International Paralympic Committee Information

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Published: 2009/02/13 - Updated: 2021/02/09
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Synopsis: Information on The International Paralympic Committee IPC the global governing body of the Paralympic Games and Sports Movement. The IPC is committed to enabling Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and to developing sport opportunities for all persons with a disability from the beginner to elite level. The Winter Paralympics in Lillehammer in 1994 were the first Paralympic Games under the management of IPC.


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The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement. The Winter Paralympics in Lillehammer in 1994 were the first Paralympic Games under the management of IPC.

The IPC organizes the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games, and serves as the International Federation for nine sports, for which it supervises and co-ordinates the World Championships and other competitions.

The IPC is committed to enabling Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and to developing sport opportunities for all persons with a disability from the beginner to elite level. In addition, the IPC aims to promote the Paralympic values, which include courage, determination, inspiration and equality.

The International Paralympic Committee is the international representative organization of elite sports for athletes with disabilities. The IPC organizes, supervises and co-ordinates the Paralympic Games and other multi-disability competitions. It is an international non-profit organization formed and run by 160 National Paralympic Committees and 5 disability specific international sports federations.

The IPC's mission is to enable athletes with a disability to achieve sporting excellence and to inspire the world. Whereas other international sports organizations for athletes with a disability are limited either to one disability group or to one specific sport, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) - as an umbrella organization - represents all sports and disabilities. The national sports organizations that created the IPC believe that the future of disability sport lies in bringing together athletes with different handicaps to hold joint competitions.

The Paralympic Games have always been held in the same year as the Olympic Games. Since the Seoul Summer Games (1988) and the Albertville Winter Games (1992), they have also taken place at the same venues as the Olympic Games. On 19 June 2001, an agreement was signed between the International Olympic Committee and the IPC aiming to secure and protect the organization of the Paralympic Games.

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The logo of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) since 2004.
The logo of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) since 2004.

At the 2004 Summer Paralympics Closing Ceremonies on September 28, 2004, the IPC launched a new logo. When Athens handed over the flag to Beijing it displayed the new logo consisting of three Agitos in red, blue and green the three colors that are most widely represented in national flags around the world. The Agito logo is strongly related to the IPC motto, Spirit in Motion. The old IPC logo was a composition of three Tae-Geuks, a traditional Korean decorative symbol, and symbolized the most significant components of the human being: Mind, Body, Spirit. The taegeuk based logo was introduced at the 1988 Summer Paralympics as five taegeuks arranged and colored similarly to the Olympic rings.

The Board of Directors (for the purposes of the Companies Act 1985) are also the Charity Trustees (for the purposes of the Charities Act 1993). The Directors meet at General Purposes Committee (GPC) meetings about 6 times per year.

The IPC decided to house its world Headquarters in the former German capital of Bonn in 1997. Bonn was successful in its application against bids from other cities such as Madrid and Paris. With funds from the Bonn-Berlin compensation package, the city provided the IPC with a building for 99 years. The building was renovated and made wheelchair-accessible, and the IPC Headquarters officially opened on 3 September 1999.

The Summer and Winter Paralympic Games are the ultimate international competitions for world class athletes with a disability. They are linked to the Olympic celebrations every two years and athletes must meet strict qualifying standards in order to compete.

The British Paralympic Association is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee whose remit is to send the GB Team to the Paralympic Games. In furtherance of this objective BPA also has a remit from UK Sport to provide Performance Services to Paralympic Squads.

UPDATE: 25th October 2019

After 18 months of consultation, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) published its Governance Review proposals on Friday (25 October) outlining several changes that aim to ensure the organisation remains world leading.

In the proposals, which IPC members were presented with for the first time at the IPC Conference in Bonn, Germany, nine key principles for change were outlined, they are:

a. Purpose:

The purpose of the IPC will focus on promoting inclusion in society through Para sport, specifically by: i. its leadership of the Paralympic Movement;

ii. its supervision of the Paralympic Games;

iii. its support of the NPCs, IFs, IOSDs, Regional Organisations and athletes.

It will cease acting as an international federation for the 10 IPC Sports through a managed exit process. It will also restructure the Agitos Foundation to simplify its governance and bring its operations back into the IPC to achieve development of Para sport more efficiently.

b. Membership:

Some adjustments to the categories of members and the criteria for them are proposed including for IPC Sports and Recognised International Federations. The role and structure of Regional Organisations is also clarified.

c. Wide engagement:

The mechanisms for engagement in decision-making will be improved to enable regular and wide participation by all IPC members and others in the Paralympic Movement.

d. Greater athlete engagement:

There will be greater engagement with athletes in decision making at all levels of the IPC.

e. Role clarity:

The roles and procedures of the President, the IPC Governing Board and the Chief Executive will be clarified to ensure effective and efficient decision-making and to set out their leadership, governance and management obligations respectively.

f. Aligned committees:

The number, nature, composition and role of the various committees, and working groups will be refined to align to the strategic priorities of the IPC.

g. Skilled and diverse people:

The people who sit on decision-making bodies within the IPC must have the necessary skills and expertise for the tasks they are doing. They must also reflect the diverse nature of the Paralympic Movement, which requires prioritising the appointment of people with disabilities, people from all regions of the world and gender balance.

h. Integrity standards:

High standards of integrity and behaviour will be required of its people and its members with independent bodies in place to enforce those standards.

i. Transparency:

Greater transparency of decisions and the decision-making process with new IPC practices and procedures to be implemented to ensure openness and accountability to the membership, stakeholders and the wider Paralympic Movement.

Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said:

"Everyone involved with the Paralympic Movement wants the IPC to remain a world leading sports' organisation and nowhere is that desire felt stronger than within the IPC Governing Board."

"In order to achieve this, in today's ever-changing sporting landscape of greater scrutiny and accountability, it is vital that we have in place the best and most up-to-date sports governance structures."

"These proposals are the result of 18 months' worth of consultation and dialogue with IPC members, athletes and key stakeholders, as well as development work by the IPC Governance Review Working Group. The proposal document is by no means a finished article, but it does aim to make the IPC more membership focussed and athlete-centred."

"Over the next 12 month we will see further dialogue, consultation and feedback with members before holding an Extraordinary General Assembly in December 2019 to approve the changes."

In April 2018, the IPC announced a review of its governance structures for the first time since 2004, establishing a Governance Review Working Group led by IPC Vice President Duane Kale. Since then there has been extensive consultation with IPC members and key stakeholders, including September 2018's IPC Membership Gathering.

Following the presentation and publication of the reforms, there will now be 12 months of consultation with IPC membership to gather feedback.

An Extraordinary General Assembly will take place in December 2020 and, if approved, the principles will be implemented through a range of changes in the Constitution, By-laws (to be changed to Regulations), practices and procedures of the IPC as set out in the proposal.


This quality-reviewed article relating to our Paralympic Games section was selected for publishing by the editors of Disabled World due to its likely interest to our disability community readers. Though the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or length, the article "International Paralympic Committee Information" was originally written by Disabled World, and published by on 2009/02/13 (Updated: 2021/02/09). Should you require further information or clarification, Disabled World can be contacted at Disabled World ( Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith.


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