Mandate of the Bishops Commission for Justice, Ecology and Development

Preamble

The Bishops Commission for Justice, Ecology and Development (BCJED) shall oversee, direct and report on the undertakings of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in the areas of justice, ecology, international aid and development and peace.

The Commission shall oversee three standing bodies, the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC), Catholic Earthcare Australia (CEA), and Caritas Australia, through which the Conference is working, with mandates given them by the Conference and with a Bishop appointed by the BCJED as Commission Deputy in each case.

The Bishops Commission will coordinate the educational activities in the area of justice, ecology, international aid and development and peace on the national level and foster them on the diocesan level.

The Bishops Commission will be served by an Executive Secretary who will be responsible for:

1. Advising the Commission of any matter relating to justice, ecology, development and peace

2. Implementing policy decisions of the Commission

3. Using appropriate coordination mechanisms to ensure that the activities of the three agencies are complementary and that unnecessary duplication of effort is avoided

While Conference has reserved to itself the issuing of major statements on matters of justice, ecology, development and peace, the BCJED has responsibility for making other statements in this area either as a full Commission or through the appropriate Commission deputy.

1. Membership and Meetings

1.1 The Commission shall comprise five bishops as determined by Conference by-laws
1.2 The Commission shall meet at least twice a year at a time and place determined by the Chairman of the Commission

2. Areas of Responsibility
The Commission promotes the life and mission of the Catholic Church in Australia through:

2.1 Oversight of the Church's delivery on matters of justice, ecology, international development and peace as implemented by the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, Catholic Earthcare Australia and Caritas Australia

2.2  Providing leadership to the Catholic community on matters of justice, ecology, international development and peace

3. Particular Functions
In particular, the Commission performs the following functions:

3.1 Monitors the activitiy of the ACSJC, CEA and Caritas Australia in the their provision of their mandated roles and responsibilities

3.2 Develops national policies in specific areas of its responsibility, as approved or requested by Conference

3.3 Undertakes public and private advocacy in accordance with Conference policy, in support of the work of the ACSJC, CEA and Caritas Australia in the provision of mandated roles and responsibilities

3.4 Undertakes such specific projects as the Conference may, from time to time, approve or request, such as providing advice briefing on issues of international affairs

4. Advisory Role
The Commission advises the Bishops and the Conference on issues that arise in the areas of its responsibility and, where appropriate, makes recommendations for action that might be undertaken at a national level.

5. Advisory Bodies
The Commission establishes, in accordance with the mandate  in Schedule 1, the following advisory bodies to assist it in its responsibilities:

1. Australian Catholic Social Justice Council
2. Catholic Earthcare Australia
3. National Council of Caritas Australia

6. Relations

6.1 The Commission through the ACSJC maintains formal relations with:

1. United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
2. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

6.2 The Commission through the National Council of Caritas Australia maintains formal relations with:

1. The Commonwealth Government
2. The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID)
3. Caritas Internationalis (CI)

6.3 The Government through CEA maintains formal relations with:

1. The National Register of Environmental Organisations
2. The Commonwealth Government
3. Department of the Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

6.4 The Commission through the ACSJC, Caritas Australia and Catholic Earthcare Australia maintains relationships with any other entities as deemed appropriate

6.5 The Commission maintains relations with any appropriate organisations as the Commission sees fit in order to carry out the work.

7. Offices
The Commission supervises the work of the following offices in accordance with the mandates detailed in Schedule 2.

7.1 ACJSC
7.2 CEA
7.3 Caritas Australia

8. Secretariat
The CEO of Caritas Australia acts as Executive Secretary in assisting the Commission in fulfilling its tasks.

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