Motions and Recommendations 2015

International motions tool kit

Some definitions

At the end of the debates, the members can write motions or recommendations, which if they are adopted by those attending the meeting, then will be sent to OCB for possible inclusion in the OCB Gathering and/or the International General Assembly.

So what is the difference between a motion and a recommendation?  A motion is always intended for the associative and is about the fundamentals of the movement, its identity, aspirations, responsibilities, principles and its mandate.  If a motion is included in, and approved by the Gathering it is then followed up by the OCB Board and the Executive to ensure its implementation.  

A recommendation on the other hand is always for the executive and is a suggestion regarding structural, operational or managerial policies implemented by the executive.  The recommendations are not voted on at the OCB Gathering, but are the responsibility of the HoMs to ensure that they are considered and responded to directly in the field or submitted to their OCs and their corresponding departments.

For some examples of motions, see the Annex.

Some bullet points on motions and recommendations:

  • All debates do not have to end with a motion or recommendation! The writing of a motion should only be considered if it brings a new spirit to the associative like new ideas that could make things move.

  • To avoid wasting time motions that have already been approved by a previous GA/OCB Gathering, or that refer to policies that have already been accepted and/or applied should not be written, unless you wish to re-emphasise a motion you feel have not been implemented.  A list of past motions can be found here.

  • Avoid writing motions you are not ready to defend at the OCB Gathering. For each selected motion the FAD representative and/or the Head of Mission from the corresponding mission will be invited to come and defend the motion in person at the OCB Gathering. 

A well crafted motion contains the following:

  • A title that clearly indicates what is the subject and to whom the motion is directed

  • A short background / argument in favor of  the change asked for (= point 3)

  • A request, i.e. the text that the assembly will vote on (the shorter and the more concise it is, the bigger the chance that it will pass) 

Selection of Motions

Motions can be directed to the International (and will then be taken up for consideration by the International General Assembly Motions Committee) or to the OCB.

All motions have to be submitted to the OCB CA motions committee ( or as soon as your FAD is finished, so as to allow the committee enough time for the preparation works, to assemble, organise, select and verify the wording of the motions to be presented at the Gathering. The motions can also be submitted through the General Assemblies of the OCBs and Heads of Missons.

The Motions Committee is made up of members from the OCB Board, and works on the substance (critical analysis and synthesis, overlapping content, repetitions from previous years, separating motions from recommendations etc.) as well as the form (clear and comprehensive, presentation and translation) of the motions submitted.  It recommends a limited number of motions to the OCB Board which has the responsibility for the final selection.

The Motions Committee will not be able to take into account a badly worded motion or one that is not accompanied by explanations.

We strongly insist that you provide a short text for each motion explaining the context, and any other pertinent information, of the motion. 

Due to practical constraints only a reasonable number of motions will be presented at the Gathering.  The Motions Committee will be looking for motions intended to nurture the associative reflections in the field, to involve the field members in MSF, and to facilitate the expression of conflicting and challenging opinions about the way MSF functions.  Motions with similar aim from different missions will be summarized and merged into one proposal. 

Who can vote at the FAD?

All participants, whether a member of OCB or not, can vote when motions are approved at the FAD.

Presenting motions at the OCB Gathering

For each selected motion, the Head of Mission and the representative of the corresponding mission will be invited to publicly defend the motion at the AG / OCB Gathering. If none of them wants to take responsibility for the motion, it will not be presented.  

Motions are not the “law”

Though the motions process is extremely important when it comes to influencing the movement and how we work, it is important to remember to that motions can sometimes not be implemented for a number of reasons.  By submitting a motion that is accepted to the Gathering you guarantee that the issue is debated and that there will be feedback on why or why not a motion was implemented in the end.

OCB 2013 Gathering Motions Session

You can watch the motions session from the 2014 OCB Gathering to get some tips. 

Film - Life of a motion

Life of a motion from Inside Ocb on Vimeo.

By: Rebecca Cederholm