This is it! Today, 25th of March was the last official closing day of the 2011 Annual Fleet Forum Conference!
The last 3 days in Geneva, where this year’s conference took place, were the most challenging, intense, but at the same time interesting and exiting days of my whole 4 months Moving the World assignment.
In my opinion the 2011 Fleet Forum conference happened to be a great success!
Below I will give some more facts in support to that impression:
In the opening remarks, Rose Verdurmen – Director of the Moving the World Partnership between WFP and TNT and vice chair of the Fleet Forum Board – addressed the changing world in which aid and development agencies are operating. She stated that aid and development organisations had to work together with donors, corporate partners and academia on order to reach their goals. She stated that philanthropy is a passed station and that in order to be successful all stakeholders have to work together as equal partners.
For a first time in the history of the annual event, we had the key note speech made by a very high level politician - UN Ambassador nominated by the president Obama! The speech of Ambassador Betty King (Permanent Representative of the USA to the United Nations International Organisations in Geneva), was very exciting to me and the conference delegates as we discovered so many common interests and objectives with our own organisation values.
Here are some of the bullet points, which Ambassador King addressed in her key note speech:
· Pillars of the Fleet Forum (safe, clean, efficient) and alignment with US government administration strategic (transport) objectives
· Effective programme delivery is dependent on efficient transportation
· Transport represents one of the highest overhead costs of any operational organisation
· Public funded bodies have a duty to lead by example
· Vehicles are the most visible manifestation of an organisation on the ground
· Road traffic crashes single largest occupational health and safety risk for field staff
· Aid and development organisations are accountable to donors: to deliver value for money, spend funding responsibly
· Aid and development organisations are accountable to beneficiaries: to optimise donor funds
These points happen to be increasingly important to the US government and the US government will be looking at aid and development organisations to see if they are putting good practices in place.
During the conference Fleet Forum also announced two partnerships. The first is in the environmental pillar: Fleet Forum signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nissan to actively work together to reduce the environmental footprint of fleet operations in low and middle income countries. The partnership with Nissan will not only provide Fleet Forum members with the opportunity to test Nissan’s electric LEAF vehicle but both organisations will also work together to promote Clean Fleet Operations and to develop tools which will support that.
Fleet Forum also entered a partnership with North Star Alliance. North Star Alliance is operating road side wellness centres across Africa focussing on truck drivers’ health. Together with North Star, Fleet Forum will develop training modules which will allow drivers to learn while they are on the road. With the ultimate goal to make transport in low and middle income countries safer and healthier.
To support both partnerships participants were invited to make a test drive in the Nissan LEAF vehicle as well as test their health in the North Star Wellness Centre.
We had a number of interesting topics and presentations made from organisations as WFP, World Health Organisation, Fleet Forum, INSEAD, Oxfam GB, Chevin Fleet Solutions, International Cometee of the Red Cross, UNITAR and etc.
One of the most remembering and joyful workshop was the "Dream, Dear, Do!" workshop on effective change management made by the famous Dutch guru Dr. Ben Tiggelar! This session targeted to help the Fleet Managers raise the importance of their role in the organisation trough influencing the senior management.
As always, a key element of the Fleet Forum’s Annual Conference was the networking opportunities that the event offers for those attending.
A unique opportunity, the networking activities provided an alternative way for Forum participants to get to know one another, share information and get connected to others in the community. A perfect way to conclude very busy conference days.
Now, while waiting for my plain to Amsterdam, I dream back to a very successful conference. I enjoyed it, from the first to the last minute. I got a lot of very positive feedback. A quick look at the attendants evaluation forms showed the same.