23rd FIG General Assembly, Prague 2000

APPENDIX TO ITEMS 21.1, 23.1 & 26

23rd General Assembly

FIG Working Week in Prague, 22-26 May 2000

The Future Governance and Management of FIG

1. Introduction

This paper is the final document of the Task Force on the Future Governance and Management of FIG, chaired by Dr Tom Kennie, Vice President of FIG. The draft document was distributed to Task Force members, members of ACCO and the members of the current US Bureau and the German Shadow Bureau following the meeting of the Bureau in Copenhagen in January 2000. Comments to the final draft were very positive and only minor changes have been made to the recommendations after the comments. However some questions have been raised on the details and implementation of the recommendation. These have been collected to a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) to help the discussions and decision making process at the General Assembly in Prague.

The Bureau supports all recommendations made in this paper and recommends to the General Assembly that it adopts the recommendations both on the future governance model and its implementation including the arrangements during the transition period.

Section 2 of the paper summarises some of the background to the work of the Task Force, section 3 summarises the recommendations and section 4 the proposed transition plan. Details of the terms of reference of the task force and the names of task force members are contained in Appendix A.

The paper deals primarily with the arrangements relating to the roles, responsibilities and election of the body responsible for overall management of the FIG. No specific changes are contained in this report in relation to the structure and election processes associated with the existing Commissions. Work to evaluate any subsequent changes will start after the meeting in Prague and any recommendations put forward no earlier than the General Assembly in 2002 (Washington).

2. Background
2.1 The Pressure for Change

The paper circulated prior to the General Assembly in South Africa and the subsequent discussions identified some of the reasons why it was considered necessary to consider changing the existing structures for governing and managing the FIG. Among the most significant were;

  • The need to ensure that the future organisational structure for FIG is sufficiently flexible to be able to adapt quickly to the pace of change impacting on the profession, its member associations and the Federation
  • The impact of establishing the Permanent Office and the appointment of a Director with dedicated administrative support,
  • The need to consider the impact of the establishment of the Permanent Office on
    • the structure of the Bureau – in particular the roles of the Secretary General and Treasurer, and
    • the processes for electing future Bureaux and in particular for future Presidents and
    • the duration of appointments to the Bureau.
  • The need to consider the relationship between the Bureau and the Commissions.
  • The need to consider whether it remains necessary for the location of the Congress to be linked directly to the location of the Bureau
  • The need to consider the relationship between the elected Management Board (the Bureau) and the Governing Body (the General Assembly)
  • Any other changes which might be necessary, in the light of the issues above, to the structure of the Commissions
2.2 Timetable

In order for the structure of FIG to evolve in an orderly fashion it was also recognised in South Africa that it will be necessary to make some significant decisions in the near future, although the impact of some of these decisions might not take effect for some considerable time. The proposed timetable for action is as follows


Sun City

Discuss principles (completed)



Consider recommendations and take decisions on all key issues.
Agree arrangements during the period of transition from the existing structure to the new structure.

2001 Seoul Changes to the Statutes and the Internal Rules (inc. agreement on all matters relating to voting during elections).
2002 Washington, D.C. Changes to the Commission Structure, if needed.
2003 Eilat  1.1.2003 The German Bureau term of office begins.


Athens Transitional Period. Decision on location of Congress for 2010
2005   Transitional Period


Munich Transitional Period
2007   New Structure fully operational 1.1.2007
3. Recommendations

The following paragraphs summarise the key recommendations. The Task Force recommended to the Bureau that the recommendations made should be considered holistically as a ‘package’. It is felt that disaggregating the recommendations could lead to an imbalance in the process of governing and managing the Federation.

3.1 Recommendation 1 - Terminology

To distinguish the nature and role of the new management group it is recommended that the term Bureau should be replaced by the term Council.

3.2 Recommendation 2 - Changes in the Roles and Terms of Reference of Council Members

One issue which the creation of the permanent office, and the appointment of a Director has identified, is a need for changes in the roles of Bureau members (both current and future). The role of Secretary General is now much less operational oriented, and it is considered is now similar to that of a Vice President. A related role which has seen change since the appointment of the Director is that of Treasurer.

It is therefore recommended that the Statutes and the Internal Rules be modified to change the roles of Secretary General and Treasurer to that of Vice Presidents. This decision is proposed to be made in Prague and come into force 1.1.2001.

3.3 Members of the Council

It is recommended that the Council shall include the following 5 roles elected by the General Assembly

  • President
  • 4 elected Vice Presidents with responsibility for among other matters
    • strategic planning
    • financial affairs (inc. links with sponsors and fundraising)
    • member affairs
    • strategic alliances with other international and regional bodies
    • appointment of task forces
    • links with commissions
    • oversight of permanent institutions and task forces
    • etc.

It is also recommended that the Vice Presidents in addition to specific strategic responsibilities have oversight of links with member associations in specific regional areas. Further work will be required to identify the geographic regions which will be most appropriate.

3.3.1 General Terms of Appointment

All of the elected posts will normally be for a period of 4 years.

(at the General Assembly in the year of the Congress and at the GA two years after the Congress). Further details of the timing for the elections, particularly during the transition period is provided in section 4.

Detailed procedures for voting will be proposed and decided at the General Assembly in Seoul in 2001.

3.3.2 Election of Specific Members of the Council President

Election of the President will take place at the General Assembly in the year of the Congress. Vice Presidents

Vice Presidents will be elected on a phased basis with 2 elections every two years.

Elections for the 4 posts of Vice President shall be open to any person who is nominated by the member association to which they are attached. Ex officio (non-voting) Members of the Council

In addition it is recommended that three ex officio (non voting) appointments be made to the Council

  • Council Member nominated by ACCO with primary responsibility for representing the Advisory Committee of Commission Officers ACCO. This Council Member will be nominated by ACCO and the period of office would be 2 years (no individual may sit more than two consecutive periods on the Council), and the
  • Congress Director with primary responsibility for liaison between the country hosting the Congress and the Council. The period of office of the Congress Director shall be 4 years, beginning immediately after the previous Congress. The appointment of the Congress Director should confirmed by the General Assembly.
  • The FIG Director who will attend all Council meetings.
3.4 Hosting of Congress

It is recommended that the location of the Congress be open to bids from any Member Association who wishes to make such a bid.

3.5 Timing of General Assembly

It is recommended that the General Assembly should continue to meet on an annual basis as at present.

3.6 Commission Structure

Its is recommended that the work of the Task Force continue to evaluate the need for any longer term changes to the Commission structure in more detail so that the decisions can be made at the General Assembly in Washington, 2002. In the interim period the existing structure will continue, including those relating to the Ad Hoc Commission on Construction Economics and Management.

4. Transitional Arrangements

The process of moving towards the new structure outlined in this paper will require some modifications to take place to the timing of a number of activities associated with the Management of the Federation. In particular, it has implications for

  • The period of office of the US Bureau
  • The timing of handover meetings
  • The period of the German Bureau

To align many of the administrative workings of the Federation it is further recommended that all financial matters and appointments follow calendar years.

The following table summarises the key dates and the timing of elections which will ensure a fully implemented new structure is complete by 2007.

General Assembly Election Members  Ex Officio Members Comments
22-26 May

Governance structure to be adopted.

Final changes to the Statutes agreed regarding changes to role of Secretary General, Treasurer.

6-11 May
  Council Member nominated by ACCO; 
one-year term of office as ex officio member to the current Bureau begins 1.1.2002  
Washington, D.C.
21-26 April
Election of Vice President term of office begins 1.1.2003 Council Member nominated by ACCO; 
term of office begins 1.1.2003
Symbolic handover ceremony from US to German Council in Frankfurt in Autumn 2002
19-23 May
    German Council term of office formally begins 1.1.2003.
2 Vice Presidents to be elected to begin their term of office 1.1.2005 Council Member nominated by ACCO

These 2 Vice Presidents work in parallel with equivalent members of the German Council 1.1.2005-31.12.2006.

Bids for and agreement on location for Congress 2010

16-22 September

President and
2 Vice Presidents to be elected to begin their term of office 1.1.2007

Council Member nominated by ACCO

New Congress Director appointed to Council with effect from 1.1.2007

Munich Congress
2007     1.1. New structure fully operational

Appendix A

The terms of reference of the Task Force were established by the Bureau in 1998 as follows;

  • To review the governance and management structures of international NGOs in order to set a context for potential changes to the governance of the FIG post 2007.
  • To consider how to create a governance and management structure and framework for decision making which ensures an effective balance exists between the stakeholder interests of;
    • Member Associations
    • Commissions,
    • Possible regional groupings of member associations, and
    • Others who may have an involvement in the work of FIG
  • To consider how to ensure the process of selecting those responsible for the governance and management of the Federation is transparent and open.
  • To consider the nature of the relationship between the governing body and the operational management of the Federation.
Outline Workplan – Task Force - Year 2
  • Outline paper for discussion – circulated January, 2000
  • Review of draft consultative paper by ACCO and the Bureau– Copenhagen, January, 2000
  • Review of paper by ACCO and Task Force members (by correspondence) – February, 2000
  • Review of paper by the German Bureau – February, 2000
  • Distribution of recommendations to Member Associations for General Assembly in Prague, March 2000
  • Outline of Recommendations for Decision - First Session of the General Assembly, Prague 22 May 2000, (Recommendations of the Task Force to be presented at the first session of GA 22 May and a plenary session arranged to clarify any issues arising)
  • Voting on Recommendations - Second session of the General Assembly – Prague, 26 May 2000 (Decisions on the key issues including that no proposals or decisions for hosting the Congress 2010 and Bureau/Council 2007-2011 will be made in Seoul; changes to Statutes on the urgent issues).
Members of Task Force
  • Tom Kennie – Vice President FIG (Chair)
  • Helge Onsrud – Norway
  • Michel Kasser – France
  • Chris Hoogsteden – New Zealand
  • Sam Zhou – Zimbabwe
  • Stephen Yip – Hong Kong
  • Holger Magel – Germany
  • Christian Andreasen – USA

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

14 March 2000

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