3.17 Committee Reports
3.17.1 Statutes and Bylaws
Mr. Morris wished to have Councils considerations on the definition of "majority" in GA voting. The current IFIP practice is regulated by Statute 4.1.3 "Quorum and Majority" and Statute 7 "Amendments".
According to this practice, if GA is considering a contentious amendment of the Statutes, needing three-quarter majority, then abstentions actually count as a vote "against". This, besides creating great trouble in monitoring the actual voting process, makes the achievement of change very difficult.
Mr. Morris has discussed this with the Chair of S&B and with EB. There are two possible alternatives to the current practice. The first is that "a (three-quarter) majority of all Members is required", whether present or not. This, however, would be totally impracticable. The other is that "a (three-quarter) majority of votes cast" is required. Abstentions in this case would not count nor would absent Members without proxies. This said, he wished to know Councils opinion on this matter in order to have a formal proposal prepared for GA 99 discussion and decision.
Mr. Berleur felt that IFIP must take a broader look and should investigate legal practices under different juridical systems. Mr. Masduki suggested that a two-thirds majority could also be considered and Mr. Boynton added that in Canada many organizations comply with the two-thirds majority vote on important issues. Mr. Johnson thought that there will always be difficult decisions, irrespective of whether it is a two-thirds or three-quarter majority, and favored the second. Mr. Ramani preferred not to count abstentions or alternatively to move to a two-thirds majority vote.
Mr. Khakhar reported that since GA 98 there were a number of initiatives relating to DCSC including preparations and organization of tutorials in Latin America and South East Asia. DCSC had met in Goa and reviewed some of its activities. DCSC members felt the Committee should be better organized and proactive and should work closely with the representatives of IFIPs Member societies from developing countries. It is also essential for DCSC to work closely with IFIPs TCs. Messrs. Glasson and Samways had prepared a paper on the role of TC representatives to DCSC.
The DCSC Chair referred to an idea of Mr. Nedkov for a DCSC scheme based on "vouchers" by which Member societies would be encouraged and stimulated financially to participate in certain IFIP activities. A Task Force consisting of Messrs. Ramani, Samways and the IFIP Executive Director was established immediately after the DCSC meeting to prepare a document on the proposed scheme for Councils endorsement [please refer to ANNEX 1 of the Minutes].
Mr. Johnson thought that this was an excellent and imaginative proposal and wished it well. Mr. Berleur found it very important that the final decision on what the available funds would be utilized belongs to the respective Societies and extended his full support to the scheme. Mr. Granado also thought the proposal is excellent and said that if the scheme performs well during the initial 3-year period IFIP could consider extending it for a further period.
The President requested Councils opinion on whether IFIP should announce and implement the scheme immediately instead of waiting for the approval of GA 99. He felt there is no need to wait since there are DCSC funds to launch the scheme.
Mr. Khakhar advised that DCSC would consider preparing an IFIP brochure with information specially targeted at the needs of developing countries. This will be done in cooperation with MC. The DCSC Chair and the IFIP Executive Director will also consider preparing material on IFIPs activities in developing countries for the IFIP URL.
With regard to an invitation received by IFIP to take part in an African Computing and Telecommunications Summit (25 27 August 99, UK), DCSC, in consultation with the TC chairs, had decided to investigate whether this is a commercial event before IFIPs participation is confirmed. For this purpose the DCSC Chair will make direct contact with the organizers while Messrs. Brunnstein and Nedkov will consult UNESCOs involvement.
Mr. Brunnstein had informed that there is a probability that UNESCOs InfoEthics 2000 and the KnowRight 2000 Conference are organized in parallel in Vienna. If that happens to be the case then DCSC should consider some support for East European participants. Finally, Mr. Khakhar said that next Summer School on Information and Communication Security will be organized in August 1999 in Greece. DCSC may consider supporting representatives from IFIPs Members from Eastern Europe which are not in arrears. DCSC may consider a maximum support of up to CHF 5,000 for this activity.
3.17.3 Finance Committee
The FC Chair, Mr. Granado reported that the FC met and examined the IFIP accounts and the Treasurers report. An item in the report for the write-offs related to Congress 96 and membership dues was misplaced. This, however, does not influence the accounts and result and will be corrected. The Treasurers report is a concise document, which gives a clear idea of the IFIPs finances and accounts.
FC had considered the 1998 Budget and accounts and has noted that:
Bank Deposits: there is an excess of cash
Dubious Dues: dues of IFIP members from Albania, Belgium, Brazil, Greece, Ireland, the Philippines and Russia are confirmed as written off
Miscellaneous Receivables: relating to the agreed mechanism for WCC 96 in Canberra;
Dues received in advance: dues from Portugal and China
Pension Fund: needs to be adjusted
Adjustment to dubious outstanding dues: related to Belarus, France and New Zealand
Portfolio Investment income: is better than budgeted
Portfolio Management fees: related with the new portfolio policy
Special Activities Fund expenses: committed DC support to Congress 98
Mr. Granado said that the final balance of the IFIP accounts represents an excess of cash which, had it been transferred to the Portfolio Investment, could have provided an extra 9,7 K CHF of income. The excess funds on our bank accounts actually do not have a useful purpose. The balance was brought down to the budget indications by January 1999. It is an issue that must be followed carefully.
With respect to cash flow management, the FC Chair believed that IFIP should manage its financial assets according to some well-formulated cash flow projections. In spite of previous indications of EB it was not yet possible to make good progress. With staff reinforcement and a new allocation of tasks, better cash flow management may be achievable.
FC was very pleased to confirm an earlier forecast at GA 98 that the portfolio management done by UBS has improved. The annual Return on Assets is about 5% (2% income + 3% appreciation). Bearing in mind that the inflation rate associated to the CHF was below 1% this may be considered as a rather good performance.
The overall financial state of IFIP is healthy. IFIPs assets grew by another 10% and they are now slightly over 5 times the 1998 operational expenses.
With respect to the IFIP Secretariats expenses, Mr. Granado pointed out that in spite of the very tight operations management, the new salary revision associated with a half-time recruitment would increase expenses in future. The FC Chair referred to a GA recommendation that the annual Secretariat expenses should be within the level of the total membership dues. In the year 2000 he foresees that the operational costs would be slightly over 240 K CHF against a maximum income from Member society dues of 280 K CHF (which more likely would be below 240 K CHF)
IFIPs portfolio investment and the accounts at UBS were changed to Euro reporting as of January 99. This proved practical as the exchange rate at the time was very favorable. IFIPs book keeping and Austrian accounts will be in Euro as of 1 January 2000, after a new accounting package is introduced and tested. From January 1st 2000 onwards all membership dues will be invoiced in Euro. Some Member Societies currently complain about the "unfair" costs associated with the successive depreciation of their local currencies versus the Swiss Franc. With the introduction of the Euro as IFIPs reference currency this tendency would most likely increase. One possible solution is to accept membership dues payments in advance, say, for up to 3 years, with a guarantee that no consequent dues increase will affect these payments.
Mr. Nedkov referred to what was said about excess cash on bank accounts and cash flow management and clarified that these issues have nothing to do with additional staff. Actually, the cash levels on bank accounts at year-end should be able to meet all IFIP liabilities from the past year and for approximately 2 to 3 months in advance when the income flow is low. This is a matter of caution and cash flow management, which in turn relates to indications from the budget holders. Following GA 98, a significant amount was transferred to the portfolio investment per the instructions of GA. The Executive Director pointed out that the term "write-offs" with reference to membership dues should be used with care. In the FC report reference is made to a number of countries whose dues were "written off". Actually, all defaulting members are expected to pay their back dues. According to normal accounting practices an adjustment to dubious dues is made in order to safeguard IFIP in the event that defaulting Members would not be able to honor their debt. The Treasurer agreed. Mr. Reis said that the Brazilian membership dues are paid by the Brazilian National Science Foundation and that very soon the 98 and the 99 dues will be processed.
Mr. Boynton wished to know who manages the portfolio investment. Messrs. Granado and Khakhar responded that a professional UBS manager is responsible. IFIP only indicates the risk level and the policy is not to take high risk.
3.17.4 IFIP-UNESCO Liaison
Mr. Nedkov referred to his written report and recalled that IFIP was reelected in November 98 as Member of the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee. Following the elections he was invited to propose an information and communication platform for the NGO Liaison Committee and this was reviewed and adopted. An NGO Liaison Committee Website was established at: http://www.ifip.or.at/UNESCO/unesco.htm.
The project work-plan for the IFIP/UNESCO Project for Curriculum Development was finalized and the first installment of USD 5,000 of the UNESCO contribution (USD 18,000) was transferred to IFIP. There are reasons to believe that if other TCs are effectively involved in the project the activity could acquire an ongoing character.
IFIP was invited to the UNESCO InfoEthics conference and exhibition from 1 to 3 October 98 in Monaco. IFIPs participation was made possible by arrangement with Prof. K. Brunnstein who represented IFIP and delivered a presentation on IFIP and its activities.
Several projects and joint activities are currently investigated. The IFIP-UNESCO Liaison Officer will consult on possibilities for UNESCO assistance to the IFIP WCC 2000 in Beijing. Mr. Nedkov was pleased to inform that the WG 9.5 Chair, Mr. G. Cyranek was recently appointed as Regional Informatics and Telematics Adviser in the UNESCO office in Addis Ababa. Contact is maintained to explore assistance that can be provided by the Addis Ababa office to promote regional participation in IFIP.
3.17.5 Internal Awards
Mr. Morris advised that he would circulate information to TC Chairs and seek their nominations for the 1999 OSA awards to be approved by GA 99 in Malaysia.
3.18 IFIP Newsletter
Mr. Rosenfeld said that the Newsletter currently has a circulation of about 3,300 individual copies and another 1,000 are sent in bulk to IFIP Members and conference organizers. He brought with him to Goa copies of the March 99 issue for Council participants. The December 98 issue of the IFIP Newsletter marked the completion of the 15th year of its publication.
Mr. Rosenfeld was pleased to work with Kluwer. One slight problem was that his contacts at Kluwer were always changing. The Newsletter Editor is hopeful that with the appointment of Ms. Y. Lambert all will work well in future.
Mr. Morris advised that Council should congratulate Mr. Rosenfeld for the 15th Anniversary of the Newsletter and stressed that it is not the beginning but the continuation that deserves greater glory!
3.19 Future Meetings
The Secretary advised that two invitations were received for hosting the March 2000 IFIP Council meeting - from IEEE CS supported by ACM for Washington D.C. and from the Norwegian Computer Society for Oslo.
Council voted IN FAVOR of Washington D.C.
Mr. Morris informed Council of the forthcoming General Assembly and Council meetings:
1999 General Assembly Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Sunday, September 5 - 9
2000 Council Washington D.C., USA Sunday, March 5 - 9
2000 General Assembly Beijing, China Thursday, August 24 EB Saturday August 26 29 GA
2001 Council Italy
2001 General Assembly Open destination
Mr. Masduki advised that the original intention was to hold GA 99 in Cyberjaya but since the project would not be completed by September 99 arrangements will be made to convene the meetings at the Sunway Convention Center in Kuala Lumpur. He will send out invitations to GA 99 participants so that they could plan their visit and apply for Malaysian entry visas, if necessary, at an early convenience. Hotels are available at the convention center.
3.20 Closing of Meeting
The President once again thanked the Computer Society of India for the extended warm hospitality and congratulated Dr. Ramani and Mr. Arakal and their team for the excellent arrangements, which exceeded by far all expectations.
Mr. Bollerslev thanked all Council members and attendees for their contributions and declared the Council meeting closed.
ANNEX 1 - Developing Countries Support Committee "Voucher Scheme"
IFIP wishes to encourage a greater involvement in its work of persons from developing countries who are full members of IFIP.
There are currently 20 full member societies within IFIP, which according to the IFIP classification are termed "developing countries and most of these fall within category 1 paying an annual subscription of 2700 CHF. Unfortunately these countries find it difficult to supplement these funds to partake in IFIP activities and to gain full benefit from their IFIP membership. Some developing countries are financially unable to send their national representative to Technical Committee meetings and often find it difficult to support even one delegate per year at an IFIP conference. As a result IFIPs name is not getting the publicity and exposure that it deserves particularly in light of the time and effort it allocates to supporting developing countries.
In order to help (to begin to) rectify this situation in a way that cannot be abused, the Developing Countries Support Committee wishes to expand an idea from IFIPs Executive Director. In order to encourage developing countries (who are full members of IFIP) to support their own persons the Developing Countries Support Committee wishes to offer a "matching grant" up to a maximum figure of 1000 CHF for each of the next three years. Allowable expenditure will be:
This would encourage the Computer Society in an IFIP developing country to offer assistance to persons able to attend an IFIP only organized event. The computer society would have control over who they support, knowing the benefits to that person, to their Society and to their country. In addition the Society would be able to determine the feedback and the 'cascading' that they require from their delegate. By only allowing "IFIP only" organized events Developing Countries Support Committee can ensure that the IFIP funds are not used to support competing or other organizations.
This would enable Societies in IFIP developing countries to purchase IFIP conference proceedings (currently at a 30% discount), IFIP publications and IFIP journal subscriptions. As a further opportunity conference organizers are often pleased to sell additional copies of proceedings at the "bulk copy" purchase price that they obtain from the IFIP Publisher. In this way IFIPs name and IFIPs high standard of published material is more widely circulated in its developing countries.
Much of the work of IFIP is through its Working Groups and these are overseen by the twelve Technical Committees. Hence attendance by the developing countries National representatives at Technical Committee meetings is to be encouraged. This will enable the developing countries to contribute to IFIP planning and to be in a position to recommend IFIP events and IFIP publications to their computer society members and colleagues in their home country.
Not allowable will be:
The reason for these three restrictions is that the "vouchers" should not be used to assist with IFIP members normal expenditure or used to support other organizations.
Mode of Operation
During this three-year project, developing countries may NOT "carry-over" from one year to the next, and must report such allowable expenditure to the IFIP Secretariat by 1st December each year.
By 1st December of year one of the project, a letter from the respective Society should be sent to the IFIP Secretariat, signed by the Societys President or Chief Executive and the IFIP General Assembly representative. This should detail the expenses (within the allowable list) made during the year and be supported by copies of invoices.
In January the following year the IFIP Secretariat will invoice the Society for its IFIP Membership dues for that year with the appropriate reduction up to a maximum of 1000 CHF. (Therefore a Society who had spent more than 2000 CHF from the allowable list in year one, whose IFIP Membership was 2700 CHF would only be invoiced for 1700 CHF in year two).
Should no letter be received at the IFIP Secretariat by 1st December in year one then the 1000 CHF for that year for that IFIP Member is lost.
The above process is repeated for each of the three years.
ANNEX 2 -"Event Facilitator"/"Activities Manager" Job Description
The overall responsibility is to work pro-actively with and assist organisers in their planning and preparation for IFIP events, to ensure that our systems are effective and efficient and to ensure that IFIPs record keeping requirements are met.
Be the focal point on all issues relating to the organisation of IFIP events and event initiatives. Seek proactively to assist event organisers through the provision of appropriate guidance, help, information and effective systems.
Undertake regular reviews of the written and electronic systems that we use to manage events and ensure that these are up-to-date, effective and efficient.