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RC Americas Chapter Priorities and plans 2005-2006

 

Governance

The IARLJ Americas Chapter Statement of Purpose and Governance documents, as outlined in the Minutes of the first IARLJ Americas Chapter Management Committee, held in Washington, D.C. of August 21, 2003, were fully endorsed by the IARLJ Executive at its April 23, 2004, meeting in Paris, France. The August 21st, 2003, Management Committee Minutes are now posted on the IARLJ website in Spanish and English.

The IARLJ Americas Chapter has, formally, constituted itself over the past year. It was agreed that the Officers of the IARLJ Americas Chapter would be Jean-Guy Fleury, Chairperson of the Management Committee, Lori Scialabba, Vice-President of the Management Committee, and Gaetan Cousineau, Secretary-Treasurer. The IARLJ Americas Chapter also established five Standing Committees: Conference; Membership; Fundraising; Professional Development and, Translation. The following facilitators have taken the lead on each of these Standing Committees: Ana Calzada, First Conference; Michael Creppy, Membership; Lori Scialabba, Fundraising; Juan Osuna and Richard Stainsby, Professional Development; and, Gaetan Cousineau, Translation.

The First Conference Committee of the regional chapter has been engaged in planning and organizing our historic first conference in San Jose, Costa Rica. It is fair to say, that the bulk of the IARLJ Americas Chapter's time and effort has been dedicated to ensuring the success of our first conference. The Membership Committee has also been engaged in how to increase membership in the IARLJ from among the refugee law judges and decision-makers in the Caribbean and Central and South America. It has also considered the difficult question of who qualifies for full membership in the IARLJ. The Translation Committee has willingly assumed the task of translating a number of our key documents. The Fundraising and Professional Development Committee have combined their efforts to ensure that the IARLJ Americas Chapter's First Conference and Workshop in Costa Rica are a success. These two Standing Committees have also devoted their combined efforts to formulating a proposal for raising funds to undertake a major capacity building project over the next three years.

The IARLJ Americas Chapter's governing instruments will, of course, continue to evolve. It has been noted, however, that the IARLJ Americas Chapter's governance document does not include an amendment procedure. This will, most likely, be resolved by the time of our next IARLJ Americas Chapter Conference, planned for 2006.


Finances

The IARLJ Americas Chapter has put into place its financial operating systems. The Secretary-Treasurer has opened a bank account for the new regional chapter. The signing authority for the IARLJ Americas Chapter account rests with the Chairperson, Secretary-Treasurer and two other members of the regional chapter's Management Committee.

The IARLJ Executive approved and transfered 2750 Euros into the bank accounts of the IARLJ Americas Chapter for the expressed purpose of assisting the Americas Chapter in getting established. The IARLJ Americas Chapter has also received other revenues from registration fees for the Costa Rica Conference as well as direct transfers from a variety of other sources.

Over the next several years, the IARLJ Americas Chapter will have to build a solid financial foundation. The IARLJ Executive is committed to providing financial assistance to regional chapters on an ad hoc basis. The Fundraising Committee of the IARLJ Americas Chapter will have to consider and devise programmes for how best to raise the funds necessary to cover its special initiatives as well as ongoing operating costs.


Conferences

The IARLJ Americas Chapter has demonstrated that it can plan, organize and present top-notch conferences. The San Jose, Costa Rica Conference is the primary outstanding example. However, the founding meeting and workshop, held in Washington, D.C., in August 2003, is another case on point. The next IARLJ Americas Chapter will not be held until at least June 2006. The Management Committee of the regional chapter will have to find the location for the next IARLJ Americas Chapter conference. We will work closely with the UNHCR to try and find an appropriate venue for the next IARLJ Americas Chapter Conference.

The principal organizers of the Costa Rica Conference have agreed to file a report on the regional chapter's First Conference and how it was planned, organized and presented. This report will be presented to the IARLJ Americas Chapter Management Committee. This report will constitute one of the official administrative records of the First Conference. The report should also prove useful as a planning tool and guide for the regional chapter and the next IARLJ Americas Chapter planners.

The IARLJ World Conference will be held in Stockholm, Sweden, on April 21st to 23rd, 2005. The regional chapters of the IARLJ will be asked to hold separate meetings at the IARLJ World Conference in Stockholm on the afternoon of the second day of the IARLJ World Conference, Friday, April 22nd. The IARLJ regional chapters will be asked to examine and discuss developments and issues of broad concern to their respective regions and, then, present brief reports on their discussions and conclusions in a plenary session, immediately following the regional chapter meetings.

The IARLJ Americas Chapter Management Committee will have to prepare an agenda for the regional chapter meetings at the IARLJ World Conference in Stockholm, Sweden. This agenda will have to be circulated to the IARLJ Americas Chapter members in advance of the 2005 IARLJ World Conference.


Professional Development

The IARLJ Americas Chapter has prepared an application for funding a multi-year professional development initiative, the International Protection Project for the Americas (IPPA). IPPA is a three-year project with a professional development and capacity building agenda for the Americas. IPPA will deliver three different typs of professional development to refugee and asylum law judges and decision-makers from States with nascent refugee and asylum determination systems. Professional development will be delivered in intensive basic professional development workshops, in-state customized practical capacity building sessions, and, in advanced instructional workshops. Funding for IPPA will be sought from a number of sources in Canada and the United States, including, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the United States Department of State (DOS) and the Ford and Mellon Foundations, among others.

If the IARLJ Americas Chapter receives funding for IPPA, by the end of this year, the project will commence in 2005, if not sooner, and conclude in 2008. Accordingly, it is anticipated that one or more of the intensive basic professional development workshops will be held at subsequent IARLJ Americas Chapter Conferences. It is also expected that IPPA will also pre-occupy the work of the Fundraising and Professional Development Standing Committees as well as the Management Committee of the IARLJ Americas Chapter for the duration of this multi-year project.


Membership

One of the principal objectives of the IARLJ Americas Chapter is, not only, to maintain the membership of the IARLJ, but also to expand it to include members from all countries within the Americas. The Membership Committee of the IARLJ Americas Chapter will have to develop innovative and creative methods for attracting new members to join the IARLJ from all States within the Americas.

The IARLJ encourages all those who attend IARLJ workshops, seminars, trainings sessions and conferences to join the Association, if they are not already members, and to renew their membership in the Association, if their membership is due to expire. The IARLJ Americas Chapter will, of course, continue to follow this practice.


Translation

As the IARLJ Americas Chapter continues to grow and to develop as a regional chapter, so too will the need to translate its documents into Spanish and/or English. Since its inception, the Translation Committee has translated a number of important regional chapter documents, including the August 21st, 2003, Minutes of the Founding Meeting of the IARLJ Americas Chapter, that are now available on the IARLJ website.

There will be a need to expand the number of members on the Translation Committee in order to handle the anticipated increased demand for IARLJ Americas Chapter documents to be translated over the next several years.


Summary

The IARLJ Americas Chapter's priorities and plans for the next several years can be summarized as follows:

Governance

The IARLJ Americas Chapter's governing document will be revised to include an amendment procedure and will be presented to the next IARLJ General Meeting for full ratification.

Finances

The IARLJ Americas Chapter will have to build a solid financial foundation. To this end, the Fundraising Committee will have to consider and devise programmes for how best to raise the funds necessary to meet the regional chapter's special initiatives as well as ongoing operating costs.

Conferences

The IARLJ Americas Chapter Management Committee will have to find an appropriate venue for its next conference planned for 2006. The Management Committee will also have to prepare and circulate an agenda for the IARLJ regional chapter meetings at the IARLJ World Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, on April 22nd, 2005.

Professional Development

The IARLJ Americas Chapter has prepared a detailed proposal for a multi-year professional development initiative, entitled, IPPA. If the funding for this project is secured, it will commence in 2005 and conclude in 2008.

Membership

The Membership Committee of the IARLJ Americas Chapter will have to develop innovative and creative methods for attracting new members to join the IARLJ from all States in the Americas.

Translation

The Translation Committee will have to expand the number of its members in order to meet the anticipated increase in the number of documents that will have to be translated into Spanish or English.


June, 2004

 

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