Transparency International Annual Members Meeting

Julie Haggie
Chief Executive Officer
Transparency International NZ

The Annual Members’ Meeting of Transparency International (TI AMM) was recently held over several days as usual, but this time it was online.

Whilst non travel is essential for managing COVID and good for the environment, people renew their energy and common purpose more when they can meet together kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face). Unfortunately, the pandemic made this impossible for this year’s TI AMM.

I attended this year’s AMM as Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ)’s voting Official Chapter Representative. Given that the time zone was set for the majority of attendees, zooming in from New Zealand started from midnight. The conference sessions went on until 4.30am, four nights in a row.

Several TINZ Directors, staff and volunteers could join in on parts of sessions, which they found very interesting and informative. In the past, this opportunity had been largely unavailable due to the AMM being held in Berlin or somewhere else distant. 

The on-line organisation and orchestration of the 2020 AMM with 200+ participants was fantastic. It was efficient and dependable.

Down to business

Like many global civil society movements, TI has its share of internal disagreements and disputes which are aired at formal meetings, and this was no different.  Recently, the movement has changed its rules to shift the balance of power from individual founding membership (IFMS), to country chapter membership. Issues like these generated long debates and some pain, particularly on the part of individual members, some who have been involved in TI from its inception.

Nevertheless, the AMM started on a unanimous high, with the embracing of the ten year 2030 Strategy for the movement. The endorsement followed a long process of consultation with the movement during 2019. Having been built from the ground up, TI’s 2030 Strategy has broad support from the 100 or so country chapters. Embodied in its purpose statement is: Holding Power to Account for the Common Good’. You will see that call to action repeated in future communications from TI and TINZ.

The AMM also voted to adopt two resolutions related to the new strategy: 

  • a Youth Integrity Initiative and,
  • the coordination of joint initiatives to guarantee that the development, purchase and distribution of treatments and vaccines, respect the principles of transparency, accountability, and protection of human rights.

Governance

From my three attendances at AMMs, I have found the TI elections to be an indicator of the movement’s health. This year it was good to see a surfeit of very good candidates standing for governance positions on the Board and the Members Accreditation Committee (MAC). The current Chair – Delia Ferreira Rubio – and Deputy Chair – Rueben Lifuka – were re-elected unopposed.

Chapters supported this, but at the same time, the movement will be holding the whole international Board to account, to ensure that our leaders embody the high standards of governance to be demonstrated as we expect of others.

Brisbane-based Griffith University Professor, A J Brown, known to many New Zealanders, received the highest number of votes for his 2nd 3-year term as a TI Director.

Collaboration

Missing from this AMM were the small group and tea-urn discussions between chapter representatives that generate ideas, collaboration and information sharing. International movements are learning to build alternative ways to communicate, but time differences and virtual formats are challenging barriers. Whilst we carry on the mahi (work) chapter by chapter, and collaborate together where we can, we are all also pining for opportunities to be united in place.

Transparency International New Zealand, PO Box 10123, The Terrace Wellington, 6143 New Zealand admin@transparency.org.nz. Copyright © Transparency International New Zealand 2009 - 2019.
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