Agenda item 9
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS (IFSW)
Welcome to the Biennial Report of the IFSW for the period 2004 – 2006. This report
provides a summary of the work undertaken by and on behalf of the IFSW over the
preceding two years. In part it also provides a window into the future, looking at what we
have achieved but also what we now seek to achieve in the next period. This is thespecially important given that the 2005 General Meeting marks the 50 Anniversary of
the modern IFSW.
As we close the reporting period the IFSW has member organisations in 80 countries,
representing just under 500,000 social workers worldwide. The work of the IFSW is
conducted through our Secretariat in Bern, staffed by the Secretary General, a part time
Administrative Assistant, Accountant, project staff in Austria and New Zealand and
supported by over 80 volunteers in a variety of official positions. Many of these
individuals have contributed to the preparation of this report. Copies of the full reports of
Convenors and Vice Presidents are provided separately.
At the 2004 General Meeting the federation, together with the International Association
of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) endorsed two foundation documents for social work.
The Ethics of Social Work Statement of Principles and the Global Standards for the Education and Training of the Social Work Profession. Further we ratified the IFSW
policy on Globalisation and the Environment and put in train the final steps for the
adoption of the IFSW policy on Indigenous Peoples. We looked at the status of social
work across the globe through an initial report on Registration – work which continues on
to the forthcoming General Meeting. Our Human Rights Commission underwent a
restructure which will be reported on later in this Biennial report. We agreed to a process
for engagement with other social work organisations, introduced a new way of managing
membership fees, established a committee to look at other sources of revenue and
launched the IFSW regional funding initiative. In short it was a busy and productive
During the past two years work has progressed in many of these areas and new
initiatives have evolved.
Much of the work of the IFSW occurs at regional levels. This past period has seen considerable endeavour on the part of each Vice President and Members at Large together with their regional committees, where they have been formed.
The African region has undergone a major transformation during the past 2 years. The Pan African Conference held in Nairobi in April 2005 marked a turning point for the region. There has been a change in leadership with the resignation of Kishore Ramgoolam as President and Charles Mbugua assuming that role. He has been joined by Daniel Kvame Opare Asiedu as the Member at Large and they have established a strong regional network which has developed a robust plan for the region's development.
The Asia and Pacific Region has invested considerable time in the development of the regional network. However a great deal of their focus was understandably directed towards responding to the Tsunami which devastated large parts of the region in December 2004. This they achieved through the Families and Survivors of the Tsunami (FAST) project.
IFSW Europe continues to strengthen the voice of the profession across the region and within key European bodies. The region has focussed upon its structural arrangements whilst at the same time promoting the social cohesion project among its membership.
Our representatives in the Latin American and Caribbean region have continued to work very hard to strengthen the regional network. This has, in some ways been assisted by the increase in the amount of information available in Spanish.
While North America has only the two organisations in membership between them they represent over one third of the individual social workers in affiliation. The level of active co-operation between these two members continues to grow and has been marked by joint meetings and a Memorandum of Understanding.
Since we last met in Adelaide levels of world conflict and the inevitable consequences of death and displacement continue to cause concern. So too has the increase in the number of people living in poverty. The IFSW has supported the End Poverty Now Campaign and initiatives of the United Kingdom and G8 to push to debt cancellation and robust programs to address poverty at a grassroots level. Yet these initiatives, laudable as they are, will fall far short of what is required. The US$40 billion of cancelled debt from Gleneagles still leaves and estimated US$200 billion debt in African countries
The new re- formed IFSW Human Rights Commission has been working hard to establish the network of contact persons around the globe whilst also responding to any references sent to it by the Executive Committee and pursuing individual cases as necessary.
The Permanent Committee on Ethical Issues has been primarily concerned with finalising the new Statement of Ethical principles preparatory to publication in print and on web sites. They have also turned their attention to the promotion of debate about
1 Lewis, S. Race Against Time: searching for hope in AIDS ravaged Africa, The text Publishing Company,
social work ethics, firstly through the Social Work Around the World IV publication and secondly with a view to preparing a discussion paper and accompanying workshops on Ethical challenges facing cultural diversity and minorities.
We have continued our representation to the United Nations in Geneva and New York, and formally established our representation in Nairobi. Our representation in Vienna has been in abeyance but is due to re commence in the 2006-2008 period.
Our new team in Nairobi has set a cracking pace and in June 2006 we will sign a Memorandum of Agreement with UN HABITAT marking the way for a new era in
IFSW/UN Agency relationships. Our Nairobi team has been co-opted to a sub-
committee of the membership of the Cities Alliance Consultative Group. They have also been busy looking at advocacy issues on inclusiveness, policy change, gender
mainstreaming in urban development and HIV/AIDS management.
Our UN Team in Geneva has continued to monitor the area of human rights and in particular the establishment of the new Human Rights Council, the UN Study on Violence against Children, the Draft Guidelines for Children deprived of Parental Care, work with UNICEF and the drafting of a statement on extreme poverty.
rdthWhile in New York much of the focus has been on following the 43 and 44 sessions of
the UN Commission for Social Development (CSocD). The 2005 session focussed on thpoverty, unemployment and social disintegration with the 44 session reviewing the work
of the UN Decade for the eradication of poverty. Other focal points for this team have been people with disabilities, status of women, children, indigenous people and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
In Adelaide 2004 the IFSW committed itself to a particular focus I three key areas –
Poverty Alleviation, Human Rights and the Promotion of the Profession. In addition to our existing Human Rights Committee two new committees have been established –
Poverty Alleviation and promotion of the Profession. Both will report back to the General Meeting in Munich
The adoption of the joint IASSW/IFSW Global Standards for the Education and Training of the Social Work Profession represented the beginning of what must be a dynamic process. Since the adoption of the standards in Adelaide both organisations have agreed to form a standing committee that will continue to monitor the implementation of the standards and work on a regular review process. Similarly our Ethics Committee has established a cooperative relationship with IASSW and in 2006 we will once again commence the review process of the Definition of Social Work.
Our partnership with IASSW goes well beyond these projects and forms a framework to ensure that the voices of practitioners and educators are united and harmonious in pursuit of our common goals of social justice. This pursuit of partnership also extends to our sister organisation the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW). Further details of this co-operation will be provided in the body of this report.
Conferences remain an important part of the IFSW calendar and the World Conference in Adelaide in 2004 was, by all measures, a resounding success and testimony to the hard work of the organising team. This conference was followed in 2005 with three successful regional conferences, Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific.
Our Friends program continues to grow in strength. We now have a total of 1338 Friends
in registration since the program started in 1991.
Another major initiative has been the work of the Task Force on Non Dues Revenue
whose work has been to redress the Federation's over reliance upon membership fees
for the operating income of the organisation. The committee has worked hard to develop tha range of fundraising initiatives many of which have related to the 50 Jubilee of the
IFSW and will be evident at the 2006 General Meeting and Conference.
Our secretariat has met the very heavy demands placed upon it during this period and
has had to deal with, at the most personal level, the death of our Communications
Officer Lisbeth Mattsson.
Lisbeth‟s death was an enormous professional and personal loss to the IFSW and all of
those who were privileged to know her. Her skills were unique and difficult to replace.
However, with the support of the Executive Committee and careful allocation of finite
resources we have been able to engage support to fulfil many of the tasks previously
managed by Lisbeth. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the very many
people who provided assistance during this difficult period.
Finally the IFSW faces demands which are ever increasing. Prudent management of the
finite resources will remain a challenge for the secretariat and Executive Committee alike.
The work of the IFSW has been greatly assisted by the generosity of and commitment of
all those individual who volunteer their time to serve on committees and member
organisations that support our work.
Sydney/Berne, 4 July 2006
Imelda Dodds Tom Johannesen
President Secretary General
President: Imelda Dodds, Australia
Treasurer: Fiona Robertson, New Zealand
Vice-President Africa: Kishore C. Ramgoolam. Mauritius, resigned March 2005 Vice-President Africa: Charles Mbugua, Kenya March 2005- Vice-President Asia & Pacific: Justina Leung, Hong Kong Vice-President Europe: David N. Jones, United Kingdom Vice-President Latina America & Caribbean: Juan Manuel Latorre Carvajal, Colombia
Vice-President North-America: Gary Bailey, USA
Members at large
Africa: Charles Mbugua, Kenya until March 2005
Africa: Daniel Opare Asiedu, Ghana (commenced April 2005)
Asia & Pacific: John Ang, Singapore
Europe: Monica Egan, Ireland
Latin America & Caribbean: Joaquina Barata Teixeira, Brazil North-America: Ellen Oliver, Canada (Until July 2005)
Veronica Marsman (From July 2005)
EXECUTIVE AND STEERING COMMITTEE MEETINGS
Two Executive Meetings (Adelaide, October 2004 and Washington, DC May 2005) and two Steering Committee Meetings (Bern, 2005 and Sydney 2006) have been held since the last General Meeting in Adelaide. A further Executive Meeting will be held immediately before the General Meeting in Munich, July 2006. Complete minutes for these meetings are held at the Secretariat and can be obtained upon request. The following is a summary of the meetings. Some matters reported here may be covered elsewhere in this report.
ADELAIDE OCTOBER 2004 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
This meeting, as always convened immediately after the General Meeting, is the first of the new Executive Committee. The meeting confirmed the work plan for the 2004-06 period and then established the membership of any working parties within that framework. These included the task Force on Fees, Task Force on Non Dues Revenue, and IFSW representation on joint committees with the IASSW.
BERN, JANUARY 2005 STEERING COMMITTEE
This 3-day meeting of the Steering Committee was, as always intensive and productive.
stThe Steering Committee is comprised of the President, 1 Vice President, Treasurer
with the Secretary General in attendance. It has no decision-making powers but is charged with the responsibility of monitoring the work of the IFSW.
The IFSW Action Plan was reviewed in detail. As a result of the meeting a series of recommendations were forwarded to the Executive Committee for voting and to individuals for specific follow up.
The Steering Committee is also the finance committee so this enabled a thorough overview of the budget situation for the IFSW. In particular work focussed on addressing the re structuring of the Secretariat in the light of the death of the Communications Officer. A detailed plan for workload re-allocation was developed for presentation to the Washington EXCO Meeting.
WASHINGTON, DC MAY 2005 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The National Association of Social Workers (USA) hosted the Executive Meeting which and are indebted to them for their warm hospitality.
This represented the first full meeting of the 2005-2006 Executive Committee. It also provided an opportunity to hold Task Force meetings for both the Fees and Non Dues Revenue groups. The Task on the Fees group was to develop an equitable means of recommending fee increases so that IFSW fee levels do not fall below CPI levels on a continuing basis.
The Non Dues Revenue groups turned its attention to the question of fundraising activities and will be reported on in full at the General Meeting.
The Steering Committee presented its work on the IFSW at 50 project and a considerable part of the meeting was devoted to the four key elements, Poverty Alleviation, Human Rights, Promotion of the Profession and Ethics.
Any modern organisation finds it prudent to engage in a Risk Management process. Thus the Executive Committee had committed itself to an extensive review process culminating in a major session identifying the key risk areas for the IFSW. Since the Washington Meeting a Risk Management plan has been developed and endorsed for implementation. The plan will be monitored on an annual basis.
The Washington Meeting was also able to finalise the IFSW Policy on Indigenous Peoples and bring it into circulation as a final document.
The job descriptions for our office bearers and volunteers were reviewed and will be finalised by the General Meeting in Munich
SYDNEY, JANUARY 2006 STEERING COMMITTEE
The Steering Committee Meeting was held in Sydney and coincided with the joint meetings with the IASSW and ICSW. A meeting of the Task Force on Non Dues revenue was also scheduled for this period. These meetings are reported elsewhere in the Biennial report.
As always the IFSW Action Plan was reviewed in detail. As a result of the meeting a series of recommendations were forwarded to the Executive Committee for voting and to individuals for specific follow up.
The work of the Steering Committee is the subject of regular review and the Hon Ambassador is undertaking an evaluation of the committee‟s functions. Her report will be
available for the Munich Meeting.
At the conclusion of the General Meeting in Adelaide in 2004, national social work organisations in 78 countries were in membership. Our ranks swelled to 80 with the admission of the Palestinian Union of Social Workers and Psychologists/ Bethlehem
Chapter and the Papua New Guinea Social Workers‟ Association to membership if the
At the time of writing this report we are awaiting the results of a vote to enter into membership four new organisations – Armenia, Rwanda, Sudan and Swaziland.
Assuming a successful vote this will bring membership of the IFSW to 84 member organisations. Remembering that 50 years ago 12 member organisations established the modern IFSW we have come a very long way.
In addition we are anticipating presenting applications for Moldova and Albania in the near future.
Nine organisations from the following countries remain in provisional membership under the new arrangements:, Greece, India, Lebanon, Lesotho, (f.y.r.o.) Macedonia, Mongolia, Netherlands Antilles, Niger and the Slovak Republic. Unless the issue of the membership is resolved at the 2008 General Meeting all will risk losing membership of the IFSW.
Overall the financial outcomes for 2004 and 2005 have resulted in a small surplus. However the requirements of running an international organisation to represent social work on a global basis are a financial challenge and will continue to be so. Changes in membership dues payment structure have alleviated some of the challenges of the fees system and the collection of dues in 2004 and 2005 exceeded budget by 5,255. It is important to acknowledge the Associations who pay full fees and who provide the core financial basis on which IFSW operates.
The reduction of the income from IFSW Friends is of concern as this group has helped to sustain IFSW operations in previous years and it is important that an analysis is made of the reduction of income. The Jubilee Appeal is a change of direction for IFSW and it is too early to judge the extent of the fund raising and the impact on the income of IFSW.
Lack of payment of membership dues
The past situation was largely caused by a lack of payment of membership dues, by increased costs for meetings, lack of income from some world conferences (the 1998 & 2000 world conferences were not able to meet financial obligations), and by administrative costs.
A very limited budget
We are operating a global body at a very limited budget of less than 440,000 Swiss Francs (appr. 357,000 US Dollars) and trying to meet a number of expectations from around the world. Volunteers cover many of their own expenses, and the Secretariat is not adequately compensated for the number of hours worked.
TASK FORCE ON MEMBERSHIP FEES
The Task Force on Fees reported to the 2004 General Meeting and the majority of the recommendations were accepted. Since that time it has continued its work to ensure that membership fees are set in a transparent and sustainable manner
TASK FORCE ON NON DUES REVENUE
This Task Force was established after the Adelaide General Meeting and had worked hard on the many tasks required to improve the non dues income capacity of the organisation. The spectre of the 50th Anniversary of the IFSW provided a great
fundraising opportunity but also presented many challenges not least of which was preparing a major fundraising campaign with comparatively short time lines. Much if the success of this campaign has been dependent upon the support of member
organisations and we express our sincere thanks to those who have responded so well. At the time of writing the appeal has resulted in US$15,350 in response to the Tabula Gratulatoria, Jubilee 500 and donations. A further US$22,400 was donated by the founder of Sage publications for the specific purpose of supporting the presentation at World Urban Forum III. The outcomes of the Jubilee Brochure Advertising were not thavailable at this stage. The work of the Task Force will go well beyond the 50 Jubilee
activities, however this provided a unique starting point and steep learning curve for all involved.
The new President Africa region Charles Mbugua was able to convene a meeting of thmember organisations at the 6 Pan African Conference and to develop a strong
regional plan. A new Member at Large, Daniel Asiedu (Ghana) was also elected along with a regional committee comprising of six representatives acting as focal points. Current membership in the region stands at 11 with an additional 3 members expected join IFSW by the 2006 General Meeting. Other memberships currently being pursued are; Zambia, Angola, Somalia, Burundi and South Africa.
The African region has developed special working relationships with Commonwealth Organisation for Social Work (COSW) culminating in a Young Carers Symposium in Nairobi in May 2006. The African region also leads our relationship with UN HABITAT (see later).
The focus for the region in the coming period will be the strengthening of national associations and capacity building for members. Emphasis will be placed on the establishment of National Associations where they do not exist, newsletters and lobbying for the enactment of legal framework (registration) on which the social profession would operate across various countries in the region
ASIA & PACIFIC
In 2002/2004 the work plan of the Asia Pacific Region was greatly affected by the unfortunate cancellation of the Regional Conference due to the outbreak of SARS. In this last period the Tsunami has galvanised the regions attention and much of its activity throughout 2005. The FAST Project granted assistance to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand & India with the projects in Indonesia and Sri Lanka now completed. A full report on the FAST project will be made available to the General Meeting.
Fortunately for organisers no health or other event created problems for the 18th Asia-Pacific Social Conference in Seoul, Korea. Over 800 participants from 27 countries contributed to an excellent event. At the time of writing this report plans for the 2007 conference have been stalled. Originally planned for Malaysia and unanticipated problem arose between conference organisers and APASWE. The region remains hopeful that it may be possible to mount some event in 2007.
The region has commenced work on its regional development plan, funded by the IFSW regional development fund. The focus for work is Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
While the region does not usually count Russia as a member there is a clear reason to ensure good working relationships. Our Russian Association, while an active member of the European region has a membership that spans both Europe and the Asia Pacific regions. In 2005 there was agreement that the Asia & Pacific Region would work with colleagues in the Asian states of Russia. The Russia Association of Social Workers determined to hold an International Conference for Social Workers of Siberia and the Far East. This successful event has just concluded in June at Kyzyl, Tuva.
Finally the region continues to work on its structure and plans to finalise the proposals at the regional meeting that will be held in Munich.
The region includes the largest number of countries (35) and member organisations and the most social workers (169,000). There is a well-established system of annual Delegates Meetings, local membership fees and a regional Executive meeting regularly. During this period both the region and Executive have made maximum use of IT with monthly web chats and regular IT based link ups for Executive members.
Delegates meetings were held in Cyprus 2005 and Sofia in May 2006 and Executive Meetings in Dublin, Cyprus, Oxford, Barcelona, Bern and Sofia. The Executive and delegates in this region have worked hard to address the disparity in wealth and size across the diverse membership of the region.
The region has undergone a period of structural change bringing in to force a new constitution and representative structure. The European region has always delivered a strong regional presence and social work day is one of the key vehicles. In 2005 around 20 countries took part in a vast range of activities including meetings in Parliaments, special articles in magazines and meetings for social workers and service users. The region has also focussed on a social cohesion project and 20 countries have participated in one of the 3 workshops or sent national reports to these events. The project has been largely funded by the IFSW regional funding program and it is anticipated that the region will seek to extend the project into 2007.
The region has always emphasized the importance of networking with other NGO's and key government instrumentalities. In this period a memorandum of understanding has been approved to set up an informal grouping called European Network for Social Action [ENSACT] bringing together several professional bodies representing social workers, social pedagogues, academics in this field and others.
The IFSW Europe has also been accepted as an observer member in Social Platform which in turn will increase the flow of information and contacts in the European Union. IFSW has been active on the EU Services Directive and begun to provide briefings for member organisations and the regional work at the Council of Europe has gone from strength to strength over the past 2 years.
The region remains ever conscious of the fact that its work is almost solely dependent upon volunteer activity and the demands placed upon those involved in regional affairs.
LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN
The Vice President Latin America and Caribbean has presented a statement on the way forward for the region. This is indeed a very important region for the IFSW and we
continue to work to find ways to engage with membership within the region and then again across the whole organisation. The full text of the Vice presidents message can be found at
The North American region is made up of two large member organisations who work in a cooperative arrangement. The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) USA have continued the work to strengthen their organizational relationship during the past 2 years. Their efforts have increased communications, identified mutual organizational concerns, and examined opportunities and challenges for the social work profession in the region. As a result there is a renewed spirit of regional and organizational collaboration.
The framework of the collaboration has been generally defined in a Memorandum of Understanding initially signed in 2003 and is being updated in 2006. The Executive Committee of NASW has met the Board of CASW in a formal meeting process in November 2005.
The region, through CASW and NASW, continue to support IFSW by membership in IFSW committees and Task Forces. NASW has helped to update IFSW social policies most notably the IFSW Policy on HIV/AIDS. NASW provided information to IFSW about the importance of supporting the inclusion of civil society on the United Nations Peace Building Commission and more specifically the inclusion of social workers at the country team level. The CASW Executive Director continues in the role of Election Officer. The NASW has also given tremendous practical support to the IFSW Jubilee campaign through Logo designs and other graphic designer assistance.
The region is very active in a number of committees and issues that relate directly to international social work. These include acting as Chair, Executive Committee, Washington Council of Organizations, of the United Nations Association-USA (UNA-USA); NASW representative on the Global Education Commission of the Council on Social Work Education; a member of Interaction, an association of Non-Government Organizations that work in the field of international development; Co-Chair of Interaction‟s Transition, Conflict and Peace Working Group.
CASW and NASW will individually be hosting a Delegation from the China Association of Social Workers in the northern hemisphere autumn. A return delegation from NASW will also occur.
Both organisations will also host a joint meeting of Canadian and American social workers participants at the IFSW International Conference in Munich. Both Associations plan to continue to support and work with IFSW policy development efforts.
The promotion of the role and purpose U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been a focus for both member organisations who have drawn attention to specific time related themes amongst their membership. Both are part of the Make Poverty History Campaign. NASW continues to be a Collaborative Partner with the ONE Campaign attending the G8 meetings held in Scotland. Members of the NASW Board of Directors have become spoke-persons for the ONE Campaign through out the United States as part of their over all functions.