APECS has grown continuously and rapidly since it was formed in 2007, with numerous National Committees being established. In 2014, APECS leadership recognized the need for a guiding document to help our many National Committees better understand and maximize their relationships within the APECS community. The document was updated in 2018 to reflect the changing realities and needs of APECS.
Appendix 2: Guidelines for APECS National Committees
Developed During the 2013-2014 APECS term by the Executive Committee, the Council and the Membership Involvement Committee consisting of National Committee representatives. Updated in the 2017-2018 term by the APECS Council (including National Committee representatives) and the Executive Committee.
Initially approved by the Council on September 9, 2014. Revision approved by the Council on 20 September 2018.
A group of APECS members may wish to form an APECS National Committee to better address the needs of early career researchers (ECR) to effectively plan and carry out activities, and to attract support and funding within their own country and within their own language(s). An APECS National Committee (NC) operates exclusively within the borders of one country irrespective of the size of the country (e.g. APECS Belgium or APECS Brazil).
A special case of National Committees are APECS Regional Committees (e.g. APECS Oceania). These may operate across borders to unite a number of different neighbouring countries who speak the same language and who do not have enough members in APECS to form separate National Committees. Regional Committees are only considered temporary solutions until each of the participating countries has enough active APECS members to form and sustain National Committees in each of the countries. The creation of a Regional Committee requires special approval from the APECS Executive Committee and will only be approved in justified cases where creating a National Committee is otherwise impossible.
While the APECS leadership strongly encourages the creation of just one National Committee per country, there is generally no limit to how many committees per country can be created. The creation of a second National Committee requires special approval by the APECS Executive Committee and will only be approved in justified cases where no solution can be found to work with one joint committee in the country.
For the purposes of APECS, both National and Regional Committees are referred to as National Committees (NC).
NCs can be named after a country (e.g. APECS Brazil) or a region (e.g. APECS Oceania). If a NC chooses a different name (e.g. Indian Polar Research Network or UK Polar Network), it must be stated clearly within all organizational documents and official communication that it is an APECS NC. It is essential to define and maintain the relationship between the NC and APECS in order to avoid confusion among APECS members and partners.
A National Committee needs endorsement from the APECS Executive Committee that formalizes and defines the relationship between APECS and the NC, before the NC is recognized as an NC within the APECS network. Endorsement is provided through an agreement between APECS and the NC:
There are 3 levels of endorsement / agreements for NCs within APECS:
- Letter of Endorsement (LoE) for emerging NCs who are just starting out, developing their structure and hosting initial activities. These are valid for 6 months at a time and are renewable.
- Letter of Agreement (LoA) for NCs who are well developed (i.e., have a structure, elected leadership committee, and ongoing activities), but not registered organizations themselves in their own countries and are therefore just committees within APECS. These agreements are valid for 2 years and are renewable.
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for NCs who are well developed (i.e., have a structure, elected leadership committee, and ongoing activities), but registered organizations themselves in their own countries. As they are technically separate organizations, they are more than just committees within APECS. An MoU must then be signed between the NC and APECS. These agreements are valid for 2 years and are renewable.
As soon as the NC is officially recognized by APECS:
- APECS will list the NC on its NC overview website .
- the NC must clearly state on all distributed content (website, documents, social media accounts, emails etc.) that the NC is part of APECS. The APECS logo must be prominently displayed on all NC material in addition to the NC logo.
Endorsement of an NC can be revoked by the APECS Executive Committee in justified cases of the NC not complying with the APECS goals and operational documents, with the terms of the agreement between APECS international and the NC, or the published APECS Guidelines for NCs (see point 9).
APECS members will become members of an NC based on the “country of residence” they list within their APECS membership registration form (this can be updated by the members themselves at any time). They will then be added to the respective APECS country mailing list of their NC by the APECS International Directorate. The APECS International Directorate updates the APECS country mailing lists once a month for all endorsed NCs.
NCs can request to add other people to their APECS NC mailing list if those people do not need to become APECS members (e.g. mentors, project partners).
APECS members can request to leave the NC mailing list at any time without this affecting their APECS member status.
APECS only allows NCs to set up separate registration processes (not via the APECS registration system) in cases where the NC is a registered organization within their own country (and so technically a separate organization) and due to legal reasons, a separate registration process for the NC is required. The only other exception will be made for the UK Polar Network (UKPN) due to its history and the committee being set up before APECS existed. In cases where a separate registration process is set up by the NC the following principles apply:
- Members from the country are strongly encouraged to join both organisations (APECS and NC) and membership must be open at all times to members of the other organisation (APECS or NC).
- Membership in one organisation (APECS or NC) does not preclude membership in the other.
- It must be made clear to APECS members as well as NC members that membership in both is separate but connected.
APECS membership is free with the option of a voluntary membership fee. NCs who are not registered organizations themselves within their own countries are not allowed to apply any membership fee.
NCs who are registered organizations within their own countries are strongly encouraged by APECS to also offer free membership unless their legal organizational structure dictates otherwise. If separate NC fees are necessary, NCs need to clearly state the amount, and that membership fees are raised by the NC and not by APECS. If an APECS member does not want to join an NC due to it raising a membership fee or for any other reason, they can still be APECS members (but will then not be members of the NC).
NC mailing lists are managed through the APECS International Directorate Office (Secretariat). Each NC can choose between two systems for their NC communications. Depending on their needs, an NC mailing list can be set up:
APECS members can request to leave the NC mailing list at any time.
Non-early career scientists or partners who should be added to the NC mailing list have to register to the APECS mailing list for non-early career scientists and professionals and request in the registration form to be added to the NC mailing list of their country of residence. APECS will not add anybody to the country mailing lists who has not signed up either via the APECS membership form or the form to join the mailing list for non-early career scientists.
APECS discourages the use of other mailing list systems (not based on the APECS mailing lists), but recognizes that this might be necessary in cases that:
- an independent mailing list is already in use by an established NC (this will no longer be permitted for new NCs);
- the NC has a separate registration process with its own membership that might differ from the APECS membership.
In these cases, the mailing list should clearly include the name of the National Committee to avoid confusion with country-specific mailing lists used by APECS.
APECS will still provide an APECS country mailing list for those NCs where a separate registration process has been approved. This second mailing list may be used by the NC to reach APECS members from its country.
NCs can use any leadership structure that best suits the NCs needs. This includes a structured elected executive or a loose board structure. Naming of the NC committee leadership structure may be dictated by legal regulations associated with its formal organizational registration within its own country. In these cases, terminology as required by country-specific regulations should be chosen. For all NCs that are not registered organizations within their countries, and that are not constrained to using a certain terminology within their committee, APECS encourages NCs to avoid the use of terms that are part of the APECS terminology (see below for a more detailed explanation under Leadership roles). APECS hopes that this will reduce confusion among APECS members about the various committees within APECS. APECS and the NCs will keep each other informed about changes in their leaderships to ensure correct contact information is available to both. The APECS leadership information can be found on the APECS website.
7.1 Leadership roles: In order to minimize confusion among APECS members of both APECS and NC leadership structures and committees, APECS encourages the NCs to use leadership terms other than those used by APECS (i.e. Executive Committee, President, Executive Director and Council). Other leadership terms such as board, chair, vice-chair, etc. are better alternatives to clarify the roles of APECS and the NCs. If for legal registration purposes the NCs need to use specified terms such as Executive Committee, President, Executive Director and Council, this is acceptable, but it is the NC’s responsibility to always make sure that all communications clearly state it is representing the NC, and not APECS.
7.2. NC representatives to the APECS Council: each endorsed NC has to name one of their leadership committee members to serve as representative for their committee on the APECS Council. This is required to ensure good communication between the national and international leadership levels within APECS. See the APECS Council Charter for more information about the duties of NC representatives.
NCs will regularly update APECS about their activities and submit reports according to the NC reporting policies put in place by APECS. By providing updates to APECS, the larger APECS membership can be informed about NC projects, hopefully inspiring the development of similar projects elsewhere.
At least one member of each NC leadership will sit on the APECS Council as an NC representative (see also point 7.2.) to
- update APECS on NC activities as part of their regular council report
- send NC event and project notifications / reports for the Events and APECS News sections of the APECS website to via the reporting forms available on the APECS website.
- update the NC leadership about new projects, events and developments in the APECS leadership
All forms needed by the NCs for reporting are accessible on the APECS website.
9.1 National Projects and Relationships with other National Organizations: NCs are strongly encouraged to work on projects that support the goals of APECS within their countries and within their own languages.
All NCs are encouraged to work with other national / local level organizations (those which have activities primarily based in the country of the NC) and build relationships with them. Although in many cases the NC may be the point of contact with other national / local organizations, in order to make sure that all APECS members are getting the most from such relationships, annual updates on all NC partnerships have to be submitted to the APECS Executive Committee and Executive Director via the annual report reporting form available on the APECS website. These updates will be included in the APECS Annual Report.
If an NC wants to formalize a relationship with a national / local-level organization (those which have activities primarily based in the country of the NC), the procedure depends on what status the NC has within the APECS network. Formal discussions are defined as planning activities with a specific desired outcome including, but not limited to, a signed agreement, joint project, or co-organized activity.
a) NC is a committee within APECS but not a legally registered organization within its own country (all NCs having an LoE or LoA with APECS)
- The NC must consult the APECS Executive Committee and Executive Director before entering into negotiations regarding joint projects and activities with national / local organizations
- APECS has the right to require that a representative from the APECS Executive Committee and / or the APECS Executive Director be included in formal discussions
- Formal agreements with national / local organizations will be formally signed with APECS but the NC will be listed as the APECS committee executing the terms of the agreement.
b) NC is a legally registered organization within their country (all NCs having an MoU with APECS)
- The NC will inform the APECS Executive Committee and APECS Executive Director when entering into formal discussions for the first-time (as defined above) with national / local organizations (those which have activities primarily based in the country of the NC).
- Formal agreements with national / local organizations will be formally signed by the NC and if they should be endorsed by APECS, APECS should be added as a third co-signatory of the agreement
APECS will involve a NC in discussions, activities or agreements between APECS and national / local organizations in the country of this NC, if they involve or are relevant to this NC and its activities.
All agreements have to comply with APECS goals as well as APECS Terms of Reference (TOR) and Rules of Procedure (ROP).
9.2 International Projects and Relationships with other International Organizations: All NCs that are engaged in working with international organizations / partners (those who have significant activities outside the country of the NC) should coordinate these activities/projects with the APECS leadership. Although in some cases the NC may be the point of contact with an international organization, in order to make sure that all APECS members are getting the most from such relationships, the APECS Executive Committee and Executive Director are required to be a part of all international level discussions.
If a NC is working on a project that has an international component and involves international organizations / partners (e.g. a workshop in cooperation with the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research - SCAR, or the International Arctic Science Committee - IASC), the NC must inform the APECS Executive Committee and Executive Director about the project as soon as planning begins and involve them in discussions where appropriate to ensure that all parties are up to date on international relations. APECS can also help the NC connect with other NCs that might be working on similar projects and communicate with all APECS members to whom the project(s) might be relevant. In addition, this may allow APECS to provide customized advice to the NCs if APECS has had previous dealings with that international project partner.
In the case of NCs being invited to participate in an international meeting (i.e a local Arctic Council working group meeting), the NCs must inform the APECS Executive Committee and Executive Director before the event. The APECS Executive Committee and Executive Director can then mentor NC meeting participants, as is done for all APECS representatives. Mentoring includes providing advice and sharing of background information about APECS' prior relationship with the organization and sharing information on current APECS projects/plans so that the NC representative is well informed and aware of information that could be useful in discussions when attending meetings.
If NCs want to formalize a relationship with an international organization (those which have activities primarily outside the country of the NC) the procedure depends on what status the NC has within the APECS network. Formal discussions are defined as planning activities with a specific desired outcome including, but not limited to, a signed agreement, joint project, or co-organized activity.
a) NC is a committee within APECS but not a legally registered organization within their own country (all NCs having an LoE or LoA with APECS)
- A representative from the APECS Executive Committee and Executive Director are required to be part of all formal discussions regarding joint projects and activities where the NC is the point of contact with international organizations
- APECS has sole rights to make and sign agreements with international organizations
- NCs are welcomed to be involved in discussions between APECS and international organizations working in the country of the NC.
b) NC is a legally registered organization within its own country (all NCs having an MoU with APECS)
- A representative from the APECS Executive Committee and the APECS Executive Director are required to be part of all formal discussions where the NC is the point of contact with international organizations
- APECS must be consulted and added as a third co-signatory to any formal agreements with international organizations.
- The NC will inform APECS of any discussions between the NC and international partners who are based in the country of the NC.
APECS will include a NC in formal discussions with international organizations who are based in or planning activities in the country of this NC when they are of concern to this NC.
APECS and the NC have no legal or financial obligation to each other, unless agreed in writing and signed by the relevant parties. APECS can provide NCs with in-kind logistical support primarily through its APECS International Directorate Office (e.g. maintenance of mailing lists, project or event advice).
Any financial contribution must be applied for through the standard procedures to the APECS International Directorate office and Executive Committee. APECS has some very limited financial support that every National Committees can apply for once per calendar year. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis as long as funds are available. The guidelines for this funding are found here and the application form is here. We strongly encourage the NCs to do additional fundraising for activities/events, as the APECS support can only cover a very small part of the costs in most cases.
APECS will not be financially responsible for NCs or any of their committees, events or activities.
If an NC is inactive for more than one year, APECS will attempt to contact the former leadership and if unsuccessful in finding new leadership, the NC will officially be dissolved and no longer listed among the NCs of APECS. The NC can be reinstated at a later time by new APECS members if new interest arises.
For NCs who are legally registered within their own countries: The last leadership of the NC will be responsible for legally dissolving the registered organization in their country. APECS is not responsible for this process.
If NCs do not follow the guidelines as stated above and do not comply with the APECS goals and operational documents (TOR, ROP) or with the terms of the agreements between APECS international and the NC, APECS will send an email to the NC explaining the violation and will arrange a meeting with the NC leadership to discuss the issue.
- a) if this is the first violation and APECS had not discussed the issue with the NC before, the NC will be given just a warning and will be asked to resolve the issue within a certain timeline.
- b) if it is not the first violation of this NC or a similar matter had been specifically discussed with the NC in the past and the NC has still done the violation,
APECS reserves the right to take actions such as (depending on the severity of the issue):
- Removing mailing list privileges
- Restricting the ability of NCs to associate with APECS
- Revoking standing agreements that APECS and the NCs have with each other, and the NC has with partner organizations
- Informing APECS partners that the NC in question is temporarily / no longer supported by APECS
Appendix 2 was unanimously added to the APECS Terms of Reference and Rules of Procedure initially on September 9, 2014 by the APECS Council.
A revised version was was approved by the APECS 2017-2018 Council on September 20, 2018:
The guidelines take affect immediately.