Updated FAQs

What is PanelExCo, and what is their role during the reform process?

The reform process is overseen by an Executive Committee with a clear Terms of Reference that includes these five key areas:

  • To oversee the work that the Director General (DG) undertakes in designing, instigating and co-ordinating an independent review of IPPF’s governance and resource allocation;
  • To ensure the involvement in that process of key stakeholders in the reform process;
  • To oversee the process of bringing back proposals for change for final approval;
  • To review the budget for the reform process; and
  • To receive and respond to queries and concerns from stakeholders about the reform processes and to report regularly to the members of GC on the progress of the work of Panel ExCo
What is the role of Governing Council (GC) in the reform process?

The Governing Council retain legal and signatory oversight of IPPF.

On May 18, the Governing Council established Panel ExCo to oversee the reform process. However, once the General Assembly (GA) has made its position clear on the reforms, the GC will meet the day after the GA ends to endorse the reforms. However, the implementation of the reforms will require substantial reforms to the IPPF Regulations and Policies. A transition plan is currently before the GC.

Why does IPPF need to reform?

Because IPPF has been in crisis, and a groundswell of support in May ensured the space for dialogue and engagement. The work of the Commissions and your participation ensures that IPPF become more accountable and more fit for the 21st Century. Failure to reform will seriously risk IPPF’s future, and its ability to serve the people who need us most. There is further rationale on the reforms on page 10 of the IGRC report, and we encourage you to read this before the General Assembly.

Why are the reforms being conducted so quickly?

The Governing Council has given IPPF six months to complete its reform. Donors have provided resources for IPPF to facilitate the reform process within this timeframe. So, while the time is very short, the commission is confident that it delivered a compelling and approvable proposal in good time for all stakeholders to thoroughly review it before a final decision is taken. We are fully aware that the consequence of failing to adopt a new fit-for-purpose model at this critical moment could very well spell the end of IPPF as it now exists. We also recognise that we need to do more, and a Phase II of the reforms is currently before the GC for their discussion in the December GC meeting.

How were the surveys done and are they reliable?

As part of the consultations for the ongoing reform, the two commissions launched a joint survey on the reform website on 25 July, 16 September and 17 November. The objectives of the survey were to understand the variety of opinions about the need for change, solicit input for the development of appropriate and effective regional and global governance structures, and a strategic resource allocation model. This is so that all delegates had ample opportunity to engage before the GA.

The survey was designed and completed by professional third-party analysts, who were recruited due to their unique combination of web-based content, site development and hosting and well as statistical analysis. The name of the company is CRUSH; they manage all of the data to ensure confidentiality, analyse the results to ensure accuracy and avoidance of bias.

The surveys guided the Commissioners proposals, and significant changes were made on the basis of feedback received.

Will there be remote participation for the GA?

Yes, for individual delegates who have been denied visas or have compelling reasons for not joining, the reform team will support remote participation. All delegates who want to participate need to formally register online.

What happens after the GA?

A fully costed transition plan is currently with the GC for their consideration at the December meeting. The transition phase ensures the necessary changes to the byelaws, and allows for deeper engagement with the MA’s and national structures. We will be making this document available at the GA, and there is a workshop where we invite delegates to engage in Phase II of the reforms as these are directly concerned with MA’s.

Who are the Facilitators and what is their role?

IPPF has engaged facilitators with expertise in democratic processes. The Assembly will be facilitated by an expert team of global leaders and influencers:

  • Helen Clark (former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Administrator of UNDP)
  • Gogontlejang Phaladi (Botswanan entrepreneur and global youth leader)
  • James Fletcher (former Saint Lucian Minister for Public Service, Information, Broadcasting, Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology from 2011 to 2016)
Where is the space for volunteers?

Volunteers have been at the heart of IPPF and shall remain so. The new governance recommendations are framed around the spirit of volunteerism. There are no plans toward a non-volunteer board; all BoT members – whether coming through the MA’s or elsewhere shall remain volunteers. We acknowledge the thousands of volunteers that make IPPF what it is and will continue to do so.

Will this just give more control to Central Office?

The Commission is of the view that IPPF would benefit from a more streamlined governance system – a system with clearer distinctions between governance and management and more rigorous professional oversight, whose board and committees would be selected on the basis of skills and experience. Our proposal aims to substantially enhance Member Association engagement at both the global and regional levels. In Phase II, the thrust of becoming an MA-centric organisation remains and we welcome continued engagement from the MA’s to make this vision a reality.

What about the role of the REC’s

The Regions will continue to play an important role in the new structure. Rather than serving as an intermediate level of governance, the Commissions recommended that the regional bodies serve the MAs as Regional Assemblies where ideas and experiences can be exchanged, where trends and accomplishments can be shared, and where learning can be accomplished through seminars and workshops.

Why weren’t other theories considered?

Numerous theories have been actively considered both reports, and via the ongoing dialogue through emails, in person consultations, the website and the surveys shaped the final recommendations, as is expressed in the reports.

How will the reform process be funded?

At our donor meeting in June, there was an opportunity for further dialogue with our donors about the reform process. There was strong support at the meeting and we have now secured funding for the reform process from the Gates Foundation, SIDA, Norway and Australia. We also negotiated additional support from CIFF and the Open Society Foundation. The funding from donors for the reform process is restricted and IPPF will not be able to use it for anything else.

Thank you to the Member Associations who were part of the donor meeting, your presentations were a powerful contribution.

How will the process be run?

Two independent Commissions have been appointed by the Director General that will drive radical reform in two key areas:

  • The Independent Governance Reform Commission (IGRC) will be chaired by Steven Sinding
  • The Independent Resource Allocation Commission (IRAC) will be chaired by Gill Greer
How were the Commission Chairs chosen?

The Governing Council tasked the Director General to conduct two reviews. It’s important that the authors of the reviews and their recommendations should be independent of IPPF, its Secretariat and Member Associations. At the same time, if they are going to deliver in the short space of time provided they need to hit the ground running: this demanded from them a workable understanding of the complexities of the Federation, be readily available and experienced on the topics at hand.

Given the complexity and the time pressure of the task at hand, the Commissions are chaired by former IPPF Director Generals who understand the idiosyncrasies of the Federation.

Steven Sinding and Gill Greer were chosen because they are far enough removed from the current dynamic and context to be clearly independent, while also having enough of an understanding of the Federation to be effective. This is especially important given the tight timeframes.

What is the role of the Commission Chair?

The Commission Chairs will lead the review and consultation and be the sole author of the report and recommendations.

The Commission Chairs will devote their time to listening to input, articulating conclusions and recommendations. They will further share findings and ideas with members of the Commissions and other stakeholders to deepen the analysis.

What is the role of the Commission members who are from our Member Associations?

The role of the MA Commission members is to provide their perspective, ideas and act as sounding boards. They come from across the Federation and are there to represent IPPF’s mission. Importantly they are not regional representatives; they are expected to engage with their colleagues with the view to broaden participation.

How were the Commission members selected?

The Commission members were chosen by the Director General to provide expertise in governance and financing and the diverse perspectives of our key stakeholders, including young people, MAs and donors. It is important that the Chairs have direct MA knowledge and experience at hand, and this should be diverse both geographically and size (of MAs).

Below is more information about members of the two Commissions and reasons for their appointment:

External expertise:
Lynette Lowndes is external to IPPF and was selected for her experience with different Federated governance systems and reviews. She will support Steven Sinding by putting together a review of other Federation governance systems, including how they resolved some of the challenges every federation confronts.
Nutan Wozencroft is external to IPPF and will bring an accountant’s perspective to the resource allocation work. She will be documenting lessons from the resource allocation models of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and others.
Philip Kirkpatrick is Deputy Managing Partner and Head of Charity at law firm BWB. He has extensive experience of advising charities in numerous aspects of charity, corporate and commercial law.
MA/Federation perspective:
Hans Linde is federal chairman of IPPF Member, RFSU (Swedish Association for Sexuality Education), a federation in itself.
Edward Marienga is Executive Director of IPPF Member, Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK). He has experience managing a very successful Member Association that receives grants from IPPF Secretariat, multiple MAs with International Programmes and other partners.
Erin Sines is on the board of advisors of the Western Hemisphere Region and has experience from Hewlett on governance and transparency.
Ton Coenen is Executive Director, Rutgers, MA in the Netherlands. He has been on the Board of the GFATM as it implemented its new funding model.
Fadoua Bakhadda is Executive Director, IPPF Member, Moroccan Association of Family Planning (AMPF).
Melanie Janine Kanaka sits on the regional audit committee for South Asia and brings her experience as a World Bank auditor.
Shanshan He and Kobe Smith are IPPF youth volunteers with experience at national, regional and global levels. Jonny Oates and Sharman Stone have been two of the most active, independent advisors on the Governing Council.
Our donors selected their own representatives. Their role will be to link focal points (channels of information) and they will not be acting as Commission Members:
Anders Nordstrom has been chief of staff of WHO – with many of the same characteristics and challenges that IPPF has – and has been one of the architects of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). Will Nibblet and Chris Sturrock have huge experience with organisational change. Chris has been herself part of the Australian MA and the ESEAOR governance structures.
The Executive Committee agreed to have two focal points linking into each of the commissions:
Alice Ackermann and Kun Tang will both will keep ExCo and other Governing Council colleagues informed.
Further information can be found on about the members of the Governance Reform Commission and the Resource Allocation Commission on the website.
Those providing technical support from the Secretariat were selected based on thematic experience:
  • Paula Sofowora and Achille Togbeto are our legal and governance experts;
  • Varun Anand and Fatma Douiri two of our most experienced financial experts with deep knowledge of our current allocation system and the implications of changing it, both for Regional Offices and MAs;
  • Tomoko Fukuda as new Regional Director for ESEAOR and has not yet have global responsibilities assigned;
  • Casper Erichsen to ensure the Commission understands the implications of the MA centric approach we are pursuing through the business plan.
When will the consultation start?

The Commissions are currently developing and finalising their consultation plan which will include face-to-face and online channels.

The Commissions are independent, we are not in the driving seat when it comes to content, process or planning.

The Commissions will meet for the first time in Kuala Lumpur on w/c 1st July, and then start engaging with Member Associations, Secretariat staff, donors and supporters through a comprehensive process of consultations.

The consultation dates will be uploaded on the website as and when they become available and we will also communicate them via email.

In addition to the face-to-face consultations, there will be a dedicated electronic survey on the website. We will share the link and a password as soon as it is online, and we encourage you to engage in this process.

It is important to remember that as the Commissions are independent, the Secretariat are not in the driving seat when it comes to content, process or planning.

How will the recommendations be approved?

In November, there will be a General Assembly in India, where Member Associations will be asked to vote on the reforms. We will provide more information about the General Assembly and invitations to attend in the coming weeks.

How can we be confident that IPPF politics will not influence the reform process?

We understand the concerns around a process free from politics. That is why the Governing Council appointed Panel ExCo to guide the process, and tasked the Director General with the appointment of the two Commissions who will ensure recommendations are independent and our Member Associations are at the center of the process.

We hope that this, and the support from our donors who have insisted on transparency, coupled with clearly agreed principles on engagement, will offer the relevant guardrails against interference.

This is a high-stakes moment for IPPF and it is important that we get it right. If, despite all of the Commissions efforts to eliminate interference and bias, political interference or collusion is observed, this should be raised directly with the Commission Chairs, or via our IPPF SafeReport service, so that this is on record.

What happens if the MAs reject the recommendations?

The momentum for reform remains high, and we are now committed to thorough and deep consultation. If the recommendations are not approved, IPPF will find itself revisiting the crisis that we faced in May 2019. All those committed to IPPF are keen to move toward resolution, and recommendations for a reformed governance and the principles of a system of resource allocation.

We hope that the comprehensive consultations and the expertise provided to the Commissions will ensure a reform that meets the Federation’s needs. However, there are tangible risks.

If they are approved, what happens next?

If the full suite of changes are approved, it is anticipated that the Governing Council will formally vote on these after the General Assembly. IPPF will then move into implementing the changes immediately, including resolving all legal and compliance matters in relation to the reform. The second part of the reform will focus on our MAs and broader implementation. Further detail on this will be provided in the coming months.

Why is the process being run in such a short timeframe?

The politics demand this timeframe. It is not realistic to hold a transitional arrangement in place over the long term. There is, for example, an interim Panel ExCo in place; the WHR is in the process of disengaging; donors are waiting for a resolution. While the demand and need for change from our current system is urgent, the political reality of the reform is such that we will have to deliver the reform now, or lose the moment, with the consequences that this entails.

We may not be able to find the perfect solution by November, but we are in no doubt the recommendations presented will be better than what we have now.

Beyond November we will continue a phased approach for improvement and reform.

How can you find out more / keep updated?

Our new website is devoted to the reform process. The website is in the process of being built and more updates will be added in the next few weeks. We have also developed a Road Map to Reform which you can find on the Resources section of the website.

You can also get in touch with the Commissioners directly if you have questions or input: Governance Reform, C/O Steven Sinding: IGRC@ippf.org; and Resource Allocation, C/O Gill Greer: IRAC@ippf.org.

Who in the Secretariat is supporting this process?

In terms of key people at the Secretariat, we have convened a small taskforce that will provide overall support to the reform process. The group is led by Mina Barling, Director of External Relations, and includes support from Emma Wilson and Nisha Gohil. Technical support will be provided by Achille Togbeto, Tomoko Fukuda and Paula Sofowora for the Governance Reform Commission; and Varun Anand, Casper Erichsen and Fatma Douiri for the Resource Allocation Commission.