Preparations are well underway for the 2019 IFLA World Congress and Council meeting in Oslo in September. A revitalised IFLA Exec committee under president James Hayter's leadership has been working hard to give effect to Plan IFLA, the business plan guiding the organisation for the next few years. The three key drivers of the plan are to provide effective governance of IFLA, provide valuable services to members, and raise the profile of the profession internationally. As you may know, IFLA represents 76 national organisations on the global stage, with credibility for advocating for the values of landscape architecture through membership of the UN and UNESCO, and through association with other global non-government organisations.
A significant initiative over the last few months has been the redevelopment of the IFLA website. NZILA members may have tried to access the IFLA pages recently but without success, because developers have been migrating information across to the new platform. We are all hopeful that the new website will be fully operational by the end of July, providing a useful resource through its knowledge hub to facilitate the sharing of technical and professional knowledge. (Note that the IFLA Asia Pacific Region (APR) is also undertaking a major website revamp, hopefully with a similar timeframe for going live…)
The structure of IFLA has also been tightened, with a stronger focus on activities of the four IFLA standing committees: Finance and Business Planning, Education and Academic Affairs, Professional Practice and Policy, and Communication and External Relations. The chairs of each of these committees join James, the treasurer, and the chairs of IFLA's five regions, to form the Federation's executive committee. The FBP committee in particular has been busy, getting IFLA back on a sound financial basis with a slimmer secretariat supporting the executive committee. Particularly through James' leadership, the tighter annual budget is now around 150,000 Euros, featuring a more equitable method of calculating dues from each nation. For some time your delegate has been pushing the World Council to undertake a review of how dues are calculated, taking into account the different economic climates of our member nations, and so I'm pleased to report that a proposal to endorse such a system will be presented in Oslo for the 2020 financial year. The plan is to use four different income bands and six organisation size bands to more evenly spread the costs of running IFLA.
The focus for the next three years falls into four action areas: accreditation and global education standards, professional recognition, sharing expertise, and professional standards and ethics. The IFLA APR system of providing a benchmark accreditation process for education programmes in our region where national systems are not yet in place will be used as a guiding document for a two-part global recognition and accreditation system now in its planning stages. The goals of such a system are to eventually facilitate international reciprocity of membership and graduate outcomes, although that is quite a challenge across the range of education systems and emphases internationally. The IFLA APR process shows that it can work on a regional basis, so that experience will provide a valuable reference for the future development of a global system.
The second action area of professional recognition is particularly aimed at boosting visibility of the profession with governmental decision makers, particularly in jurisdictions where the profession is developing. This area of focus is likely to influence the work of the IFLA APR over the next few years too, as more nations within our broad geographical spread move to develop the professional practice of landscape architecture within their own borders.
Our monthly regional newsletters will continue to keep you all up to date with current and planned events in our region, so keep an eye out for the July issue which is due shortly. I'll report again after the Oslo meeting, to keep you all informed about plans and progress of IFLA in achieving its goals over the next 12 months.
NZILA IFLA Delegate
Hon. Sec. IFLA APR