Operating Charter 2021

November 2021

26 November 2021 by CADTM International

(Operating charter of the CADTM International Network as amended by the World Assembly of the CADTM that convened in Dakar (Senegal) from 13 to 16 November 2021)


1. The CADTM network is an international movement which fights for the abolition of Illegitimate Debt, for social emancipation, respectful of nature and freedom from all forms of oppression.

2. The member organizations of the network must promote the links of movements which have similar or complimentary objectives. Unity of action and respect for diversity are the essential principles of our work.

3. The CADTM International network, based on its accumulated experience, has developed a way of functioning which is unique. The adoption of the operating charter does not mean having a definitive set of fixed rules which are applied in a rigid manner, but rather it establishes and determines the main internal rules and procedures which characterize the work within the network and the dynamic of the CADTM International as a whole. This charter can be modified by the network global assembly by including this point on the agenda.

4. This operating charter is a tool to be used as a guide for, on the one hand, decision made and actions carried out by member organizations of the network or organizations who would like to join the network and, on the other hand, for those who would like to strengthen their ties with CADTM International.

 II – Operating Charter

General Principles of the organization

1. The CADTM International network is a network which works in a horizontal manner: there is no structure which is at the head of the international network. The Global Assembly is when the main directions/ guidelines of the network are established. A global network assembly should take place every three years. Following a global network assembly, it is decided how the next meeting will take place as well as the financing and set up for the next global assembly. The global assembly sets up working committees. The quorum required in order for the global meeting to take place is half plus one of the member organizations. Adhesions and exclusions are the responsibility of the global assembly.

2. The International Secretariat has the role of coordinator. Its main tasks involve facilitating internal communication within the network, strengthening visibility of actions and analyses carried out by the network and of its member organizations, especially via the CADTM website and electronic bulletins. They help the network’s member organizations apply the decisions made by the global assembly, they coordinate the participation of the network’s member organizations during the international meeting. They promote collaboration with other international organizations with whom the network collaborates. The International Secretariat can invite members of the International Council to participate in its online meetings.

3. The International Council (created at the May 2013 Global Assembly) is the coordinating body between the Continental structures to which the twin hub International Secretariat participates. The International Council has a term that corresponds to the number of years between two World Assemblies and meets at least once a year. Each Continental network will designate by a method of its own convenience the four persons (two representatives and two substitutes) who will represent the Continent respecting the principal of gender equality. Among the tasks of the International Council, will be :

  • coordinating the continent-wide structures of the network according to the changing regional and international political context;
  • improving the collaboration between the network’s continental structures on the basis of the programs that have already been initiated;
  • stimulating the main activities of the CADTM network according to the changing regional and international political context ;
  • monitoring the work of the twin hub International Secretariat;
  • organising the General Assemblies;
  • following up on the decisions taken at the General Assemblies.

4. Each member organization of the network is financially independant. A member organization cannot become a main donor of funds for another member organization. One off financial aid can sometimes be accepted, even encouraged. Each member organization, if helped financially by another organization, has the responsibility of finding the necessary financial resources in order to strengthen the capacity to function and finance activities on a national, regional and international level. Each member organization, in coordination with the international secretariat, has the objective of gathering the financial resources in order to ensure their participation in global network meetings. The sources and financial resources should be in line with the spirit of the political charter of CADTM International.

5. Each organization is autonomous and has total freedom when establishing action programmes, as long as it does not go against the Political charter. The preparation, organization and realisation of specific actions of each organization is carried out in an independent and democratic manner.

6. CADTM International focuses on the strengthening of regional and continental work. The members of CADTM International are actually divided into 4 Continental networks : Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe have their Continental coordinations, which is not yet the case for Asia. Each member organization aims to strengthen and consolidate the Continental workshop’s independence and capacities for action so as to strengthen the global network as a whole.

6bis. The World Assembly of the CADTM network invites the four continental networks of the CADTM to set a coordination of feminist struggles to reinforce feminist action within the CADTM. A coordination of feminist struggles has been operational within CADTM Africa since 2017. The World Assembly prompts the other continents to do the same.

7. The four main stages in order to join the CADTM International network are the following :

  • a) Effective and continued collaboration with several member organizations of the international network.
  • b) Support for the candidacy of the member organization of the workshop involved.
  • c) Continental Workshop meeting and approval by the workshop members;
  • d) Formal adhesion at the global network assembly.

Obligations and responsibilities

8. As a member of the CADTM International network, each organization 

9. Agrees with the CADTM political charter and conforms activities with the general spirit of this charter in the analyses which are disseminated and with the action it undertakes.

10. Applies the principles of democracy and transparency in the decision making process, be it on a national or regional level.

11. Implements gender equality and acts within society so that equality becomes a reality.

The member organizations of the network consciously act within their organization to put an end to all forms of oppression against women. They commit to gender parity and to involve women and men on an equal basis in the various instances of the network and in all activities organized by the CADTM or in which it is a partner. If the said activity (except for specific training seminars for women members of the CADTM international network) calls for only one delegate, each member organization shall send a woman of a man was the previous delegate, and vice versa. If the activity requires several delegates, member organizations should aim at parity. In the case of organizations that are defined as feminist, their delegation can consist of women only. The continental coordinations will see to it that the rule of parity is actually implemented. National member organizations of the CADTM will be sovereign in imposing sanctions for any sexist practice. They have the right to refer to the IS and/or the IC if necessary.

12. Shares analyses and experiences with all the members of the network, which means that they

  • a) communicate on the past, present and future activities. This information will be sent, depending on the relevance, to the International secretariat, the Continental network concerned, the thematic work committees, the International council or even to all the members of the network;
  • b) make available to the entire network the various studies, analyses, publications and learning tools they have created;
  • c) actively contribute to the CADTM website.

13. Carries out actions with the aim of strengthening the capacity and autonomy of the continental networks, notably through

  • a) promoting improved inter-regional communication;
  • b) actively supporting the activities carried out by the member organizations within the continental network;
  • c) encouraging the collective creation and production of analyses and books;
  • d) consolidating collaboration with regional partners.

14. Carries out actions within the dynamic of the CADTM International network, i.e.

  • - develops understanding of debt, the IFIs and all the issues addressed by the CADTM (notably through reading and using the material of the CADTM), disseminates the analyses carried out by the CADTM as widely as possible, especially through training and civic education;
  • - strengthens the analyses of issues which concern the CADTM in a local, regional or international perspective;
  • - coordinates the regional workshops’ dynamic with that of the international network;
  • - supports initiatives taken by other members of the networks;
  • - supports initiatives taken by the debt movement in general.

15. The provisions relating to the exclusion of an organization from the CADTM international network are as follows:

The exclusion of an organization is discussed and voted on by simple majority at the World Assembly of the network after trying to reach a consensus. It may occur in cases of serious violation of the operating charter or of the political charter, in cases of racist or sexist behaviour or any other attitude or action which goes against the spirit of this charter.

Before deciding on the exclusion of a member from the network at the World Assembly, the CADTM continental network will get in touch with the concerned organizations and ask them for explanations. The CADTM continental networks should also consult the International Secretariat and inform them of contacts with the concerned organizations.

In the case when a CADTM continental network suggests that propose an organization be excluded, it should assess, along with the IS, whether a temporary suspension is called for until the next World Assembly.

The provisions relating to the disaffiliation of an organization from the CADTM international network are as follows:
The CADTM continental networks are where disaffiliation is discussed and proposed before the World Assembly. Disaffiliation may occur in two cases:

  1. In case the organization asks for its disaffiliation, it should explain why to the CADTM continental network and to the IS.
  2. When the organization no longer has any activity related to debt and the issues dealt with by the CADTM and has not collaborated with other member organizations of the network for a fairly long time. The CADTM continental networks will get in touch with the concerned organizations and ask them to explain.

The CADTM continental networks should also consult the International Secretariat and inform them of contacts with the concerned organizations. The World Assembly will act the disaffiliation preferably through consensus or through a vote by simple majority.

The same provisions apply to organizations that do not belong to the network but are allowed to use the CADTM logo.

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