Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has cancelled plans to hold a 2020 Membership Gathering and Extraordinary General Assembly where it had aimed to seek approval for its Governance Review proposals.
Rather than bring the IPC membership together in one place in 2020, the IPC has revised its timeline and will put elements from the Governance Review before the membership to vote on at the 2021 IPC General Assembly and either the 2022 IPC Membership Gathering or 2023 IPC General Assembly.
Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said: “Gathering the IPC membership in one place for the 2020 Extraordinary General Assembly and Membership Gathering to conclude the Governance Review is not practical, feasible, sensible or possible at this time.
“The pandemic has created a significant amount of extra work for all IPC members and IPC senior staff. There is ongoing uncertainty regarding the virus, restrictions remain in place on global travel and meetings of large groups, and COVID-19 has had a significant financial impact on all within the Paralympic Movement.
“Cancelling the 2020 IPC Extraordinary General Assembly does not mean we are stopping the IPC Governance Review. It just means a readjustment of the timelines to conclude the project.
“At present, the IPC’s governance is in good shape, but we are not satisfied with this. We want the IPC and Paralympic Movement to be ahead of the game when it comes to governance which is why we are keen to pursue these reforms.”
In April 2018, the IPC announced a review of its governance structures for the first time since 2004, establishing a Governance Review Working Group led by IPC Vice President Duane Kale. After 18 months of consultation with IPC members and stakeholders, the IPC published its Governance Review proposals in October 2019 under the title “Remaining Fit for Purpose”.
The proposals highlight nine key principles for change. They are:
1. Purpose: The purpose of the IPC will focus on promoting inclusion in society through Para sport, specifically by:
Its leadership of the Paralympic Movement
Its supervision of the Paralympic Games
Its support of the NPCs, IFs, IOSDs, Regional Organisations and athletes
It will cease acting as an international federation for the 10 IPC-run sports through a managed exit process. It will also restructure the Agitos Foundation to simplify its governance and bring its programmes back into the IPC to achieve development of Para sport more efficiently.
2. Membership: Some adjustments to the categories of members and the criteria for them are proposed including for IPC-run sports and Recognised International Federations. The role and structure of Regional Organisations is also clarified.
3. Wide engagement: The mechanisms for engagement in decision-making will be improved to enable regular and wide participation by all IPC members and others in the Paralympic Movement.
4. Greater athlete engagement: There will be greater engagement with athletes in decision making at all levels of the IPC.
5. Role clarity: The roles and procedures of the President, the IPC Governing Board and the Chief Executive will be clarified to ensure effective and efficient decision-making and to set out their leadership, governance and management obligations, respectively.
6. Aligned committees: The number, nature, composition and role of the various committees, and working groups will be refined to align to the strategic priorities of the IPC.
7. Skilled and diverse people: The people who sit on decision-making bodies within the IPC must have the necessary skills and expertise for the tasks they are performing. They must also reflect the diverse nature of the Paralympic Movement, which requires prioritising the appointment of people with disabilities, people from all regions of the world and gender balance.
8. Integrity standards: High standards of integrity and behaviour will be required of its people and its members with independent bodies in place to enforce those standards.
9. Transparency: Greater transparency of decisions and the decision-making process with new IPC practices and procedures to be implemented to ensure openness and accountability to the membership, stakeholders and the wider Paralympic Movement.
Read Remaining Fit for Purpose here.