IFLA’s members have offered overwhelming support via a consultative ballot to changes to the way that our Federation takes major decisions. At IFLA’s 2020 General Assembly, Members will be invited to confirm these changes, a key step further in IFLA’s Governance Review.

Following the approval of IFLA’s Strategy in August 2019, the goal of the Governance Review is to ensure that IFLA has the structures it needs to deliver on its plans, effectively, efficiently and inclusively. The review is the indispensable next step in IFLA’s Development Roadmap.

Through discussions so far, it has been clear that any changes to be made will inevitably require an update to IFLA’s Statutes. This requires the agreement of our Members. However, under IFLA’s current rules, any decision to update the Statutes is not taken by IFLA’s membership as a whole, but rather only by those Members represented at the General Assembly at WLIC.

This means that those who cannot attend WLIC can only have a consultative role through a prior online or postal ballot whose result does not need to be respected. This is contrary to the spirit of our governance review and the global involvement of IFLA’s members.

In order to correct this situation, ahead of crucial votes on our Federation’s new governance structures, IFLA’s Governing Board agreed on draft amendments to the Statutes.

These proposed the changes necessary to ensure that resolutions on important issues can be decided either by meetings of the General Assembly or by all Members through a postal or electronic ballot. The proposals would allow for faster decision-making and ensure that the voices of all Members can genuinely be heard, regardless of their ability to attend a General Assembly or identify a representative.

In March, IFLA therefore sent out a consultative ballot to all IFLA voting members in March asking the question: Do you approve the proposed changes to the IFLA Statutes which aim to ensure that when taking key decisions in future, the voice of every member counts?

The ballot closed after eight weeks on Thursday 7 May. We received votes from Members in all IFLA regions and Member categories, a representative result for our global organisation. The result was an overwhelming yes, with 98% of Members in favour of the proposed changes.

This will inform a binding vote be taken at IFLA’s General Assembly 2020, which will be rearranged for later this year. If the vote passes, IFLA will be set to ensure more effective and efficient Member involvement in crucial upcoming decisions on the future of our Federation.

In the meanwhile, IFLA’s Governing Board has continued its work to define potential new structures for our Federation. Workshops held online over two days allowed for useful progress towards solutions that would reflect the same goals of achieving maximum effectiveness in our work globally and opportunities for all of the field to engage.

A consultation on these ideas will open in June in order to make sure that these proposals best reflect the views of our Members and volunteers. We look forward to working with you to continue IFLA’s transformation.

Gerald Leitner
IFLA Secretary General