The Eighth General Assembly of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers and Workers (CLAC), was held virtually on January 26, 27 and 28, 2022.
The points addressed and agreements reached during the Assembly were the following:
First day: January 26
Opening Ceremony. The opening ceremony began at 8:30 a.m. (Central American time) with the words of the president of the CLAC´s Board of Directors, Miguel Ángel Munguía, who thanked the delegates for their participation. Father Francisco Van der Hoff, a pioneer of Fair Trade, prayed for the smooth running of the Assembly.
The President of the Board presented a video tribute to the people who have died during the last three years and who have left a legacy in favor of Fair Trade.
Nyagoy Nyong’o, Global CEO of Fairtrade International, gave a presentation on how Fairtrade is an important tool to build resilience for producers in times of crisis and to promote more sustainable supply chains.
Johan Mulder, Head of the International Trade Unit of ECLAC, presented a paper on the prospects for regional trade 2021-2022, highlighting the recovery registered in 2021 and a slowdown projected for 2022.
Verification of quorum and installation of the Assembly (2nd Call). At 10:55 a.m. the Surveillance Committee verified that there was the necessary quorum to hold the ordinary and extraordinary assembly on second call with 167 delegates present, plus 3 votes per delegation, out of a total of 180 possible delegates, therefore, the President of the Council considered installed the VIII Ordinary and Extraordinary General Assembly of CLAC in second call.
Appointment of the Secretary of the General Assembly. The Assembly appointed Vladimir Alexander Alvarado Méndez, Salvadoran lawyer and notary, as secretary of the General Assembly. This point was approved with 102 votes in favor.
Ratification of documents and actions carried out by the Board of Directors to carry out this Assembly virtually. The president explains that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Directors made the decision to hold the Assembly virtually, but in order to continue with the Assembly, it was necessary to ratify what was done by the Board. For this reason, the Regulations for the Election of Delegates to the General Assembly, the CLAC Assembly Regulations and the Assembly Debate Regulations were submitted for approval, which were approved by 132 votes in favor.
Reading and approval of the agenda. The president informed the Assembly of a point of order presented by the Surveillance Board to transfer the election of members of the Salvadoran Board of Directors, which has the judicial representation of CLAC from day three to day one, immediately after reading the summary of Agreements of the VII Ordinary and Extraordinary General Assembly (held in 2018). The agenda with the proposed modification was approved with 130 votes in favor and one abstention.
Reading of the summary of Agreements of the VII Ordinary and Extraordinary General Assembly. The secretary of the Board of Directors, Víctor Cordero, read the summary of Agreements of the VII Ordinary and Extraordinary General Assembly of CLAC, held in Lima, Peru, in 2018.
Election of Members of the Board. The president submitted to the approval of the Assembly the election of Eulogio Sigfredo Benítez Orellana, José Rigoberto Rojas Sánchez and Ernesto Mestizo Hernández as President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Board in El Salvador respectively. This proposal was approved by 116 votes in favor, 5 votes against and 3 abstentions.
Presentation of CLAC’s three-year report and compliance with the 2019-2021 Strategic Plan. The Board of Directors, through its president, presented the work report for the last three years, as well as compliance with the objectives of the 2019 Strategic Plan. – 2021. A space was opened for delegates to make comments, questions and suggestions.
Presentation of Financial Statements. The Board of Directors, through its vice president, Merling Preza, presented CLAC’s audited financial statements for the last three years (2019, 2020 and the first half of 2021). A space was opened for delegates to make comments, questions and suggestions.
Report of the Surveillance Comittee. The Surveillance Committee presented its work report, which included the review of the audit reports, and recommendations for the Assembly. A space was opened for delegates to make comments, questions and suggestions.
External audit opinion. Through a video, the firm Crespín Alas Auditores y Consultores S.A de C.V., presented a summary of the external audit opinion and recommendations. A space was opened for delegates to make comments, questions and suggestions.
The Assembly approved the reports of the Presidency and the Board of Directors, the Financial Statements, the Surveillance Committee Report and the External Audit Opinion by 120 votes in favor, 1 vote against and 4 abstentions, relieving the Board of Directors of their responsibilities.
Presentation of the electoral process. The president of the Board of Directors explained that an electoral commission should be elected that will be in charge of applying and verifying the procedures of the General Assemblies regulations.
Integration of the Electoral Commission. The delegates proposed six candidates to integrate the Electoral Commission. The vote was held and by the vote of 104 delegates, the Electoral Committee was made up of Juanita Baltodano, Nelson Flores and Luis Martínez.
Closing of the first day. The first day ended at 2:52 p.m. and the president temporarily suspended the Assembly.
Second day: January 27
Quorum verification. At 8:15 a.m., the Surveillance Committee reported that 118 of a possible 180 delegates were in session at that time, so the required quorum existed, and the President declared the second session of the General Assembly open.
Presentation, discussion and voting on the Strategic Plan of the Association for the period 2022-2024. The Executive Director of CLAC, Xiomara J. Paredes, presented CLAC’s Strategic Plan proposal for the 2022-2024 period, explaining that it was prepared through a consultation process in which around 30 virtual work sessions were held. with the Board of Directors, with the Small Producer Organizations, with the Workers Organizations, with the operational structures of CLAC (National Platforms, Product Networks, Workers Network), and other actors partners and the Fairtrade System.
In the development of the process, a MEGA (Broad Goal) of the Vision was established, which allows establishing metrics for the measurement and verification of compliance with the organizational vision and an inspiring purpose was defined which establishes the following:
“CLAC is the network of producers’ and workers’ organizations that leads the promotion of the principles and values of Fair Trade in Latin America and the Caribbean, and we act as agents of change in our own reality, contributing to the construction of a more just, equitable and sustainable world”
The new Strategic Plan has 4 strategic objectives and 11 tactical objectives. At the conclusion of the presentation of the new Strategic Plan, a space was opened for the delegates to make comments, questions and suggestions. CLAC’s Strategic Plan 2022-2024 was approved with 127 votes in favor and one abstention.
Presentation, discussion, voting on the Proposal for the Reform of the Association’s Bylaws. The President presented a summary of the proposal for the Reform of the Bylaws of the Association, among which are the following:
-Use of inclusive language throughout the document.
-The generic words “trade” and “fair” are replaced by proper names such as “Fair Trade Movement” when referring to the movement in general and “Fairtrade International” when referring to participation in the “Fairtrade” system.
– The structure of CLAC is clarified, leaving the Board of Directors as the highest administrative body after the Assembly; and with an Administrative Board that assumes the functions of the Board and the Operating Committee.
-Includes the figure of Executive Director.
-The Bylaws are harmonized with the Organizational Code and its policies.
After deliberating on the content of the Amendments to the Bylaws of the Association, the members of the General Assembly voted on the amendment proposals, which were fully approved with more than 60% of the votes cast.
Appointment of Special Executor of the Byalws Reform Agreement. With 110 votes in favor, 5 against and 5 abstentions, it was agreed to authorize Jennifer Lorelei Leiva Miranda to appear before a Notary Public as Special Executor to grant the Public Deed of Modification of the Clauses that govern the Association and authorize it her and Mr. Vladimir Alvarado to carry out the necessary procedures before the Ministry of the Interior and Territorial Development of El Salvador.
Exhibition of points proposed by the membership. The president gives the floor to a delegate from Nicaragua to present to the Assembly a problem related to the service provided by FLOCert. Mr. Juan Ramón Bravo Rey, President of the Central de Cooperativas del Campo in Nicaragua, an organization certified in sesame and peanuts, expressed his concern and that of his organization about the way in which FLOCert is carrying out the audits, since they have generated problems for the organizations with their clients, for which he asked the Assembly to ask FLOCert to analyze the way in which the audit processes are carried out and to ask for greater respect for both the organizations and the producers.
By unanimous vote, it was agreed to transfer this issue to the representatives of CLAC before the Board of Directors of Fairtrade International and FLOCert and that a letter be made through institutional channels to take these complaints to the respective bodies.
Delivery of awards. Through a video, the Organizing Committee recognizes the members of the Board of Directors, the Surveillance Committee and the Board of Directors for the period 2019 – 2021.
Closing of the second day. The President temporarily suspends the Assembly at 1:25 p.m.
Third day: January 28
Quorum verification. At 8:16 a.m., the Surveillance Committee verified that 130 delegates were present, out of 180 possible delegates, so it was verified that the required quorum existed to continue with the Assembly and the president declared the third and last session of the General Assembly open.
Ratification of current Product Networks of the association. The president points out that by virtue of article 11 of the current Statutes, it is up to the Assembly to ratify, at the request of the Board of Directors, those instances formed according to the statutes, giving them the name of Product Networks of the Association. According to the report presented by the Surveillance Committee, Red Quinua no longer meets the requirements established in article 31 of the statutes that require 5 or more organizations of small producers in a specific product in three or more countries, for which reason it is dissolved de facto or de facto.
Elections of product networks and worker network. Elections were held by product networks and the workers’ network. Once the process is concluded, the electoral commission informs about the results, and the following people were elected:
Regional elections. The elections for Members of the Board of Directors were held by the CLAC Regions. The electoral commission reported on the results of the different electoral processes, and the following people were elected:
Then, the plenary session proceeded to the election of the members of the Surveillance Board. Once the process is concluded, the electoral commission reports the result, and the following people are elected:
Integration session of the new Board of Directors of CLAC. The elected delegates to the new Board of Directors held a session in which the positions of presidency, vice-presidency and secretary were elected, being as follows:
President: Marike de Peña.
Vice-president: Baltazar Francisco Miguel.
Secretary: Ángel Burgos Barreto.
Swearing-in of the members of the Board of Directors, the Board and the Surveillance Board. The electoral commission proceeds to swear in the elected persons, for which it asks them: Do they swear by their most sacred beliefs and promise CLAC and its members to observe and comply with its Statutes and Principles, and faithfully fulfill the duties that have been entrusted to them? To which all the elected persons respond YES I SWEAR, being duly sworn in.
Participation award. The Executive Director of CLAC held a raffle to award a participation prize to the delegates, which consists of five air tickets with lodging and food expenses included for the Internation Conference of Fair Trade Cities to be held in Quito, Ecuador in October 2022. The winning country turns out to be Jamaica.
Closing of the Ordinary General Assembly. Having known all the points on the agenda for the Assembly, the president expressed his deep gratitude to all the attendees for their participation in the three days of the Assembly and at 6:02 p.m. on January 28, 2022, he closed the VIII Ordinary and Extraordinary General Assembly of CLAC.