The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has cancelled plans to hold its 2020 Extraordinary General Assembly due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a new timeline set to be devised for votes on Governance Review proposals.
The Extraordinary General Assembly and Membership Gathering would have seen the IPC seek approval for a series of proposals, following the Governance Review.
The IPC said it will revise the timeline, with elements from the review now expected to be voted on at either the 2021 General Assembly, the 2022 IPC Membership Gathering or the 2023 General Assembly.
IPC President Andrew Parsons said gathering the organisation’s membership in one place was not feasible or sensible during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 240,000 people worldwide.
He said the organisation’s governance was in good shape, but that it would adjust the vote on proposals to ensure it remained strong in the future.
"Gathering the IPC membership in one place for the 2020 Extraordinary General Assembly and Membership Gathering to conclude the Governance Review is not practical, feasible, sensible or possible at this time," Parsons said.
"The pandemic has created a significant amount of extra work for all IPC members and IPC senior staff.
"There is ongoing uncertainty regarding the virus, restrictions remain in place on global travel and meetings of large groups, and COVID-19 has had a significant financial impact on all within the Paralympic Movement.
"Cancelling the 2020 IPC Extraordinary General Assembly does not mean we are stopping the IPC Governance Review.
"It just means a readjustment of the timelines to conclude the project.
"At present, the IPC’s governance is in good shape, but we are not satisfied with this.
"We want the IPC and Paralympic Movement to be ahead of the game when it comes to governance which is why we are keen to pursue these reforms."
The first Governance Review proposals were published in October under the title "Remaining Fit for Purpose".
The proposals followed an 18-month consultation with IPC members and stakeholders by a Governance Review working group, led by IPC vice-president Duane Kale.
Nine principles for change were outlined in the review, which were labelled purpose, membership, wider engagement, greater athlete engagement, role clarity, aligned committees, skilled and diverse people, integrity standards and transparency.
Purpose was defined as the IPC focusing on promoting inclusion in society through Para sport, specifically by its leadership of the Paralympic Movement, supervision of the Paralympic Games and its support of the National Paralympic Committees, International Federations, International Organisations of Sport for the Disabled, Regional Organisations and athletes.
The review also determined that the IPC would cease to act as an international federation for the 10 IPC-run sports through a managed exit process, while it would also restructure the Agitos Foundation to simplify its governance and bring its programmes back into the IPC to achieve development of Para sport more efficiently.
Proposals included adjustments to the categories of members and its criteria, as well as clarifying the role and structure of Regional Organisations.
Greater engagement with IPC members and athletes in the decision-making process was also highlighted, as well as providing greater clarity around the roles and procedures of the President, the IPC Governing Board and the chief executive.
It is hoped this will ensure effective and efficient decision-making and to set out their leadership, governance and management obligations, respectively.
Ensuring people who sit on decision-making bodies have the necessary skills and expertise for the tasks they are performing, as well as reflecting the diverse nature of the Paralympic Movement was also highlighted.
This would require prioritising the appointment of people with disabilities and people from all regions of the world, as well as maintaining gender balance.