The Devon Karst Research Society.

FOREIGN POLICY.

The Devon Karst Research Society.

FOREIGN POLICY.
The Society's Foreign Assistance Programme & Foreign Membership Sections.

Updated 03 August 2013.

The Devon Karst Research Society.
FOREIGN POLICY.

Introduction
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The Devon Karst Research Society.
FOREIGN POLICY.

Foreign Membership Sections
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The Devon Karst Research Society.
FOREIGN POLICY.

Foreign Assistance Programme
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INTRODUCTION :
The Society has a Foreign Policy, which forms the only Section of the Society's Constitution which has never been ratified by the Membership, even though it has operated for 27 years. For this reason, we refer to it as a de facto Foreign Policy.
Historically, the Foreign Policy had two main aspects of operations: namely, the operation and servicing of the needs of the Society's former Foreign Membership Sections and the operation and development of the Society's Foreign Assistance Programme
Under current (but stalled) proposals to change the status of the Society to that of a Registered Charity, our Foreign Policy would fundamentally change through the intention to formalize it, with the consequence that it should be considerably strengthened.

THE SOCIETY'S FOREIGN MEMBERSHIP SECTIONS :
Historical :
The Society formerly had autonomous dedicated Foreign Membership Sections in Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia and Bosnia & Hercegovina.
Due to long-term project committments, it can be stated that the Society has been under growing pressure, for many practical reasons, to increase its committment and involvement with speleologists in BiH by formalising their full integration into the Society's General Membership arrangements.
This at a time when the Society's working relationships with Hungarian speleologists is also rapidly on the increase.  The former internal issues of National / International Membership status has now been resolved via the creation of a single Membership entity, rendering as redundant the former concept of dedicated Foreign Membership Sections, which were originally created to meet the needs of a particular time but which are now no longer necessary. 

THE SOCIETY'S FOREIGN ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME :
1. Historical :
This Policy has arisen and subsequently developed primarily as a result of the 1991-1996 Balkan War which caused the fragmentation of the former Yugoslavia and the eventual creation of the Sovereign Independent States of the Republic of Slovenia, the Republic of Croatia, the Republic of Bosnia & Hercegovina and the Republic of Macedonia, leaving for an interim period, a residual Federal Republic of Yugoslavia containing Serbia and a reluctant Montenegro. The latter two Republics then also became fully Sovereign Independent States.
Secondarily, the Society was also aware of the problems of speleological and karstological groups and societies in other areas of Central Eastern Europe, such as in Hungary, Slovakia, the Moravian province in the Czech Republic and Romania, especially during the unnaturally rapid change from political systems embracing Communism, with their centrally planned economies to those of Democracy with Capitalism. This has wrought immense havoc on the economic survival of the voluntary sector in each of those countries. It has been possible to target limited resources at specific organizations in each of the countries mentioned above.
The philosophical rationale of the Society's Foriegn Policy during the Balkan War was based on its concerns about the impact of the War on the many speleological and karstological organizations which existed in the FRY prior to the War. By 1994, the savage vehemence and nationalism of the protagonists was apparent to the whole world and detailed enquiries by the Society had elucidated that, in the speleological world, little if anything had been done (or was planned to be done) to help the survival of those fine speleological organizations to whom the world of speleology and karstology owed so much.

The failure of cavers, speleologists and karstologists and their organizations around the world to help and assist the Balkan speleologists and karstologists during this terrible period of their history was shameful. The Society decided to act unilaterally with great determination in an act of fellowship towards our colleagues abroad.
It should also be mentioned here that there were two other individuals, one in the Netherlands and another in Croatia, who were also doing their best to at least maintain contact with the Bosnia & Hercegovina speleologists.
The "Foreign Assistance Programme" aspect of the Society's de facto Foreign Policy is detailed in many internal Aide Memoires as follows:-

Addendum to the Report of the Hon. Science Officer to the 1995 A.G.M. "Details of the Society's "Enabling Role" in Charitable Support Work to Foreign Groups, Societies and Institutions in 1994."
Aide Memoire No. AM.110597. "Recommended Policy Guidelines in the Matter of Applying Suitable Criteria when selecting non-UK Speleological / Karstological Groups or Societies as Recipients of i) Aid, from or through the Society, or ii) Formal Permanent Contact Status with the Society."
Aide Memoire No. AM110597 (Attachment No. 1.) "An Example 'Case History' of the Recent Practical Application of the Criteria."
Aide Memoire No. AM110597 (Attachment No. 2.) "FOREIGN POLICY GUIDELINES. 'Case History' Application of the Society's Role as an "Enabler" or "Facilitator" in respect of Foreign Policy Assistance Aid to Speleological and Karstological Societies and Institutions in Eastern Europe."
Aide Memoire No. 011297."Discussion Document supporting the need for a Structured Foreign Policy to further the Aims of the Society abroad."
Aide Memoire No. FP.010898. "Current List of Specific Foreign (ie non-UK) Speleological and Karstological Institutions, Societies or Groups included within the Society's Foreign Policy Arrangements as having a Permanent Contact Status or greater status conferred upon them."
The Programme benefits recipient speleological / karstological "voluntary sector" organizations by financially supporting the upgrading of their existing technical resources (if applicable) or by financing their technical re-resourcing from a zero point, through the provision of materials, equipment, publications and information. This was usually (though not exclusively) undertaken via active participation in at least one structured medium-to-long-term scientific project on their "home ground". It also invariably involved the Society in the role as Facilitator / Enabler for the provision of technical training services, if found to be necessary. In certain circumstances, assistance has also been given via direct financial support. Such organizations also benefit from having full and free access to the Society's Bibliographic & Academic Library Services as well as other benefits detailed below.

For obvious reasons, we are unable to give within these Public Access Pages, either operational details of this Programme or precisely which recipient organizations continue to benefit or have benefitted from the Programme. The Programme is structured wherever it is applied and is subject to many on-going criteria and to routine inspections, re-evaluations and full accountability. However, with the rapidly growing improvement of the financial situation of the "voluntary sectors" in many Eastern European countries since 2003, such help as we have formerly given to organizations in all but Bosnia & Hercegovina through our Foreign Assistance Programme, has now been wound down and terminated, although active links are maintained for small-scale publications-exchange, publications-support programmes and information exchange.
However, in Bosnia & Hercegovina, a massive expansion of the FAP has taken place and this was planned to continue until 2011, at which time the results of a planned general review of the situation to be undertaken in 2009, were then due to take effect. In view of the Society's deep and long-term project committments in Bosnia & Hercegovina, the 2009 review suggested that the FAP in BiH continue at an expanding level until the year 2031.

2. Foreign Policy Initiative, 2013 - Special "Foreign Policy" Associate Membership for the BiH "Proteus Project"  :
With increasing interest by way of practical support and fund-raising taking place by various UK Nationals who are not Members of the Society, it has been decided to create a new Membership Status solely within the Foreign Policy remit, to reward those who have devoted so much time, effort and dedication to the work of the Society's "Proteus Project" in Bosnia & Hercegovina.
This initiative began on 01 May 2013 and is awarded to recipients solely on merit. This type of Membership is awarded only to non-Members of the Society, who will not enjoy the benefits of voting privileges or attendance at Official Meetings of the Society.

3. The Future :
With the move towards becoming a Registered Charity currently stalled, the Society will ensure that its Foreign Assistance Programme will continue, strengthening both its present management form and the funding for its proposed future direction via our proposed new Constitution, in which the Foreign Policy will be intrinsically included.

[end]

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