Governance structure in a Model Forest is chosen amongst the membership and is responsible to the membership.

 Regular members of the MF can be local administration units and regional administration units, scientific and expert institutions, public and private companies, civil associations and other legal entities as well as competent private persons – sole traders, family farms that have shown an interest in participating in the activities of the MF and that have accepted its objectives and statute.

Except for the conditions listed above for regular membership, it is also important that the headquarters or a branch office of the member i.e. residence is on the territory of the MF or that its activities are being done the territory of the Model Forest.

New members initiate the membership procedure by submitting a request to the executive committee which has to decide on the request within a period of 90 days. 

Regular members of MF have a right to:

- participate in the work of the Assembly, choose or be chosen into the bodies of the MF,

- participate in the activities of the MF,

- participate in the work of permanent committees/working groups of the MF,

- be informed of the work of the MF, as well as, of material and financial affairs. 

Regular members of MF have a duty to:

- respect the provisions of the Statute of the MF,

- respect the decisions of the MF governing bodies,

- pay the annual membership fee on a regular basis.

MF members directly govern the Model Forest through a discussion and by stating their personal opinion in the Assembly, as well as, directly through their representatives in the MF governing bodies, while the preparation of essential development documents (Strategic plan, Action plans, Financial plans) are implemented on the level of permanent Advisory committees/working groups.

Governance in the MF is based on the following principles: 

a) Democratic and participative principle – is based on the assumption that the voice of every MF member is equally valuable, regardless of the realistic social influence and power. Although it is formally prescribed that the decisions are adopted by a majority of votes, the intention is to deliver the decisions by using a consensus after an argumentative debate in a casual atmosphere (all decisions on the Constituent Assembly have been delivered unanimously-by consensus).

Governance in a Model Forest is for the most part based on a “bottom up” approach where a wide circle of members, to an extent, participates in the decision-making process. A current example of which is the process of preparation of the Strategic plan with the work groups/advisory committees.

b) Transparency and publicity principle- if we assume that the activities and objectives of the MF are focused on the general benefit of the whole community on the territory of the MF, the involvement of the public is an unavoidable element of a good governance process. This can be achieved through a direct monitoring of activities by the media and by informing the public using diverse methods. A precondition for such openness is above all the internal transparency, openness and a free flow of information amongst the members of the MF.

c) Responsibility principle – due to the fact that every member of the MF has the same rights, every member also has the same responsibilities in the process of achieving goals and obligations of the MF. All authorities and responsibilities of the governing bodies of the MF are more closely defined in the Statute (Assembly, Executive committee, President, Vice-president and the Supervisory committee.   

The responsibilities of the key employee, the Secretary, have also been prescribed. The Secretary can be a volunteer or professionally employed. 

Regardless of the fact that the Working groups/Advisory committees are formally not defined as bodies in the governance structure of the MF due to the national legislation, their contribution is crucial for the process of preparation of decisions and development management of the MF.

d) Evaluation principle – in order to be able to controllably direct the development of the MF, and at the same time, governance and the decision-making processes, all in accordance with the needs of the members, it is absolutely necessary to make periodic evaluations of the achieved/non-achieved decisions, plans and programmes. Periodic evaluations will be implemented according to the principle of annual reporting by submitting an annual report of the execution of the financial plan and the report on the realization of the operative programme of the MF.