ICM Global Standards, Competencies and Tools

The use of global standards, competencies, tools and their guidelines, ensures that midwives in all countries have effective education, regulation and strong associations. ICM has developed various interrelated ICM Core Documents which guide Midwives Associations and their Governments to review and improve on the education and regulation of midwives and midwifery, and enable countries to review their midwifery curricula for the production and retention of a quality midwifery workforce.


Council Delegates at the 2008 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, voted to update existing, and develop new ICM Core Documents. These directions for work that was accomplished during the 2008-2011 Triennium constituted what has become known as the “Three Pillars” of ICM’s global efforts to strengthen midwifery worldwide in order to provide high quality, evidence-based health services for women, newborns, and childbearing families.

ICM’s Three Pillars are Education, Regulation, and strong Member Associations and are built upon the foundation of updated core competencies. These Three Pillars are interdependent and provide a complete package of information for midwives, policy makers, and governments. The work on the ICM ‘Three Pillars’ was carried out by expert Task Forces that focused on:

1. Updating and expanding the 2002 Essential Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice, and affirming the evidence base;
2. Developing Global Standards for Midwifery Education along with Companion Guidelines;
3. Developing Global Standards for Midwifery Regulation; and
4. Strengthening Midwifery Associations.

An important corollary to the work of the Task Forces was the development and agreement of a Glossary of Terms 2011 to be used in all ICM Core Documents now and in the future. This section of the website links each of the above Documents for ease of understanding and shows how they inter-relate and support one another. It is important to note that the Education Standards need to be used as a package; the package includes 1) Preface and Standards, 2) Glossary of Education Terms, and 3) Companion Guidelines.

The ICM Core Documents are: the Global Standards for Midwifery Education (2010 amended 2013), the Essential Competencies for Midwifery Practice (2018 update), the Poster ICM Essential Competencies (2018 Update)the Global Standards for Midwifery Regulation (2011), and the Member Association Capacity Assessment Tool  MACAT (2011). They also include the Definition of the Midwife, the Code of Ethics and the Philosophy and Model of Midwifery Care. The latest ICM Core Documents are the  ICM Standard Equipment List for Competency-Based Skills Training in Midwifery Schools (2012), the Model Curriculum Outlines for Professional Midwives (2012), the Curriculum Concordance Map, the Midwifery Services Framework and the ICM Competency Self-Assessment Tool (2013).

Note you can find the General Glossary of Terms  here which is the definition of terms used in all ICM Core Documents.

The ICM Gap Analysis Documents are: Pre-Service Education Assessment Tool English (2012)Pre-Service Education Assessment Tool French (2012) Pre-Service Education Assessment Tool Spanish (2012)Regulation Assessment Tool English (2012)Regulation Assessment Tool French (2012)Regulation Assessment Tool Spanish (2012), Midwifery Association Assesment Tool to Inform a Gap Analysis (2012), Outil d'Evaluation des Associations pour Guider une Analyse des Écarts (2012)Herramiento de Evaluacion para una Asociacion para Informar una Análisis de Brechas (2012).

See the newly developed Dissemination Pack here

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32nd ICM Triennial Congress 2020 - Bali, Indonesia 21-25 June


ICM has the  authority to speak on behalf of the world’s midwives.

ICM Strategy 2017-2020