FSC General Assembly 2017 FAQs

What is the FSC General Assembly all about?

The FSC General Assembly is FSC’s highest decision-making body. Every three years, members come together to discuss a sustainable future for the world’s forests and the people and animals who inhabit them.
All FSC members are invited to attend and vote at the FSC General Assembly as well as to formulate and submit motions.

What is the significance of motions at the GA?

Members submit motions months before the general assembly begins. Motions are then discussed and debated, before being voted on by members at the GA.

How does the prioritization of motions work?

You will receive a motions prioritization form at the venue when you register. Before Wednesday 11 October in the evening, you will list the ten motions you would like to prioritise in order of preference. You will then return the form, and the results of all the forms will be analysed. Based on the analysis, the top 10 motions from each chamber will be prioritized. The top motion from each chamber will be dealt with first, and so forth. Please note that before these motions are debated and voted on, all statutory motions will be dealt with first as they are mandatory and not subject to the prioritization process.


What if a motion has not yet been considered at the end of Friday’s proceedings?

The motion will not be considered any further.

What is the significance of the three chambers?

To give an equal say to these different voices, our membership is divided into three different chambers – environmental, social and economic, which are further split into sub-chambers of global North and South.

What is the proper procedure to submit a motion?

A motion must be submitted on the correct motions template and must have one proposer and two seconders. The proposer and seconders must represent all three of the chambers. This means that the proposer represents one chamber, and the seconders must each represent one of the remaining two chambers. The motion must be submitted in either English or Spanish. Motions are submitted and discussed via our online motions platform.

I submitted a motion. What happens to it now?

Your motion will be reviewed by the Motions Committee, who is responsible for accepting or rejecting motions. The Committee might also advise you to remedy any areas of noncompliance in your motion, or might recommend that you merge your motion with another similar motion. You will have two weeks to resubmit your revised motion.

I have revised and resubmitted my motion. When will it be uploaded on the Members Portal?

The revised motions will be uploaded in May.

How can I get in touch with other members interested in a motion?

Contact details will be in the report provided by the Motions Committee, and also in the motions platform.

Who/What is the Presiding Officer?

The GA is presided over by the chairperson of the board of directors, who may delegate this task. This task has been delegated to Mr. John Ramsay.

What is the role of the FSC Secretariat?

The FSC Secretariat will perform an impact and feasibility assessment pertaining to the motions submitted. This will be finalized by mid-July. You can contact the FSC Secretariat if you need more information or technical advice.

What is the role of the FSC Board of Directors?

The Board will receive the draft motions report from the Motions Committee, and provide their feedback to the Committee by the end of July. After the GA, the Board will make commitments regarding the next steps. This will be communicated by December.

What is the Electoral Committee?

The Electoral Committee assists in processes such as ascertaining whether a quorum has been achieved, and in tallying votes. The Committee is nominated by the Board of Directors and confirmed at the General Assembly.

What is the Motions Committee?

The FSC Motions Committee (MC) acts on behalf of the FSC Board of Directors (BoD) with respect to all matters related to the evaluation, acceptance and rejection of motions proposed to the General Assembly. The terms of reference for this Committee is available here.

When will we receive the motions report compiled by the Motions Committee?

We will send the report out in early September. The final report will be presented at the GA.

When will the motions platform close?

It will close on 1 September.

Will there be an opportunity to ask questions about the motions?

Yes, we plan to host a series of Q & A webinars with members in September and early October.

Where will the 2017 General Assembly take place?

The FSC General Assembly will be held from 8 to 13 October at the Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver, Canada.

Where can I register?

Visit https://ga2017.fsc.org for the link to the registration page.

What does my registration fee cover?
  • Conference rooms
  • Interpretation in Spanish and English (official FSC languages) during the Forest Conference and the general assembly formal business sessions (plenary sessions)
  • All materials
  • Lunch and coffee breaks for the duration of the FSC General Assembly 2017
  • Welcome and closing dinner.
  • The registration fee does not cover hotel costs.
When can I register?

You may register at any time, but we encourage you to do so as soon as possible to ensure that we are able to coordinate relevant events and field trips.

I need an invitation letter to get a visa to enter Canada. Who can I contact?

Contact Jean-Daniel Pitteloud at ga2017@fsc.org and he will issue the letter (s), as long as the member has registered with the AG and has paid the registration fee.

Am I allowed to vote at the GA?

If you are an international FSC member in good standing, you will be allowed to vote. If not, you can still observe the proceedings without voting or speaking.

If I am an observer, can I say anything during the members’ assembly or in side meetings?

You may not speak during the formal members’ assembly, but you may speak at any other time.

May I attend the chamber meetings?

Only members of that chamber may attend a particular chamber meeting, and members from another chamber may attend by invitation only.

What about attending a cross-chamber meeting?

Only members may attend cross-chamber meetings.

Where can I find the location of the meeting I want to attend?

Please check the programme and download the GA app to get regular updates and be notified of possible venue changes.

What if I can’t attend?

You can ask an international FSC member to be your proxy, and therefore vote on your behalf. An international member can be a proxy for up to 5 organizational members and unlimited individual members.

Can anyone be a proxy?

No, only FSC members in good standing attending the general assembly can be a proxy.

Can I just pick someone and tell them to vote on my behalf?

No, you need to use the proxy form on the FSC GA website to formally submit the details of your proxy, and this must be signed by two witnesses.

What if I am the representative of an organizational member, and I cannot attend. Can another employee be my proxy?

Yes, in this case another employee can step in as proxy.

Am I allowed to bring another employee along as an observer?

Yes, but please note that if this employee is not a designated representative or proxy, they may not vote.

I am not sure how the debating of motions at the GA will work…

The Presiding Officer will decide the order in which motions are debated. If you are the proposer of a motion, you will be giver a maximum of three minutes to speak. In response, other people can then identify themselves and will each be given a maximum of two minutes to speak. The Presiding Officer may ask others (for example FSC staff) to clarify certain points. The proposer will then be given a maximum of two minutes to provide a few final comments before the members vote on the motion.

Can I ask for a motion to be postponed?

Yes, but the Presiding Officer will determine whether this will be permitted on a case by case basis.

Can I propose a new motion at the GA?

Yes but it will not be prioritized and will only be dealt with when all other motions have been voted on.

Can we amend motions from the floor during a debate?

No, the amendment needs to be submitted by the proposer in advance, supported by two seconders.

When will these debates take place?

On Thursday and Friday.

What if I strongly disagree with what someone is saying during the debates and would like to comment?

We only permit one person to speak at a time. However, you can raise your red card if you disagree with what the person who is speaking is saying. Similarly, you can raise your green card if you agree with the statements made by the speaker and would like to back them up.

What is my yellow card for?

If you believe that the correct procedure is not being followed, you may use your yellow card to raise a “point of order.”

What is a point of order?

A point of order is a way to highlight that the correct procedure is not being followed.

If I believe the debate is going in circles and should end so that the motion can be put to the vote, may I say so?

Yes, you may do so. The Presiding Officer will then ask the members in the room to vote on whether they would like the debate to continue or not.

I’ve been hearing a lot about quorums. What is a quorum and how does it apply to me?

A quorum is a way to ensure that enough people participate in the vote that the result can be considered meaningful; votes are also weighted to ensure fair and equal representation between chambers and between individual and organizational members. A quorum is necessary for every vote at the GA for the vote to be valid.

Okay, that makes sense. What do we need to do to achieve a quorum?

More than 50% of the voting power for each chamber must vote on a motion, whether that vote is positive, negative or abstaining from a vote.

What if a quorum is not present?

The Presiding Officer will call a recess.

How do I vote?

If you want the motion to pass, you will raise your green card. If you don’t, you will raise your red card. If you abstain from voting, you will raise your yellow card. You also need to do this for every one other member you represent as proxy.

My card is bigger/smaller than someone else’s. Why?

Cards are different sizes depending on whether they are held by an individual member or an organization.

I abstained from voting by raising my yellow card. Why does it get counted?

We count the votes in abstention to determine quorum, not to determine the success of a motion.

What if it’s not obvious that the motion has the overwhelming support or opposition of the members? Surely you will not count every card individually?

No we don’t. In this event, we will switch to an electronic ballot voting system which will provide us with an accurate result. This takes much longer but is necessary to ensure that the correct decision is implemented.

Can you give me a bit more information on what I need to do in the event that a ballot is required?

You will be provided with a ballot paper, where you will be asked to write the number of the motion, tick a box to indicate whether your vote is “for” “against” or “abstention” and sign the paper. You will have to do this multiple times if you represent other members as a proxy. These ballots will then be collected and counted electronically.

Take note: voting on procedural issues will always take place via “show of hands” where the coloured cards are raised.


Is there a difference in the weight of the votes of individual members compared to organizational members?

Yes, individual member votes are limited to 10% of the sub-chamber. This means: 10% for the Economic North, 10% for the Economic South, and so forth. This ensures a balance between chambers.

Will there be simultaneous translation of the events?

The members’ assembly will be translated simultaneously into Spanish and French. Other side events may or may not have simultaneous translation services available. Please check the description of these events in the programme for more information.

If I don’t understand what is going on or what to do, who do I ask?

You can ask another member, the Presiding Officer, or FSC staff.

What is the tax identification number of FSC?

Forest Stewardship Council A.C.
Calle Margarita Maza de Juárez 422
Colonia Centro
Oaxaca CP 68000 Mexico
TAX: FSC951025TC3