Motions & Recommendations

Motions & Recommendations

What is a motion?

All asso members can propose motions to the General Assembly. A motion presented at the MSF Denmark  can be directed to the OCB Gathering, or the International General Assembly, depending on whether it is an issue that pertains to the movement as a whole or not.

If you are preparing a motion, it must be received by the Board at least 30 days prior to the General Assembly (April 6th 2018 at 12:00 (noon). Your motion proposal should be sent to Mauro Lucardi at 


A motion is a proposal presented to the GA by a voting member regarding MSFDK-/OCB-/IGA- related issues that involve its identity, aspirations, responsibilities, principles or mandate. It aims at challenging the organisation and is worded positively and constructively.

Motions should be used to push issues you strongly believe in at level of the missions, your association and/or the movement. A motion should address the associative and is about the fundamentals of the movement, its identity, aspirations, responsibilities, principles and its mandate. If a motion is adopted by the members at General Assembly it is then followed-up by the Board who has a responsibility to report back to the members on the progress of the motion.

Motions are a useful tool to provoke changes in MSF and/or put an issue on the agenda of the Association as a whole. This is why motions should have a ‘wide’ scope: meaning they should not be limited to one country of operations but be applicable to several contexts, deal with MSF's long-term orientations and/or propose something ‘new’ – a different approach, a new strategy, a fresh ‘impetus’ etc.

Motions are also a tool to change the governance of the section, for instance changes to the statutes will be presented as a motion.


A recommendation is  a suggestion presented to the GA by voting members regarding MSFDK-/OCB-/IGA related issues that involve practical executive/operational issues that aims at improving the organisation and is worded positively and constructively.

Some tips 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 GAs/OCB Gathering, or that refer to policies that have already been accepted and/or applied should not be written, unless you wish to re-emphasize a motion you feel have not been implemented. (past motions - log in: msf; password: iga)
Avoid writing motions you are not ready to defend.

How to put together a motion?

  • If you have a proposal to make and think it qualifies to become a motion, try and gather support of other members/MSFers around your proposal. You do not need to wait for the General Assembly to rally people around your idea.
  • Refer to the motions checklist to make sure that what you are proposing meets the ‘requirements’ to be considered as a motion. For example, does your proposal speak to MSF’s identity, principles or responsibilities to our patients? Does it apply to other contexts beyond yours? Have you checked that there is not yet a policy in place on the same topic? Is it proposing something new?
  • Use the examples of previous motions to help you word and present your motion.Feel free to contact Mauro - - if you have any question or want to submit a motion or get some help.

Who can present a motion?

You need to be a member of the Association to present a motion. 

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
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) 

What happens next?

Once a motion is submitted to the General Assembly it will be debated and voted on. If the motion passes, the Board is responsible to follow up and report back. If the motion is meant for the OCB Gathering and/or the IGA, it will also be submitted to those platforms. Due to the sheer volume of motions submitted to the international platforms, both the OCB Gathering and the IGA use Motion Committees to decide which motions will be brought to a vote by the members. They often combine motions of similar nature to cover as much ground as possible. You can read more here about the work of the OCB Motion Committee here.

By: Anna Borg