Governance reform: Sektionens remissvar gällande den internationella demokraitiöversynen Underlag till styrelsemöte 27-28 september 2014


Till: Styrelsen

Från: Sekretariatet

Datum: 19 september 2014, reviderat 26 september


Governance reform: Sektionens remissvar gällande den internationella demokratiöversynen


Nedan följer det remissvar som internationella utskottet och sekretariatet tagit fram gällande den internationella demokratiöversyn som pågår, “Governance reform”.


Key Issues for Governance Reform


AI Sweden Board

September 2014




The following input was decided by the Section board after discussions with the Board’s International Committee as well as key members of the organisation with international experience. The Swedish section welcomes the governance reform process and finds it reassuring to see the way in which the International Board is proceeding with this important work. Whilst the Swedish section believes that our system works well, we recognise that, as with most things, there are improvements to be made. We would especially like to stress the following:


  • Democracy, one of the core values in our statute, must be our guiding star. Efficiency and democracy does not have to be seen as opponents. Clarity and transparency in the decision making process, as well as clear lines of responsibility and accountability, will lead to a united and efficient movement. Decisions that are internalized in a democratic manner will also be owned and implemented to a greater extent. Clarifying our systems could furthermore strengthen our internal democracy, by for example clarifying the routines of consultation processes between the ICM's and by making it clearer whether decisions made in the movement are of a guiding or decision making character.


  • Democracy vs costs. Amnesty International’s mission is to end all human rights violations and since our resources are limited, we always have to carefully consider how we spend our resources most efficiently. We believe that internalized decisions, greater unity and cohesion in the movement leads to a more efficient implementation. Therefore, democratic costs must be put in relation to democratic gains. Our discussions around ICM and other fora should reflect this discussion; e.g. in what way can the members achieve our goals through the ICM?


  • Our members are the basis of our legitimacy. We are a grassroots movement and this needs to be reflected throughout the movement. The role of Amnesty International is to end all human rights

violations and to work towards a world where everyone enjoys their human rights. Achieving this should always be our top priority. However, in deciding which actions to take in order to reach our goal we must always listen to, and consult, our members. Amnesty International’s grass roots compose the core of the movement and our commitment gives the organisation its voice and legitimacy as well as contributes to the movement's hard­hitting advocacy work. Being a grassroots
movement we must trust our grass roots to make the best decisions. This needs
to be reflected in our core documents, for instance in our statutes.

The Swedish section’s approach to the governance reform


Are we missing any important criteria for governance reform from the list on page 3? Are there any criteria that should be changed or removed? Please specify.


We have found that what must be included, explained in the text above, is the movement’s shared identity as a grassroots movement, whose legitimacy comes from our members.


Also, in the decision from the ICM, both the SLT and the GMT are mentioned as important parts of this reform, yet they are not included in this consultation document. We believe it is vital to take a comprehensive approach regarding the decision-making bodies. Although both the SLT and the GMT are management and not governance, it is important that they are included so that it becomes transparent who decides on what matters.


We also question why prepcom and DF are not included in the schematic on page 22?


The four areas identified in this document as priority areas for governance reform are: the ICM and Chairs’ Assembly; decision-making; accountability; and Statute reform. Are there any other area that should be prioritised? Please specify.


Please see the text above.


Would you add or change anything significant to our overall assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of AI’s current governance system? Please specify.


Please see the text above.


ICM and Chairs’ Assembly


What is required to ensure that our global governance meeting is organized and convened to maximise adherence to the criteria for governance and decision making above?




If we were starting out again from the beginning, what decisions should we make regarding the frequency, the length, the objectives, the size, the format, the content, and the cost of the



As previously mentioned, AI Sweden believes that the basic concept of the ICM is good and does not need to be fundamentally altered. Should we start over again, however, the focus must be placed on our members. ICM should be representative and give members a proper chance to participate and influence.


Arranging a physical meeting where people from all sections and structures are involved and able to  participate holds great value. A biennial ICM works well, but could be discussed if many would find it problematic. There are pros and cons both in arranging it more often as well as more seldom. More frequent meetings would require more work and take time away from other duties, but would on the other hand provide an important continuity, which could result in more effective meetings as less time would be required to understand and familiarize oneself with the issues.


Naturally, it is always important to try to keep the costs down, and keep the ICM free from bells and whistles, but it is crucial to remember that what justifies the cost are democratic gains. Since we believe in greater unity and cohesion within the movement, as well as in decisions cleary anchored in the movement, it is our opinion that higher costs are justified if they are democratically motivated. The focus should be on expanding democracy, rather than eventual costs.


Are we currently striking the right balance between governance/business, learning/sharing, and

networking/relationship-building at the ICM? If not, how should the balance shift?


The current balance is fine, with all mentioned parts being necessary. What could be improved is  the clarification of which part is which during the meeting; the formalities must be clear and transparent. This way everyone will better understand when a decision is made and when something just lands in a learning process.


What steps would ensure that delegations have the experience and competencies needed to provide global strategic governance, while ensuring continuity and diversity in governance? Such steps could include (but are not limited to) things like: proposed delegate criteria; accountability; training; and longer delegate term lengths.


AI Sweden  firmly believes that every section and every structure must analyze and understand the international issues from their own context. One way of making smaller sections and structures more knowledgeable and internationally strong might therefore be to provide them with  financial support in order to lemploy people locally to help manage the interaction with the international movement. This would enable these sections and structures to participate fully in international efforts. These services could, for example, include an employee with the task of writing summaries to the section Board and prepare the Board for the ICM.


We believe that if the ICM was rearranged so that decisions on human rights issues were dealt with only on every other ICM, and organisational issues  on the ICM’s in between, this would ease the workload and the delegates could become more familiarized with the issues on the table.


Moreover, the information and “marketing” prior to an ICM should focus on decision-making and the democratic processes rather than networking and socializing.


The distribution of votes is fine, whilst it is possible to improve it there are other reforms that require less and yield better results, such as the above mentioned sponsored services.


Additionally, we think that the participating youth delegates should either be there on the same term as the other delegates or be given a democratic purpose, such as acting as support in locating and providing the youth perspective in the democratic processes. Today the main focus of the youth delegates is to network. Involving them more in the democratic process would provide a better continuity.


One question worth considering is whether all delegates should be there in their own, individual capacity, or if a unity in the delegations should be required. It is however important that the sections and structures themselves choose their delegates as different sections and structures have different people/positions that are suitable. There should also be time set aside at the ICM for the delegation to hold internal meetings, to allow for delegates to discuss matters, transfer knowledge and thus improve their work and input during the ICM.


Pre-meetings prior to the ICM are good, such as the regional pre-meetings that are held in some parts of the world. IS/IB should support and facilitate this.


Given our expanding global presence and the need to control ICM costs, should we reduce the size of ICM delegations? If so, what changes could we make to the ICM that would make smaller delegation sizes suitable? If we do not reduce delegation sizes, how else might we control ICM costs?


In its current form the ICM requires the current delegation size for matters of preparation and continuity. Should the ICM be rearranged so that decisions on human rights issues were dealt with on every other ICM and organisational issues were up for discussion at the inbetween ones, then perhaps the size of the delegation could be somewhat reduced. For the sake of continuity it would be if there was an opportunity to have two delegates in  at least in some working parties.


How could the burden of preparing for ICMs be reduced? What support, tools, and information would be most useful?


We believe that having a large delegation would ease the workload and give better continuity, which in turn would ease the workload even further.


The sponsored services mentioned above would aid many smaller sections and structures.


Also mentioned above, dealing with decisions on human rights bienniallyand organisational issues in between would make it easier to familiarize oneself with the issues due to a fewer number of resolutions. The ICM would also benefit from clearer structures, such as keeping to the meeting formalities in a stricter way.


What changes would you propose for the Chairs’ Assembly, given the different role and structure you might be proposing in your comments above for the ICM? What do you think about holding the Chairs’ Assembly at the same time as the Directors’ Forum?


The influence of the Chairs’ Assembly must be clear. Even if it is only an advisory body, its agenda and documents must be dispatched with plenty of time to allow a chair to properly consult its section/structure.


What reforms to the roles of the PrepCom, or CFSC, would you propose, given your other

suggestions for the ICM?


Please see the text above for an answer at large.


Distribution of power


What are the key issues related to power imbalances in the movement that are undermining

our values and the quality of our governance? How can we address these issues?


A large problem lies in the lack of trust and confidence between various bodies in the international movement. This can be improved greatly  through democracy and through clear systems and forms of decision.


We would like to stress the importance of establishing our identity and where we are going as a movement. This is a process that must be done democratically, together with our grassroots.

Also of importance is the building of systems which works for small sections and structures. Large sections and structures can always adapt, which at times is harder for smaller ones.


Decision making

How can the current system for the calculation of voting rights be improved to address the issues related to democracy, accountability, and power?


We see no need for changing (please see above).


How can we improve on the resolutions-based decision-making model? Please be specific, and suggest anything ranging from reforms to the current model to replacements for the current model.


We believe it is important to maintain the resolution-model in some form in order to enable initiatives from all parts of the movement and to maintain democracy.


Assistance in writing resolutions, including for example clear guidelines of how the resolutions should be written, is also important.


Future ICM’s that only discuss human rights issues biennially would fit better in our planning processes.

How can we improve our capacity for meaningful discussion prior to the ICM? What would be feasible, affordable, and useful?


Pre-meetings, both physical and virtual. Examples of the former include the various regional pre-meetings.


The tele-conferences with the international board are great!


Structuring the discussions on the Secchair-email list making them more transparent.


What reforms would you prioritize in this area?


Dividing the issues of the ICM’s, with decisions on human rights issues taken biennially and organisational issues biennially.




What steps can we take to strengthen the international governance systems in AI, to enhance

the accountability of the various actors identified in Annex 2?


Enhancing the trust, from top to bottom and vice versa through more transparency and rapporting. See our introduction for more discussion around this issue.


How can we address the two-tier accountability system between funding and funded sections?




How can we improve our reporting system? For example, what critical information should it provide, who should report to whom, how and when should this reporting be shared, and how can we use these reports to enhance accountability?


It is important to give ample time for the consultations as well as clear guidelines for consultation processes.


How can we improve transparency and accountability regarding our finances?


COCOA is a great and valuable tool.


Statute reform and issues


Do you have recommendations that can enhance the role and effectiveness of the Membership

Appeals Committee?


MAC could be given an expanded mandate and then get the task  to actively monitor and review the International board's work and not be limited to acting on reports received. MAC should then be made  independent from the International Board.



Given that the International Board will be bringing recommendations for Statute changes to the

ICM for decision in 2015, are there any aspects of the Statute which we have not mentioned,

and which you feel need to be updated or changed?

Please seee above/pass


Are there gender and diversity dimensions or gaps related to Amnesty’s global governance that

we should address, and how could we do this?


Openness and availability are important and must be part of all our our work. Transparency enables this.

Are there any issues or proposals related to governance reform not already discussed, that you

would like to recommend?


The SLT and the GMT should, as mentioned above, be included.

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