THE WAY FORWARD
BY HON. ARNOLD FOOTE, PRESIDENT
World Federation of Consuls
In order for the Federation to fulfill the mandate given at the World Congress of Consuls in Izmir Turkey, by our members, I have reviewed all operations and structure and now propose changes and adjustments which I believe are necessary to improve and maintain an efficient and effective organization in this ever changing global environment.
Let me first deal with the Permanent Secretariat
As you know the Board appointed Director, the Hon Aykut Eken as Secretary and Treasurer and therefore the functions are now combined. As this may not be the case in the future, I have listed the functions separately.
Before we proceed with identifying the various functions he is responsible for, I would like to propose that the title of Secretary be changed back to Secretary General as this is in line with international practice (unanimously approved).
I now draw your attention to the presentation relating to the Secretariat structure and functions.
The Permanent Secretariat is located at the offices of the Secretary General in Brussels, Belgium;
the Secretary General has overall responsibility for the secretarial work of our Federation.
The Secretary General will work in consultation with the President and Vice-President and is responsible for the functions as shown.
Functions of the Secretariat
• Organising the work of the Secretariat
• Preparing draft work programmes for consideration by the Directors
• Supervising the implementation of work programmes and their coordination
• Conducting the everyday activities of FICAC
• Preparing an annual statement of membership of the Federation for circulation to all Member Associations
In addition the secretariat is responsible for maintaining the files, archives, accounts and other records of FICAC and safeguarding those records.
We will now move to the Treasurer.
The organizational structure and functions of the Treasurer are:
The office of the Treasurer is an honorary position, selected by President and Board tri-annually.
Any support staff is the responsibility of the Treasurer.
All functions that have to be carried out by the Treasurer are in consultation with the President, Vice-President and the Secretary General. These functions are:
Functions of the Treasurer
• Submitting a triennial budgetary proposal, reviewed by the Board, and approved by the General Assembly
• Submitting the annual budget for approval of the Board
• Keeping, preparing and presenting statements of account
• Keeping the Board informed of the financial status of FICAC
• Collecting Members’ fees and taking all measures in connection therewith
• Safeguarding the assets of the Federation and discharging its liabilities
• Depositing funds of the Federation in a bank
• Performing such other functions that the Board or the President may assign him
In addition the Treasurer will prepare annual financial statements for audit on a timely basis for presentation to the Board of Directors.
I now move to the issue of the FICAC regions and the Central Committees.
I have increased the number of regions to widen our coverage and service and to enhance our membership. The regions are based on the United Nations categorization.
The proposed regions are:
- Middle East
Each committee of the Federation has been defined as to its purpose and how it is expected to operate at the FICAC level. Most of these committees will be replicated at the regional level
Committees will be set up to deal with specific issues of FICAC. Each committee will be chaired either by a Board member or a Regional Chairman and populated by choice of the chair to include deans and members who have a specific interest in the topic.
The intention is that each region will have a similar organizational structure to the Federation; that is a chairman, vice chairman, Board (comprising Deans of the region) and appropriate committees.
Each region will be managed by a Regional Chairman who will be invited to attend the Board meetings and report of the progress in their region.
It is expected that each region supports a “Regional “secretariat located at the offices of the regional Chairman and that the Regional Chairman reports to the Secretary General on a monthly basis as prescribed by him.
The functions of the Regional committees will be similar to those of the Federation overall and they are as follows:
Functions of the Regional Committees
- Project the work of the World Federation -by communicating on a regular basis with member countries
- Develop membership within the region – special visits to countries which are not members
- Develop FICAC programmes within the region
- Visit member countries and encourage the work of the member corps- advising on projects and liaising with chairman of FICAC committees
- Project each member positively in the receiving state by interacting with media, ministries of foreign affairs and through the FICAC programmes etc.
- Promote annual trade expos in each country of the region
- Organise FICAC/UNICEF fundraising banquets in each country of the region
- Encourage educational programmes – working with FICAC committees for recommending appropriate programmes
- Create a better understanding of FICAC Services – invite FICAC Directors to the region.
There are seventeen (17) proposed Central Committees. They are divided into 2 groups and I will go through each in detail. The first group of committees will be supported by similar committees at the regional level. These are:
CENTRAL COMMITTEES (supported by similar committees at the regional level)
a) Trade Development
e) Consular Privilege Protection
f) International Relations
g) Public Relations
i) Cultural Exchange
I will now go through each proposed committee, its purpose and operation.
The purpose of this committee is to promote cross border business, trade development and networking amongst members. The operation is to organize and host trade expos and missions amongst members.
The development of trade and its promotion is one of the main functions of the Consul, and it is also an integral part of the objectives of this administration.
Our Federation includes a high proportion of persons with considerable business expertise and they are therefore ideally suited for trade promotion.
International Trade Expos and Trade Fairs have been organized by members successfully. The member Corps that are doing this on an annual basis have seen the image and status of the Consular Corps involved, grow considerably. They have earned the respect of the Government of the country and, in particular, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.
The Consular Corps of Jamaica, who pioneered this programme, made a profit from it, which cleared all their annual expenses.
Before I move on, I would like to play a DVD which I had prepared that shows excerpts from the International Trade Expo in Jamaica and the World Consular Fair in Thailand
The purpose of the Legal Committee is to protect FICAC from lawsuits, develop policies and procedures for dealing with legal issues, review constitution and Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 from legal perspective.
The Membership Committee’s purpose is to develop the membership base of the World Federation of Consuls. Its operation is to activate recruitment methodology including visits, consultations and presentations.
The Education Committee’s purpose is to advise members on available educational programmes which satisfy their needs to increase effectiveness of the Consular duties and enhance the knowledge in specific areas.
We Honorary Consuls must become more relevant to the global struggle for peace, security and sustainable development.
The World Federation of Consuls is developing an educational programme for its members in order for us to constantly update the theory and practice the craft.
The objectives of the International Relations and Diplomacy Course are as follows:
1. To ensure that persons appointed as Consuls, Honorary Consuls and Consuls General, are fully cognizant of:
(a) The changing world order and how to operate within such an environment.
(b) To understand the inter-relationships among states
(c) To understand various world organizations, for example, the United Nations
(UN), and their relevance to civil society.
2. To update Consuls, Honorary Consuls and Consuls- General that the role previously expected of them has changed
dramatically and now have a greater responsibility to Sending States, and therefore, must understand the new
paradigm shift in international relations.
3. To assist the business community to understand the nature and challenges of current international relations,
equipping them to conduct their business more effectively on the global scene.
This International Relations and Diplomacy Course will provide you with an invaluable tool; the understanding of the relationship between states and how they impact on each other. It will help you to develop an analytical approach to international news, and will assist you to bring a fresh view to whatever your area of business or interest
CONSULAR PRIVILEGE PROTECTION
The Consular Privilege Protection Committee will work with members to ensure the enactment of the privileges in line with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963.
The functions of the Committee are as follows;
(a) To inform Presidents/Deans of member associations about the rights, privileges,
immunities of Honorary Consuls as laid down in the Vienna Convention on Consular
(b) To entertain, from Presidents/Deans of member associations, reports of violation of
rights, privileges and immunities of Honorary Consuls;
(c) To consider the reports and advise the President/Dean concerned as to the line of
action; if necessary, to correspond with the authorities concerned, in consultation with
the President/Dean of the member association, on the problem with a view to finding a
solution to the problem;
(d) If requested by the President/Dean concerned and if considered necessary, to authorize
one or more members of the Committee to meet the authorities concerned personally
and discuss with them the problem with a view to finding a solution to the problem;
provided that the cost of travel, board and lodging is borne by the member association
The purpose of the International Relations Committee is to manage relationships between Governments, private sector associations, members and international agencies. This Committee is to ensure the highest class of membership for our Federation in international organizations.
Its operation is to develop working partnerships within member countries and between international agencies, the European Union, the Organization of American States, the United Nations, WTO an d the World Bank/IFC. It is also to develop relationships with the Diplomatic Corps to assist with FICAC projects.
The purpose of this Committee is to create international media awareness of FICAC by managing relationships with media, Governments and private sectors. Its operation is to maintain a working group in each region responsible for press releases relating to FICAC member activities.
This committee has to improve and make our communications more effective with our members, Governments and especially the international press. Even though we have shown improvement internationally, we have a far way to go, as the Federation, for 25 years, was invisible. The day has passed when institutions can afford anonymity – for institutions communicate by default just as surely as by design.
How an institution is viewed and judged by the public, its members, its sponsors and by Governments is vital to the institution’s reputation and performance.
As we look ahead, we must recognize that the responsibilities of public communications are becoming increasingly demanding. Membership and public confidence in an institution cannot be secured by previous norms of performance alone. Integrity, openness, concerns for human welfare, respect for the problems of future generations must be clearly demonstrated if credibility is to be achieved by individual members of our Federation.
Our Federation is an international organization whose strength and ability to influence has grown considerably. Our Board of Directors is energized to deal with the realities of the current situation, but before we act, we need to:
1. Identify top priority issues
2. Design and execute programmes to address these issues
3. Develop a comprehensive public relations programme to give co-ordinated
direction to all the members.
FICAC UNICEF COMMITTEE
The purpose of this Committee is to raise funds for the UNICEF programmes which focus on underprivileged children living with HIV/AIDS.
Its operation is to host fundraising events and present the surplus to the in-country UNICEF representative. It should also market a magazine on the work of the programme which should make an additional surplus for UNICEF.
CULTURAL EXCHANGE COMMITTEE
The purpose of this Committee is to bring cultures of the world to members’ countries and present them to the general population of the Receiving State free of cost.
Its operation is to organize cultural exchange groups funded by the member countries.
The purpose of the Events Committee is to organize and stage events of the World Federation of Consuls such as awards ceremonies, annual meetings, FICAC Forum of the Americas, FICAC European Forum, FICAC Forum of Asia, FICAC African Forum etc. Its operation is to plan and execute these even
The second group of committees will be supported by work groups/individuals at the regional level. These are;
CENTRAL COMMITTEES (supported by work groups/individuals at the regional level)
a) Vienna Convention Review
c) Economic Advisory
d) Environment/ Climate Change
e) Fund Raising
g) Advisory Committee
Again, I will go through each committee and its details.
VIENNA CONVENTION REVIEW
The purpose of this Committee is to review the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963. Its operation is to contact and follow up with Ministers of Foreign Affairs in member countries and the United Nations International Law Commission.
The purpose of this Committee is to gather news from members for FICAC publications and for the Federation’s website www.ficacworld.org. The operation of this Committee is to work with Regional Chairmen to ensure that a process is in place to gather news, manage the Federation’s website and publish the FICAC News.
The purpose of this Committee is to gather and collate information and disseminate relating to the economies of member countries. Its operation is to make information available on request.
ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
The purpose of this Committee is to guide the initiative of cooperation between the UNDP and the World Federation dealing with promoting awareness of the effects of climate change. Its operation is to create regional and international awareness of the programme.
We have initiated cooperation with the UNDP & FICAC in energy and the environment. These issues are of global concern as climate change, loss of biodiversity and ozone layer depletion cannot be addressed by countries acting alone.
Climate change is potentially the biggest risk factor facing humanity, and it is played out in the political, social and economic spheres vital to the security and viability of countries.
The costs associated with loss of life, destruction of property and depletion of national wealth arising from intensified weather events, are large and increasing. All countries are at risk from climate change and the recovery costs are so large that their prospects of development may be set back for generations.
We must have all hands on deck to deal with this global crisis. The intention of this proposed cooperation with the UNDP is for us to assist in promoting international awareness of these important matters.
The purpose of this Committee is to raise funds required to operate the organization by developing and implementing fundraising programmes.
FICAC MEMBER BENEFITS COMMITTEE
The purpose of this Committee is to negotiate preferential treatment and deals for members. This Committee should meet with international companies and agree deals such as the Hilton deal and the British Airways deal.
Its purpose is to provide a source of constitutional knowledge and experience of members. This Committee will advise the President and Board members on request.
In this presentation I have laid out the proposed organizational structure of the World Federation of Consuls, and ask you now for your comments and/or approval.
The Way Forward presentation made by Hon. Arnold Foote, President of the World Federation of Consuls, was unanimously approved at the Board of Directors meeting held in Dubai on 4th February 2010.