The “World Association of Perinatal Medicine” has had three constitutions throughout its history.
The first Constitution, which was written by Prof. Ermelando Cosmi in April 1988, is titled “CONSTITUTION OF THE WORLD FEDERATION OF PERINATAL MEDICINE (WFPM)”. The draft of this first Constitution was written in Italian and English. It is therefore a constitution linked to the first attempt to create a World Association.
The second Constitution was born as a consequence of the definitive foundation of the World Association. In the first World Congress in Tokyo (1991), the Federation was transformed into the “WORLD ASSOCIATION OF PERINATAL MEDICINE”. In the first constituent General Assembly it was agreed to create a new Constitution. The text of this Constitution was approved in the Association General Assembly in Rome 1993.
The third Constitution, which is the present one, was born from the work of a Commission “ad hoc” composed by Professors F.A. CHERVENAK, E. COSMI, J.SHENKER and M. CARRAPATO, who modified some aspects of the second constitution by order of the WAPM Board and its General Assembly. This Constitution was approved by General Assembly of the WAPM in Osaka on September 16, 2003.
The present Constitution has 15 articles, and one By-Law with 10 points. After the definition, name, legal status (art.1), objectives (art.3), duration and language (art.3), the following articles explicated the conditions and types of the memberships (ordinary, honorary, etc.) and their obligations (art.4). The structure of the Association is deal in the articles 6 to 10. In then it is established the composition and functions of General Assembly and the Council, and the duties of the secretary general and the treasurer. Among the art.11 to 15 it is established the organization of several meetings (Council, Scientific Committees, Congresses, etc.) as well as the Finances and amendments the Constitution and Dissolution.
The organization of the WAPM is based, essentially on the provisions of the Constitution and the WAPM by-laws, together with the rules and regulations approved by the Assembly General at request of Council.
As the diagram shows, the WAPM has and organizational structure, which allows it to develop a triple mission: a legislative and representative, an executive and a scientific mission.
Structure of decision
As stated in art.7 of the WAPM Constitution, “The General Assembly is the final authority of WAPM”. This is the governing body that chooses and/or dismisses Council members, accepts or suspends the decisions or initiatives taken by the Council, approves the Association’s accounts and which has the legal capacity to amend the Constitution.
However, the ordinary and daily management of the WAPM is carried out by the International Council, particularly by the members forming its Executive Board. This body establishes the Association’s policies as regards the objectives and functions described in the art.8 of the Constitution, carries out the decisions taken in the successive General Assemblies, supervises the WAPM Congresses and organization courses, controls the activities of the different committees, administers, thanks to its treasurer, the Association finances and encourages the formation of working groups, and so on the edition of publications, etc.
The composition of the Council is representative of the geographical precedence of WAPM members.
The roles and responsibilities of the different positions of the WAPM Executive Board (president, elect president, vice-presidents, secretary general, deputy, secretaries and treasurer) are ruled by art.8, 9 and 10 of the Constitution.
In the Council meetings, decisions are taken by majority vote. However, the attendance of at least one third of its members is necessary, so that the decisions can be made valid.
According to the above, the different Committees depend on the Council. At the same time, these Committees supervise most activities of the WAPM.
Apart from this, the Council gets support, information and advice from the following bodies:
1. A fund-raising Working Group which designs and sets up appropriate fund-raising program.
2. The Consultative Council, formed by all Ex-Presidents, the Ex-Secretary General of the WAPM and the Ex-World Congress President. The Consultative Council was created to debate on conflictive matters.
3. Liaison Commission with “International Perinatal Medicine Group” constituted by the President and Secretary General of the WAPM in collaboration with the International Institutions (The Fetus as a Patient, International Academy of Perinatal Medicine, Matres Mundi International, Ian Donald, etc.).
According to the art.7 of the Constitution, the General Assembly meets every 2 years in the context of the World Congress of the WAPM. The items of the agenda are prepared by the secretary General, by common agreement with the President, are discussed in this meeting. The financial situation of the Association is also reviewed.
The Council meets previous to the General Assembly in order to prepare its development. It also meets several times in the year in order to study, discuss and carry out the objectives and issues established by the General Assembly and the Council itself.
These meetings normally take place when there is any International Congress of Perinatal Medicine (World Congress, World School of Perinatal Medicine,The Fetus as a Patient, Ian Donald School, etc.) so the Council usually meets from 4 to 6 times a year.
The Fund Raising Working Group, the Consultative Council, and the Liaison Commission with the World Group of Perinatal Medicine. They only meet when the WAPM Council considers necessary.
The different Committees of the WAPM depend integrally on the Council. The control of its activities is responsibility of the Secretary General of the WAPM.
The Committee of Publications is coordinated by Editor-in-Chief of the Official Journal of the WAPM (Journal of Perinatal Medicine). This Committee, together with the President and the Secretary General, supervise the edition of the different publications authorized by the Council (Textbook of Perinatal Medicine, etc.).
The Scientific Committee, apart from its specific functions, coordinates, together with the Secretary General of the WAPM, the Working Groups activities. However, its most important function is to supervise, according to the Constitution, the Scientific Committees responsible for the Programs of the “World Congress of WAPM” and “World Congress of WAPM for Developing Countries”.
The control of these Congresses organization is done by the WAPM Executive Board.