year. The general meeting is responsible in particular for the following items:
Meetings of the members are to be called according to the stipulated two-week notice period to be given in writing and a written agenda to be distributed by the executive committee. The meeting summons will be sent (whether by post, fax or email) to all members of the organization using the most recent address/contact details provided, and must indicate the time and place of the meeting. The day this calling to meeting is received and the day of the actual meeting are not included in the two-week time period. This time period is also upheld when invitations are sent by fax or email.
Requests for items to be placed on the agenda should be submitted to the executive committee in writing at least one week prior to the meeting. Any additional items will be announced at the beginning of the meeting. The agenda can be added to or amended by majority decision of the members during the meeting. This is not the case for changes to policies.
Active and honorary members are entitled to vote at the annual meeting of members. Sponsors however do not have the right to vote.
Special meetings of the members are to be called when a third of the voting members make a request in writing, with details of why it is necessary. Decisions at the meeting of members are taken simply by a majority vote of the voting members. Abstentions are not taken into account. When the votes are equally divided, the request is rejected.
The meeting of members is quorate when the meeting summons is carried out according to the rules and at least one third of the voting members is present. When less than one third of the members is present, a further meeting of members is convened which is considered quorate regardless of the number of members present. This condition will be outlined in the invitation.
In order to make changes to policies or decisions regarding the dissolution of the organization, a three quarter majority of the voting members must be present. In such situations the outcome is dependent on the number of valid votes given. Abstentions are classed as invalid votes.
Minutes of the general meeting of members will be taken and will be signed by the chairperson and the secretary (person responsible for taking the minutes).
The executive committee according to § 26 BGB consists of the chairperson. The acting executive committee according to § 26 BGB consists of the chairperson and his/her deputy. They represent the organization in judicial and non-judicial matters. Every member of the committee is authorized to represent the organization in this way.
The full executive committee consists of: the acting executive committee, the treasurer and the secretary.
The members of the full executive committee are selected at the general meeting of members and they remain in position for 4 years. Once this period of time is over, it is then possible for members of the committee to be re-elected. In any case members of the committee remain in place until the new election of office.
The executive committee is responsible for all affairs of the organization, so long as they are not already assigned by statute to another section. Particular responsibilities include: preparation and the issuing of the summons to the general meeting of members, drawing up of the agenda, execution of any resolutions made at the meeting of members, preparation of the budget plan and bookkeeping, production of the annual report, presentation of the annual plan, decision-making over applications for membership and over the exclusion of any members.
The full executive committee makes decisions at board meetings by a simple majority vote. When the vote is equal, the chairperson takes the final decision. In the absence of the chairperson, the deputy chairperson will decide. Minutes are taken at all board meetings. Meetings of the executive committee are called by the chairman and are not open to the public. The executive committee is able to provide itself with an agenda.
The executive committee is authorized to independently make the following types of amendments to the by-laws of the organization: simple editorial changes or those demanded by supervising, financial or administrative bodies, or by the registered organization authority. Such changes are reported at the next meeting of members.
Members of the board can be paid an appropriate sum for day-to-day tasks and time spent in the service of the organization. Expenses accrued in carrying out such tasks can be refunded in accordance with tax regulations (§ 670 BGB). The particulars of such payments and reimbursements will be decided at one of the members meetings with a simple majority vote. The acting executive committee members can act as employees of the organization. The arrangement of the contract of employment is made by the full executive committee (without the board member concerned), at a general meeting of members in order to determine the total level of compensation.
The two treasurers chosen by the meeting of members are to supervise the business accounts of the organization. At least one audit must be carried out each year and the results given at the annual general meeting.
In the event of the dissolution or annulment of the Association or in the event of the discontinuation of tax-privileged purposes, the assets of the Association shall pass to Deutsche Umwelthilfe, which shall use them directly and exclusively for non-profit purposes.
The above statutes were adopted by the founders' meeting in Wiesbaden on 8 April 2003 and amended at the general meeting on 18 December 2019.
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