23rd FIG General Assembly, Prague 2000


FIG Task Force on the Future Governance and Management of FIG
Chair: Dr Tom Kennie, Vice President, FIG

Supplementary Report to the General Assembly
Friday 26th May, 2000

1. Introduction

This short supplementary report summarises the comments from the Plenary Session which was held during the first session of the General Assembly on Monday 22nd May (section 2). This is followed in section 3 with some modifies proposals which will be used as a basis for progressing forward the work of the Task Force. These should be read in conjunction with the original Task Force report.

It is perhaps obvious, but nevertheless worth emphasising, that it is almost inevitable that when changes of this magnitude are being implemented that it is not possible to fully satisfy the wishes of all parties. Progress is a series of compromises along the route to an optimum state. It is important for FIG to move forward towards a more democratic form of governance. It is hoped that the modifications which are proposed can form the basis on which the Task Force can draft new statutes for final ratification in Korea in 2001.

Section 4 outlines some revised terms of reference for the work of the Task Force over the next 2 years together with the names of the Task Force members.

2. Issues

The discussions during the first session led to a number of issues being raised by members of the General Assembly. In summary these included the following issues:

2.1 Terminology

  • Whether the term ‘Council’ should replace that of Bureau, or whether the term ‘Management Board’ should be used?

Comment: The term we use is important in a number of respects. Among others these include first, a need to indicate the process by which those involved became involved, and second, to represent the role to be played by the body: On balance it is felt that the term Council most closely represents both aspects. Whilst Management Board also has many merits it is felt that, for the present, it may over-emphasise the business nature of the role without giving sufficient emphasis to the democratic election processes more directly associated with Council. It is judged that in the first instance (and subject to change in the future) that we should begin to use the term Council. This issue should, however, be reviewed in the light of experience.

2.2 Election of President

  • Whether the person elected as President should have previously held a post within FIG prior to being nominated? Whether the President should initially spend a period as President-Elect? Should the period as President be restricted to one period of 4 years? And whether in any case it is helpful to nominate one of the Vice Presidents as an ‘alternate’ for the President?

Comments: The need to ensure that the FIG attracts the best qualified candidates is clearly important. It is also important that a balance is achieved in relation to the experience of the candidates who come forward for election, in terms of general experience of FIG affairs, geographical distribution and disciplinary background.

To provide a degree of reassurance to the General Assembly it is felt that the concept of a Nominations Review Group has many merits. It is therefore recommended that such a group be established. Its terms of reference will be developed more fully but it will essentially set ‘guidelines’ for nominations, ensure that nominees provided sufficient information to enable the GA to vote on the basis of comprehensive data and also manage the process of presenting candidates to the GA. The group will be appointed by, and act under, the guidance of the General Assembly and will normally be chaired by the Immediate Past President/a Council Member. It is felt that the consequence of creating such a body will be to ensure a representative and suitably experienced set of nominees will emerge. It is felt that this mechanism can avoid the need to specify in the statutes the basis of the previous experience of the candidates.

In view of the fast pace of change affecting all professionals and the demands placed on the office of President that the GA recognises the value of limiting the period of office of the President to a single term of 4 years. In this regard, the concept of a President-Elect also has many advantages. It is felt, however, that the time commitment of such a role may be a disincentive to some candidates. On balance it is felt that the President should therefore be elected and take up the role after a short transitional period between the election and the beginning of the following calendar year.

It is felt helpful to have a person nominally positioned as ‘alternate’ who can take the role of President should this be necessary. It is not felt necessary to specify this within the statutes. Similarly to provide flexibility for the future, it would be helpful to avoid writing into the statutes any prescriptive link between the elections and the quadrennial Congresses (to accommodate ant future changes which may evolve).

2.3 Regional Representation

  • Whether elections for Vice Presidents should be on regional basis and if not (as recommended) further work is required to clarify the geographic areas of responsibility for Vice Presidents? Whether a similar process based on a Nominations Review Group should apply for VP nominations?

Comments: The Task Force did not recommend, and continues to be of the view, that it does not wish to recommend elections from distinct geographic areas. It continues to be of the view that the GA should take into account the linguistic and geographic diversity of candidates coming forward for election, so as to try and ensure an appropriate balance is maintained.

It is also felt that it would be inadvisable to be restrictive and define in the statutes the areas of geographic responsibility which form part of the portfolio of responsibilities of VPs after their election. In practice, the areas would be negotiated between the VPs in the period following the elections.

It is felt that it would be helpful to have the Nominations Review Group manage the processing of nominations for positions as Vice President.

2.4 Election of ACCO representative on the Council

  • Whether it is desirable to have an elected ACCO nominee on the Council?

Comments: Much has been said over the past years about the vital role played by the Commissions in the work of the Federation. In recognition of the importance of this role it is felt that a direct link with the work of the Council has many merits.

It should be remembered that the position is essentially a co-opted position and is subject (as all co-opted positions are) to change. It is felt that, particularly over the next 3 years or so, as the structure of the Commissions is reviewed that it would be valuable to involve the Commissions more directly in shaping the overall strategy of the Federation.

It is considered unnecessary to specify in the statutes the precise number of ex-officio members on the Council.

2.5 Relationship between FIG and Member Associations responsible for Congress/Working Week

  • Whether some future work is required to clarify the nature of the relationship and the balance of responsibilities between FIG and the country selected to host the Congress?

Comments: Yes it is recognised that it is becoming necessary to more explicitly define the balance of responsibilities between both parties. This should be developed as part of the next phase of the work of the Task Force.

3. Proposals for the General Assembly

On the basis of the points of clarification outlined above, the Task Force recommends to the GA that new statutes be drafted for the General Assembly in Korea. These statutes will be distributed in the 3rd quarter of 2000 and also posted on the web-site.

The statutes will be drafted to incorporate the initial recommendations as summarised in the original paper supplemented by the key modifications outlined in this paper. The details of the voting procedures will follow. In summary the package of recommendations will include:

3.1 that the term Bureau be replaced by the term Council

3.2 that the roles of Secretary General and Treasurer be replaced by the term Vice President

3.3 that the Council shall consist of a President and 5 Vice Presidents

3.3.1 (a) that a Nominations Review Group (NRG) be established in order to manage the process of bringing forward to the GA all of the candidates being considered for all elected positions and for ensuring that a ‘balanced’ distribution of candidates is created. The NRG will act under a set of internal rules established by the General Assembly.

3.3.1 (b) that the period of office for all posts will be 4 years

3.3.1 (c) that no individual may sit for more than 2 consecutive periods on the Council and the period of office of the President shall be limited to one period of four years

3.3.1 (d) to ensure continuity the elections will take place on a phased basis with elections every 2 years

3.4 that the Council shall have the ability to co-opt a number of ex-officio members to assist with the work of the Council. These co-opted positions will normally include the Director of the FIG office, a representative of the ACCO and the Congress Director for the next Congress.

3.5 that bids for hosting the Congress shall be open to one, or more Member Associations.

4. Task Force – Review of Commission, Task Force and Permanent Institution Structure 2000- 2002: Terms of reference and Membership

The work of the original Task Force is, subject to the final drafting of the statutes, nearing completion. The existing Task Force members (I hope!) continue to assist with and contribute to the development of the draft statutes.

In parallel an additional group will start work on the more specific issue of reviewing the existing structure of the Commissions. The draft terms of reference and proposed membership of the Task Force is outlined below.

4.1 Terms of Reference

In the light of:

  • The changes which have been occurring in the practice of surveying
  • The strategic priorities of the FIG
  • The need to integrate and coordinate the various work groups contributing to the work of the FIG (i.e. the Commissions, Task Forces and Permanent Institutions)
  • The existing and future work plans of the Technical/Professional Commissions of the FIG
  • The need for the FIG to assure itself of ongoing financial support, and
  • The new statutes relating to the Governance and Management of the FIG,

To consider and make recommendations for any changes to:

(a) Structural Issues

  • The current structure of the Commissions, Task Forces and Permanent Institutions
  • The process of identifying and electing members to progress the Technical/Professional work of the FIG
  • The existing structure and links between the Council strategy and the Task Forces, the Technical/Professional Commissions and the Permanent Institutions, and
  • Enhance the linkages between the elected posts in the management structure and the technical work of the FIG.

(b) Working Weeks and Congresses

To also consider and make recommendations for any changes to:

  • The balance of responsibilities and the financial arrangements associated with the decision to award a Working Week/Congress to one, or more MA.

4.2 Proposed Membership

  • Dr Tom Kennie (UK) – Vice President, Chair

  • Andreas Drees (Germany) – Incoming Secretary General/Vice President

  • Matt Higgins (Australia) – Vice Chair, Commission 5 and representative of ACCO

  • Gabriele Dasse (Germany) – Chair of Task Force on Under-represented Groups in Surveying

  • Stig Enemark (Denmark) – Chair of Task Force on Mutual Recognition of Qualifications and Past Chair, Commission 2

  • Christian Andreasen (USA) – Secretary General

  • Michel Mayoud (France) – Chair, Commission 6

5 Conclusions

The General Assembly is invited to note this report and to indicate its support for the direction outlined in section 3 and to endorse the terms of reference and membership for the new Task Force as outlined in section 4.

Dr Tom Kennie
Chair, Task Force on the Future Governance and Management of FIG

25 May 2000

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