The huge success of the training sessions showed that there is a strong demand among member institutions for training activities. The IOI has become highly aware of the necessity of training programmes for its members and is planning to offer additional training courses focusing on areas that are of specific concern to ombudsman institutions and taking into account regional topics of specific interest.
Since November 2010 the IOI General Secretariat hosted various training initiatives in Vienna and was able to forge close ties with renowned partner institutions offering training such as the Vienna-based International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA), the Queen Margaret University (UK/Scotland), the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), the Ombudsman of Ontario (Canada) and the Ombudsman of New South Wales (Australia).
The very positive feedback from our members encourages the IOI to further embark on such projects and provide its membership with additional trainings at the IOI headquarter in Vienna as well as in the IOI regions in the future.
With the view to strengthen our members’ capability and to foster the exchange of expertise among Ombudsman worldwide, the IOI always strives to identify the specific training needs of its members and to broaden the range of topics offered to its members in tailor-made training seminars.
The IOI aims at implementing research projects that will become the basis for an intensified exchange of best practices among member institutions that will for the first time have comprehensive data available on other members of the ombudsman community.
Comparative research project on Asian Ombudsman Institutions
The upcoming research project will deal with Asian Ombuds institutions.
Comparative research project: "APOR Ombudsman Institutions"
The IOI General Secretariat commissioned the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, an independent Austrian research institution, to conduct a comparative research study on the ombudsman offices of the Australasian and Pacific Region. The APOR comparative research project links up with a very successful research project on the European Region conducted by Prof. Kucsko-Stadlmayr. It aims at analysing the legal basis, the legal status as well as the position of ombudsman institutions of the APOR Region within their political systems and societies. In addition, the project focuses on the compliance of the various ombudsman institutions with norms of good administration and international and regional human rights standards, on their accessibility to different societal groups and on their monitoring and data collection mechanisms.
A print version of the study "'Australasia and Pacific Ombudsman Institutions" was published in 2013. It contains a detailed comparative analysis of the ombudsman institutions of the APOR Region. An online access will be available for members soon.
Access to research on European ombudsman institutions
Against the background of this intensified scientific cooperation the IOI General Secretariat is pleased to offer all IOI Members the opportunity of free of charge electronic access to the following publication: Kucsko-Stadlmayer, Gabriele (ed.): "European Ombusman-Institutions. A comparative legal analysis regarding the multifaceted realisation of an idea", Springer Wien New York, 2008. This comparative legal study that was realised by the European region in 2007/2008 and contains well founded information about approaches, assignments and competences of Ombudsman institutions in 49 European states . It can therefore provide a valuable incentive for the status and potential of development of the Ombudsman regime.
For further information please contact the IOI General Secretariat.
Using membership fees, the Executive Committee of the IOI is able to grant subsidies for regional projects based on a transparent tender procedure.
Out of numerous project proposals six applications from five regions were selected in 2011. Most of the projects concerned training initiatives or public communication and research activities.
In 2012, five projects from four regions were subsidized. A webinar, training courses, a capacity building workshop and a fundamental rights campaign for detainees were financially supported by the IOI.
Amongst several other promising projects, the proposals that received subsidies in 2013 were an information campaign against human trafficking, a project on awareness raising of women’s rights and child rights as well as a training course for new Ombudsmen and developing or expanding offices.
Ombudsman under threat
Threats to Ombudsman institutions come in a variety of forms but have a common denominator: they come as a direct response to the complaint handling work of Ombudsmen and their efforts to protect human rights and fight corruption.
The IOI acknowledges the general need to support member institutions under threat as one of its core tasks, especially when democracy is weakened, undermined or comes under threat. The IOI sees the need to support democratic oversight bodies such as the Ombudsman in order to protect the citizens concerned.
The IOI therefore developed a set of guidelines to establish principles and courses of action to coordinate IOI support for Ombudsmen coming under threat, facing reprisals or operating under difficult circumstances.
When supporting a member in need, the IOI will respect its values and principles and apply a “do-no-harm” principle. Coordination and communication of any actions and at all stages of the process is of utmost importance; especially with the Ombudsman institution in question.
The guidelines provide an overview of the options for support available and clarify the procedures to be followed should such case present itself.
The International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) is committed to promoting and developing the concept of the Ombudsman and it does so in a variety of ways: it encourages the creation and development of Ombudsman institutions where they do not already exist, it funds research, provides training and promotes information exchange and shared learning.
In its ongoing dialogue with key international organizations and stakeholders, the IOI also engages in Ombudsman-related topics and issues statements on behalf of its entire membership.
As the only global organisation representing Ombudsman institutions, IOI considers policy areas that are of specific importance to its members and therefore contributes to improving public services around the world.