The closed session of the 38th Conference agreed that a well-informed discussion is warranted on the future size and membership of the Conference. The Chair proposed a working group should be created with a widespread participation from all members. The working group will submit a paper to the next closed session.

Working group

An invitation for member authorities to join the working group was issued by the Secretariat on 22 December 2016 with a reminder sent on 12 January 2017.

Terms of reference for the working group.

A list of the 23 member authorities participating in the working group is available here.


The Executive Committee met in December and discussed a plan to move forward on this project along the following approximate timeline:

  • December 2016: call for volunteers for working group
  • February 2017: working group to commence active work on settling methodology for soliciting member input (e.g. an initial survey on conceptual purpose of Conference and bounds of membership with later survey on practical aspects of change if a consensus is clear)
  • March 2017: Survey
  • April 2017: Preliminary results available for Executive Committee meeting discussion
  • July 2017: Report to be available for study by membership
  • September 2017: 39th Conference.


This page contains resources that may be helpful to members of the working group. Some of these are links to resources already available on the website. It is intended that some resources will be expressly prepared by the Secretariat to assist the working group. Working group members are encouraged to check back on this page from time to time as new resources may be posted.

Papers presented to 38th Conference

Two discussion papers, which had not been circulated to Conference members in advance, were made available to delegates at the closed session of 38th Conference to open a discussion on the subject. They were provided on the Monday to enable delegates to read them overnight before the Tuesday discussion. In agreeing to circulate these papers to the meeting the Executive Committee noted in its minutes that: “It was not intended that any substantive decisions be taken at the 38th Conference but that the discussion merely start a conversation that might be taken forward into the 39th Conference.”

Conference rules

Working Group members should familiarise themselves with the current Rules and Procedures regarding membership and related matters. Some Working Group members may also wish to look at earlier versions of the Conference’s criteria for membership and observer status.

Current rules

The current rules, with consolidated amendments, can be found here. The most relevant rules touching upon matters to be considered by the Working Group are in Part 1 and Part 5  (particularly rules 1.1, 5.1 and 5.3 which set out the purpose of the Conference and the membership and observer criteria).

The accreditation rules in this form were contained the Resolution on the improvement of the conference’s organisational set up which was adopted at the 32nd Conference in 2010. These accreditation rules were consolidated into a set of Rules and Procedures produced by the Interim Executive Committee for the 33rd Conference in 2011.

Previous rules

The Conference did not initially have any formal membership criteria. However, a set of ‘Criteria and Rules for the Credentials Committee’ and ‘Accreditation Principles’ were adopted in  September 2001 during the 23rd Conference held in Paris. The accreditation principles remained unchanged until replaced in 2010.

Previous conference reviews

Previous reviews of the Conference and recommendations for change include:

Conference survey

The survey questionnaire is available here and the report with results and analysis of the survey is available here.

Report on Future Shape and Size of Conference

Presentation by the Chair at the 39th Conference.