Archive: GA 2014 (Stockholm)

Agenda for the 2014 General Assembly

MSF & Population Movements in the 21st Century 

MSF Nordic

Associative Roadmap


MOTION 2: Direct Election of the President - MOTION REJECTED

Motion 3: On General Assembly Participation - MOTION PASSED

Motion 4: MSF Nordic Model 3 - MOTION PASSED

Motion 5: Pediatrics - MOTION PASSED

Reporting Back on past Motions

The following were elected to the Board of MSF Sweden: 

  • Helena Frielingsdorf, Regular Member (2014-2017)
  • Sara Hjalmarsson, Regular Member (replacement vote) (2014-2016)
  • Ann-Sofie Lindahl Navarro, Deputy Member (2014-2016)
  • Monika Oswaldsson, Regular Member (2014-2017)
  • Adam Thomas, Regular Member (2014-2017)

GA 2014 Minutes 


DEBATE HUMANITARIAN, OPERATIONAL, AND MEDICAL: MSF & Population Movements in the 21st century

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‘If internal and international migrants compromised a nation, it would be the third most populous county in the world, just after China and India. Yet, attention to the health of people on the move is still limited’.

                                                   Cathy Zimmerman, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

With an estimated 214 million people on the move internationally and approximately three-quarters of a billion people migration within their own country, there can be little doubt that population mobility is among the leading policy and humanitarian issues of the 21st century[1].

Peoples’ movement across borders is not a new phenomenon. Patterns of movement and migration have been a constant in human history. However, the ability of people to move has grown exponentially. Today, cheaper global communications, transport and human networks enable greater number of people to move or relocate - for whatever reason - not just to neighboring countries but to countries thousands of kilometers away from their place of origin.

Ongoing conflicts, violation of people’s most basic rights and related humanitarian crises in Syria, Somalia and Myanmar, to mention a few, are causing large displacements as we speak.

Faced with this phenomenon, receiving states have developed a growing set of regulations to manage movements according to their perceived national interests. Restrictive policies are often justified by security concerns and scarce resources in time of crisis. Not only do these policies affect people access to humanitarian assistance and dramatically shape people’s ability to move across borders, but they also create the conditions for human smuggling. Refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and victims of trafficking etc. use the same routes and means of transport. They all fall prey to exploitation by the same smuggling networks, border controls and security forces. Human suffering has been widely documented and is known to be rife. In spite of these dynamics, state policy remains focused on security and restrictions, often neglecting human needs and dignity.

Médecins Sans Frontières has a long history working with refugees and internally displaced. Since the 1990s, MSF has also established programs in transit and host countries. Our work with moving and displaced people has previously remained largely confined to legal and geographic boundaries defined by state policies, i.e. camps and detention centers. Similar to many other humanitarian agencies. As a result asylum seekers and migrants, who are not tolerated, protected and assisted in state sanctioned spaces, frequently suffer from limited access to assistance.

As a leading humanitarian organization MSF needs to remain innovate in finding ways to alleviate human suffering and cater for the most vulnerable. When talking about people on the move, political labeling or legal categorization should be irrelevant to out humanitarian imperative.

This debate will include presentations, followed by discussions, related to;

  • Contemporary population movements; geographic/political perspectives and  humanitarian needs
  • Physical and psychological consequences of displacement and movement
  • MSF assistance to people on the move; including examples from Yemen & Morocco
  • Internal and external dilemmas in providing assistance to moving people in the light restrictive policies/practices, and innovative operational models


  • Aurelie Ponthieu, Flying Humanitarian Adviser on Displacement OCB
  • Teresa Sancristoval, Head of the Operational Cell UE OCBA
  • Gianfranco de Mayo, Medical Doctor and Field Co MSF-Italy     


  • Linn Biörklund, MSF-Sweden Board Member and Humanitarian Affairs Advisor, OCA

Background Materials: 

Reaching out to the forgotten

Chagas awareness and migrants

Migration and Health

Health Aspects pre-departure

Transit phase of Migration Malaria

Migration & Workers in Destination

Global Protection & the Health Impact of Migration

Migration and "Low-Skilled" Workers

[1] Zimmerman C, Kiss L, Hossain M (2011) Migration and health: A Framework for 21st Centrury Policy-Making. PLoS Med 8(5): e1001034. Doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001034

MSF Nordic

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In 2013 the General Assemblies of MSF-Norway and MSF-Sweden passed similar motions requesting their respective Boards and Offices to look into a process of merging the Associations of these two countries (you can read the Swedish motion here, and the Norwegian motion here).  Though slightly different in their wording (and the Swedish motion going one step further than the Norwegian motion) they both asked for this to be a “Nordic process” (including MSF-Denmark, Norway and Sweden) though no such motion was presented and discussed during the MSF-Denmark General Assembly.  As we have worked on the motion during the past year, the three Boards have done so jointly.  As many of you know this is not a new process, the concept of MSF-Nordic has been around for quite some years now though not as formalized as the motions proposed.

As we have been working on the motion, a lot of attention has been given to the process from the rest of MSF, where they are seeing this is a positive development has we as an international movement are looking at ways of regionalize and be more inclusive to new associations.

The three Boards have taken all this into consideration and from the work done over the past 11 months we have come up with some concrete suggestions for how to proceed.  There are three different models which will all be presented during this session.  What do you think is the most important reasons for increased cooperation, and what are the potentials and pitfalls we should be aware of?

click here to read more about the work done on the Nordic. You can also take a look at the background materials posted to the right of this text under "Background Materials".


  • Dina Hovland, President MSF-Norway
  • Anna Lindfors, Board Member MSF-Sweden
  • Monika Oswaldsson, President MSF-Sweden
  • Göran Svedin, Associate Project OCB


  • Johan von Schreeb, Docent Karolinska Institutet

Background Documents: 

MSF-Nordic Newsletter

Nordic Presentation


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We will hold a workshop on the Associative growth and development in the coming 5-10 years.  Through this workshop our association will have a chance to voice our opinions about the future. 

The “On the Road” workshop have been developed internationally and the recommendations will be fed back to the work done on the Roadmap for Associative Growth which will be presented at the IGA in 2015. The plan is for all 23 of MSF's Associations will organize the workshop during the 2014 GA season. 

Of course this work is also related to the work we have done vis a vis MSF-Nordic.  At the General Assembly we will have a small exhibition showing the MSF Associative history showing how our associative roots came to be, and how they have developed over the past 40 years, and a one hour workshop where we will discuss and brainstorm of how we see the future of our Association.  The conclusions will be shared with the Steering Committee on Associative Growth to help guide their discussions. 


The Board of MSf-Sweden propse the following amendment to the Bylaws - MOTION PASSED

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We need to change the wording of the Bylaws where we talk about the items to be discussed during the General Assembly as the Auditor’s Report (revisionsberättelsen) should be separate from the Annual Report.

MSF-Sveriges styrelse föreslår följande ändring till stadgarna:

Vi måste ändra ordvalet i stadgarna där vi pratar om vad som skall diskuteras under årsmötet eftersom godkännande av revisionsberättelsen är separat från godkännande av årsredovisningen. 


Motion on Direct Election of the President - MOTION REJECTED

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The president of MSF Sweden is currently elected by the board members at the constituent board meeting following the general assembly. Instead the president could be elected directly by the members i.e. at the general assembly.

The principle of having the president/chairperson being elected directly by the members is wide spread both in Sweden and internationally, i.e. in political parties, but also in many other organizations.

Direct election of the president implies several benefits:

Stronger democracy – more power to the members.
Increased transparency – today the president is elected behind closed doors.
Less need for tactical voting. If there are two very strong candidates and a member wants to have one of them as president, the currently only available option is to not vote for the other candidate.
A clear space for the president candidates to share their view and visions for MSF Sweden as president.
Less risk for tension in the board. Competition for the presidency can create unhealthy alliances/fractions within the board.


We request that the board will work towards the implementation of an order where the president of MSF Sweden will be elected directly by the members and should the MSF Nordic association become a reality, we request the board to work towards such a set up in this new association.

Anneli Eriksson

Andreas Björnstad

Motion on General Assembly Participation - MOTION PASSED

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MSF Sweden is a membership organisation. The highest decisional body of MSF is the general assembly (GA). It is vital for MSF that members participate in the associative life and that they come to the GA, discuss and vote for the future direction of MSF. However the participation of members that do not have a HQ contract in the GA remains low, too low.

A challenge at the GA, is to ensure a separation of the association from the executive (office), they play different roles. There is however a risk that the roles can be confused. To ensure that the associative has dominance at the GA, a majority of the votes should come from members who do not have a HQ contract. In some MSF sections this is regulated in the statutes “less than 50% of the votes at the GA can come from people with a HQ contract

In MSF international statutes it is written:

a) Employees on local contracts (HQ and national, my remark) should not vote in local board elections for reasons of conflict of interests.

b) At all other times, all members have a full and equal vote.

c) Members without MSF experience cannot represent more than 5% of the voting rights.

The best way to ensure a healthy balance of votes, in favour of the associative, at the GA is to encourage MSF members to participate and vote. This can be done by, for example electronic voting (which is already available in MSF), live web casting of the GA etc

This motions proposes:

That the board of MSF Sweden should develop and implement a clear strategy that increase active participation of MSF Sweden members in the general assembly.

Anneli Eriksson

Stefan Peterson

Göran Svedin

Johan von Schreeb

Motion on the Nordic Model

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The members voted in favor for "Nordic Model 3" (Model 1: 9 votes; Model 2: 0 votes; Model 3: 56; Abstention: 6).  To read more about the Nordic Process, click --> here.

Nordic Model 1:

Nordic Model 2:

Nordic Model 3:

Motion on Pediatrics - MOTION PASSED

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When MSF SE was launched in 1993 it provided a channel through which Swedish doctors could contribute to the humanitarian commitment through international humanitarian medical work. Since then MSFSE has been successful in a number of areas. In Sweden, MSF has grown into a respected and trusted humanitarian actor. For the movement, the Swedish section provides a consistent flow of field workers and we are one of the strongest sections in fund raising. However when it comes to discussions and development of the medical quality of our fieldwork and mission, MSF SE has been remarkably absent. 

Paediatrics is an area currently in focus. Small children are the most vulnerable beneficiaries in a crisis. Yet until recently paediatrics in MSF has been considered part of general medicine and child health care has been based on that of adults rather than on the specific needs that exist for children. With the birth of the international paediatric working group in 2008, we are now witnessing a paradigm shift in the importance of paediatrics in MSF. The paediatric action plan as well as the neonatal policy has lifted the importance of quality of care for the children in MSF missions. Much of the implementation of subsequent  activities requires dedicated competent staff for the field. Further we need operational research on the roll out of new guidelines, we need to ensure that the competence of field workers appropriately match projects, we need to see to that the field setting is provided the right tools for optimal paediatric care, we need appropriate staff training to manage children and there needs to be a continuous update of paediatric guidelines with current evidence base. Much of this work has been set off in the operational centers, but more support is needed.

With this motion we argue that MSFSE should step up its contribution to improve the quality of paediatric medical care in the field. Sweden has a strong paediatric community of nurses and doctors, and is in the frontline in neonatal research which makes it an important contributor to paediatric care. ​

We challenge MSFSE (the association, the board and the executive) to move beyond the role of mere resource providers, and take an active role in improving the quality of the field based paediatrics. We ask MSFSE to advocate and support operational research in areas of paediatrics, and in particular, the new field based neonatology. We urge MSFSE to identify channels through which Swedish experts in neonatology and paediatrics best could contribute to the quality of MSF field operations. While MSFSE should take ownership of this ambition, we ask the board to present the outcome at the next GA. ​

Lets do it, lets make more children and in particular neonates, part of our survival stories.​

Sahar Nejat , Kristina Elfving and Eugene Bushayija​



By: Rebecca Cederholm