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Statement on the Legal Status of the Regional
Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe


  The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) is legally based on a Charter signed by the governments of twenty-eight countries (see below) and the European Commission, and on an International Agreement with the government of Hungary. It has a special legal status, based on an inter-governmental co-operative arrangement of a multilateral nature to establish an organisation with a special regional purpose. The REC has Headquarters in Szentendre, Hungary, and Country Offices as well as Field Offices in 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. Within Hungary, the REC has the status of an international organisation based on the International Agreement.

As set out in its Charter, the REC is a non-partisan, non-advocacy, not-for-profit organisation with a mission to assist in solving environmental problems in Central and Eastern Europe. The Center achieves its mission by encouraging co-operation among non-governmental organisations, governments, businesses and other environmental stakeholders, by supporting the free exchange of information, and by promoting public participation in environmental decision making.

The REC is governed by a Board of seven to nine Directors which is elected for three years by the Signatory Governments to the REC Charter. The Board is advised by a General Assembly, which is composed two-thirds by delegates of Signatory Governments and one-third by independent members. Daily operations of the REC are managed by the Executive Director.

This governance structure defines a public organisation of international character, independent from the direct influence of governments on its operations and fulfilment of its mission. Thus the REC has a uniquely open, flexible and adaptable structure, able to develop very diverse programs within the frame of its mission. From a legal point of view, the REC is fully eligible to serve governments, NGOs, businesses and all other environmental stakeholders. It can explore, in its own right, any concrete modalities of flexible or formalised co-operation with relevant international and national, governmental, non-governmental and private organisations.

Given that the REC was established by governments, it is not an international Non-Governmental Organisation. However, because of its independence, it cannot be considered an Inter-Governmental organisation either (according to the criteria of the United Nations). This unique status, partly similar only to a few other organisations, may well become a precedent in developing an open, efficient and accountable model of international co-operation in the future.

(Signatory countries to the REC Charter are: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turkey and the USA.) 

Charter of the REC
(9-page, 3.45-MByte PDF file)

Statement on the REC's legal status

Board of Directors

General Assembly

Management Team

REC Statement of Contributions

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