Welcome: Es para mí un honor, unirme a Patricia de Roda en darles la bienvenida a Madrid y a esta conferencia internacional que se lleva a cabo dentro del marco de nuestra Asamblea Anual. La Fundación Lealtad ha diseñado un programa para la Conferencia de este año realmente interesante, con asuntos de máxima actualidad, para refexionar sobre las donaciones, la transparencia y la rendición de cuentas a nivel global. Hoy en particular abordaremos estos temas en Latinoamérica. Me críe en America Latina y a promover la transparencia de las ONG he dedicado buena parte de mi vida. Por lo que se unen hoy aquí dos de mis pasiones. Por ello mis felicitaciones a Patricia y a su equipo y al Patronato por esta conferencia.
Another source of encouragement and strength is evidenced in these AGMs. For the last five years we have been able to dedicate a full day to the public section of our AGM, with greater public participation, largely because of the relevance of the topics. I remember the AGM we had in Amsterdam in 2009 when we had half a day limited to experts in issues of cross border fundraising. You might remember, this was shortly after the European Court of Justice announced its decision in the Hein Persche v Finanzamt Ludenscheid. This gave us a chance to discuss substantive issues raised by that decision with nonprofit experts, lawyers with experience in tax law and nonprofit law. What I don’t know is whether those discussions and ICFO influence led to any changes in the laws in the EU member countries. Clearly, it seems to me, had we in ICFO been on top of it, other than merely talk about it in an AGM meeting, we would have tried to exert some influence on the legislative process which we would hope would recognize independent monitoring of the sector, and especially in those countries, such as Portugal, that had a direct affect from the decision.
Another disappointment is that for years we have worked with monitoring groups in Cambodia and Philippines, and more recently with a mature monitoring organization in Pakistan. In all these countries there is an active charity sector and mature and effective independent monitoring organization. We have had an ongoing relationship with China’s Charity Information Center, CCIC, for about four years now, and today we celebrate CCIC’s joining ICFO as a supporting member. It really is a pleasure welcoming He Bin here today, and trust he will give Amy Peng, the Director of CCIC, our thanks and congratulations, as well as pass my personal greetings to my friend, Mr, Liu Youping, the Vice Director of CCIC, who planned on being here, but could not, and also to Mr. Xu Jianzhong, the Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Civil Affairs for Social Welfare and Charity Promotion.
One significant achievement that I think we can be happy about is the pre-publication of the ICFO Conference Booklet, A Comparative Overview on ICFO Members and the Charity Sectors in Their Countries. This book is a follow-up to the 2002 comparative survey prepared by Mrs. Ingrid -Hélène Guet. It has been carefully planned and discussed over the years, but we believe that it is an important addition to the information base people look to when they are interested in how charities are evaluated for transparency and accountability in various countries.
What is sad is that there are not a lot more countries in this comparative overview, especially since according to many statistics, there are something like 300 or more self-regulation, or independent monitoring initiatives around the world. This should be our target audience if we are interested in a movement toward non-government monitoring models or regimes. Nevertheless, this booklet is not just a matter of promoting the exchange of information between ICFO members, it does hold out the potential for informing the general public around the world about what we, as members of ICFO, are doing to promote transparency and accountability, as well as integrity within the sector. It is being updated with some additional statistical information that our members suggested should be included during their responses to the questionnaires we distributed. Also, since CCIC has just been accepted into membership, we have asked China to complete the questionnaire with its data.
One thing you might notice in this booklet is how our ICFO membership is spread between a number of older, mature monitoring organizations that have been around for many years and some newer and recently established organizations. What you need to understand from these statistics, however, is that the regime of setting standards and monitoring organizations against those standards for accreditation or certification purposes is very new and recent in our history. While many have done some form of social research and data collection, what we do now is quite different, and our agendas are quite different.
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and pow'r controlling
All I do and say.
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His pow'r.
Rule my life in every thing,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.