Ethics and Transparency

                                                    Code of Ethics of Civic Society Organizations (2004 edition)

 

Preamble

 

Georgian Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) who:

 

Aspire for the establishment of a democratic and legal state, civil society, and the rule of law;

 

Act in accordance with international standards and Georgian legislation; and

 

Aim for transparency of activities undertaken by Civil Society Organizations, thereby enhancing the trust between the Georgian people and CSOs;

 

hereby unite to protect the principles of freedom, tolerance, equality, diversity, pluralism, benevolence, partnership, mutual gratitude, respect, social activism, openness, transparency, professionalism, and democratic governance.

 

                                                                                Chapter I

                                                              General Principles (of Action)

 

Social Activism and Concern

  1. Civil Society Organizations stand against social inequality, and protect democratic values and constitutional rights.
  2. Civil Society Organizations do not engage in or condone violence in order to achieve their aims.

 

Responsibility and Accountability

  1. Civil Society Organizations acknowledge the importance of accountability for their actions in accordance with internationally recognized principles.
  2. Civil Society Organizations regularly undergo audits.
  3. Civil Society Organizations issue annual reports about their activities.

 

Openness and Transparency

  1. Information about the mission, members, and finances of CSOs is available to the public, and their activities and work are transparent.
  2. Civil Organizations do not act anonymously.
  3. All regulations and policies of CSOs are transparent.

 

Independence

  1. Civil Society Organizations define goals, make decisions and act independently, free from outside interference.
  2. 10. Civil Society Organizations are independent of any political parties or any private companies or other civil society organizations; such independence ensures their ability to act on behalf of citizens’ welfare.

 

Recognition and Respect

  1. 11. Civil Society Organizations respect all written or verbal agreements
  1. 12. Civil Society  Organizations  respect  copyrights  of  other  organizations  on  any  ideas, documents or other proprietary material
  2. 13. Citizen and volunteer participation is considered by CSOs as the basis of Civil Society; CSOs respect activities undertaken by volunteers and citizens.

 

Tolerance

  1. 14. Civil Society  Organizations  are  ready  to  listen  and  consider  new  and  diverse  ideas  for achieving goals through mutual cooperation.
  2. 15. Civil  Society   Organizations   recognize   diversity   of  thinking   and  differences   among

organizations and their aims.

  1. 16. CSOs respect other organizations, their representatives and views.

 

                                                                     Chapter II

                                     Internal Relations in Civil Society Organization

 

Democratic Governance

  1. 17. Civil Society   Organizations   have   clearly   defined   mission   The   administration   and functioning of CSOs is based on Georgian legislation, statute of the organization, and internal regulations.
  2. 18. Civil Society Organizations  are  voluntary  organizations  made  up  of  members  from  the

society.  They  ensure democratic  regulation  within  the organization  and accountability  of ruling bodies, with mechanisms to respond to any violations thereof.

  1. 19. Civil Organizations act in a professional way to achieve aims and tasks defined by their

mission.

 

Internal Structure of the Organization

  1. 20. Civil Organizations are governed by an independent  Bo The Board is free from any external influences in decision making.
  2. 21. The Board of the organization assembles at least once a year.
  3. 22. CSOs have mission  statements  and  internal  regulations,  which  describe  in  detail  the mechanisms that govern the functioning of the organization. This document is approved by the Board.
  4. 23. The budget of CSOs is approved by the Board of the organization. The approved budget includes the exact expenditures on program activities and administrative costs.
  5. 24. Civil Organizations and their members avoid conflicts of intere CSOs have mechanisms to avoid any conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest. The Board regulates and oversees policies on conflicts of interest.

 

Financial Administration

  1. 25. Organizational finances are spent wisely and prudently and according to the approved budget.
  2. 26. The regulation of finances is made by the Board of the organization. It: a) approves the annual (administrative) budget; b) approves financial procedures; and c) controls fundraising policies.
  3. 27. The financial report of the organization should include the: a) total amount of annual income; and b) annual budget, consisting of program and administrative expenses.

 

Control

  1. 28. Civil Society Organizations control their own activities through a Board of Trustees, a Board, an Assembly of Members, and an annual financial audit.
  1. 29. Activities undertaken by CSOs should be based on the principle of maximum transparency, and mechanisms should be in place to assure this.

 

Assessment

  1. 30. CSOs have Mission statements that are stated clearly and are achievabl CSOs consistently assess their current activities to ensure compatibility with their stated mission.
  2. 31. CSOs have internal regulations to analyze and assess the effectiveness of their activitie Results of this assessment should be open for public scrutiny.

 

                                                                                  Chapter III

                                                 External Relations of Civil Society Organizations

 

General Principles

  1. 32. Civil Organizations aspire towards open cooperation within the civil sector as well with other institutions.
  2. 33. CSOs offer society  and  all  interested  individuals  (including  government  officials)  the experience, knowledge and operational abilities that the organization has for achieving its goals, based on the principles that are stated in the preamble of this document.

 

Public Relations

  1. 34. Civil Society Organizations express and represent the needs of different sectors and interests of society.
  2. 35. CSOs encourage citizens’ participation in civil society development through activities that educate, promote democracy, and defend citizens’ interests.

 

Relations with Government (agencies)

  1. 36. CSOs cooperate with  governmental  agencies  by:  a)  implementing  mutual  projects;  b) participating in policy development; c) participating in implementation of governmental initiatives; d) informing citizens about policies and initiatives undertaken by the government. CSOs offer the government alternative ways for problem solving and participate in the implementation of democratic reform.
  2. 37. CSOs use the  rights  guaranteed  by  Georgian  legislation  and  internationally  recognized regulations to help state agencies to act transparently.   CSOs conduct monitoring of governmental activities and quickly react to any violation of democratic principles.

 

Relations with Political Parties and Movements

  1. 38. CSOs cooperate with political parties and movements against any violation of democratic principles and human rights, if this cooperation does not contradict the principles of independence as established in the Code.
  2. 39. Each member of a CSO has the right to uphold his/her own political sympathi During elections CSOs should not openly express their political preferences in order to maintain their independence.

 

Relations with Other Civil Society Organizations

  1. 40. CSOs promote an atmosphere of cooperation and joint work within the sector, as the guiding principle for relations between organization and clients.
  2. 41. CSOs exchange information, experiences and best practices to achieve mutual goals.
  3. 42. CSOs support the  establishment  of  fairness  within  the  sector,  to  stimulate  its  future development.

 

Relations with Donors

  1. 43. Relations of Civil Society Organizations with donors or other entities that provide financial or other support should be based on the principles of accountability, openness and cooperation.
  2. 44. Donors, or other organizations that provide financial or any other kind of assistance, have the right to have clear information  about how that assistance will be utilized concerning  the activities, the period of implementation, and the expected financial expenses.
  1. 45. CSOs do not cooperate with those donors whose principles are in contradiction with the principles stated in the preamble of the Code of Ethics.

 

                                                                       Chapter IV

                    Principle of Unification with the Code, Execution and Responsibility Mechanisms

 

Structure

  1. 46. All organizations in  agreement  with  the  Code  are  given  certificates  that  confirm  their agreement and willingness to uphold the principles contained herein.
  2. 47. The process of implementation of the principles is guided by the CSO Forum.
  3. 48. The CSO Forum  is  not  an  institutionally   established  structur  Every  Civil  Society Organization which declares its agreement with the participles stated in the Code becomes a member of the Forum.
  4. 49. The CSO Forum members share information, and through e-mail receive information that may interest citizens, the civil sector or any civil organization.

 

Disputes and Relations

  1. 50. Each organization that is a member of the Forum has the right to express its own vision about any dispute that may arise. Every CSO acts according to the principles declared in the Code and retains the right to express its own views.

 

Reaction

  1. 51. In case of any violation of democratic principles, CSOs working in the relevant sector can bring this to the attention of the CSO Forum, with which other CSOs might be in agreement.
  2. 52. Statements and reactions  about  any  violations  of  such  principles  shall  be  made  through consultations with every interested and affected party.
  3. 53. No member of The Forum has the right to act independently on behalf of the Forum.

 

Procedures

  1. 54. Adherence to the Code is possible through signature or written statement. At that time, CSOs automatically become a member of the Forum.
  2. 55. CSOs have the right to leave the Forum if they determine that they do not share the values and principles of the Co In addition, each member of the Forum has the right to establish new relations with any organization that chooses to leave the Forum.
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