The High Commissioner attends the 13th IOI World Conference Members of the International Ombudsman Institute

The High Commissioner attends the 13th IOI World Conference

17 May 2024

The members of the International Ombudsman Institute had to wait several years for the organisation’s much anticipated 13th world conference, after it was postponed owing to the Covid 19 pandemic. It finally went ahead in Europe from 12 to17 May, to the delight of all concerned. 

The event was hosted by the National Ombudsman of the Netherlands, Mr Reiner van Zutphen, the newly appointed IOI Regional President Europe, who welcomed his international counterparts to The Hague to look at how to “Act Together For Our Tomorrow”. Discussions centred on three key topics - the environment and climate change, vulnerable people, and children in a hyper-digital world - and showed how these issues are manifested in different parts of the world. 

A member of the IOI since May 2022, the High Commissioner was represented at the conference, which plays a crucial role in shaping global policy for ombudsmen around the world.  

Delegates in The Hague elected the new World Board and Regional Directors, while outgoing Regional President for Europe Mr Andreas Pottakis gave a presentation outlining the work done by European ombudsmen, including the Monegasque High Commissioner. The Europe Region was particularly pleased with the outcome of the workshop held in Brussels in March 2024, on the theme “The Ethics of Ombudsmen and Their Staff”, with the discussions in the Belgian capital providing valuable insights that will help to guide the creation of the new International Ombudsmen Charter. 

The European Board also set out plans for a new IOI Learning Academy that will host regular training seminars between ombudsmen, to continue sharing best practices internationally. 

The project should prove useful, with the different Regional Presidents reporting that they are dealing with many of the same contemporary issues. The highly productive discussions showed that dialogue and a willingness to listen must remain central to our role as ombudsmen. 

Several ombudsmen also shared their real-life experiences and underlined the importance of acting locally - not merely seeking to mediate between the different protagonists in civil society, but actively reaching out to the public and listening to what they have to say.