Questions & Answers

Through these questions and answers, we aim to provide a response to enquiries about the virtual delivery format for the 42nd World Scout Conference and 14th World Scout Youth Forum.

Should you have additional inquiries on convening virtually for the events, do not hesitate to contact us at conference2021@scout.org.

Abbreviations used:
the events = 42nd World Scout Conference & 14th World Scout Youth Forum
Conference = 42nd World Scout Conference
Youth Forum = 14th World Scout Youth Forum
WSC = World Scout Committee
YA = Youth Advisors to the World Scout Committee
WSB = World Scout Bureau
NSO = National Scout Organization
RoP = Rules of Procedure

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EVENT RELATED QUESTIONS

The Youth Forum is an educational tool that provides an opportunity for young members of World Scouting to learn, discuss and express their views on different issues, and many participants are also delegates at the Conference. Through preparing inputs and making recommendations to the Conference and to the WSC, participants will develop the skills necessary to strengthen their capacity to take part in decision-making processes. The Youth Forum is considered as an interim measure to improve youth involvement in decision-making at the world level.

The Conference is the governing body of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. The Conference, which takes place every three years, provides an opportunity for Member Organizations to consider the policy and standards of the Scout Movement, formulate the general policy of the World Organization, and take the action required to advance the purpose of the Movement.

The Youth Forum takes place before the Conference and provides a space for young people below 26 years of age to review and discuss all business proposals up for consideration at the Conference. They are also provided an opportunity to develop recommendations and draft amendments to improve upon the proposals, as well as any other topic affecting young people or for strengthening national youth policies. In addition, the Youth Forum agrees on a formal declaration of its participants along with a formal report that is conveyed to the Conference. Finally, the Youth Forum also serves as a training ground for the Conference, empowering and supporting the delegates from Member Organizations.

When deciding on a virtual delivery format for the events, the WSC decided to change the dates to schedule the events as much as possible over weekends to ensure more convenient access and participation.

The new dates for the virtual events are as follows:

  • 14th World Scout Youth Forum from Wednesday 18 to Sunday 22 August 2021
  • 42nd World Scout Conference from Wednesday 25 to Sunday 29 August 2021

As part of the research on the modality of the events, work was undertaken to assess the costs and potential income sources for a virtual delivery of the events. Some costs for a virtual event include the licensing of a high-end online event platform, studio production and financial support for NSOs to ensure all have access to quality internet connection. 

The World Scout Committee has decided to make participation in the Conference and Youth Forum free of charge. National Scout Organizations will be encouraged to make voluntary contributions to the Re-Energising Scouting Fund which will be facilitated through the Scout Donation Platform.

 

It is anticipated that the registration process for the events will open between April and May 2021, watch for official information through WOSM’s communication channels and on scoutconference.org.

An inter-event between the Youth Forum and Conference will not be organised in the sense of what we normally offer between the in-person events. Pending further work on the concept of the programme of both events, we do anticipate online engagements with participants will be on-going during the period between the Youth Forum and Conference through the international patrols, preparation programme, on-demand content, and virtual networking spaces. 

DELIVERY FORMAT QUESTIONS

In-depth research was conducted on the possible modalities to deliver the 42nd World Scout Conference and 14th World Scout Youth Forum in August 2021.

The research took into account the impact of the pandemic on large-scale international events with a focus on how to ensure the delivery of an engaging and inclusive programme to support the health and well-being of participants, meet constitutional requirements, and reflect valuable feedback received from NSOs. 

Through the research and feedback received from NSOs, it is regrettably concluded that in the current and forecasted circumstances, it is not viable to safely and inclusively organise any in-person large-scale international events in August 2021.

Extensive research was conducted over the last months which the WSC carefully considered in reaching this conclusion. This research included assessment of the financial situation of organisations, the ability for delegations to travel, the situation of other International Organizations and NSOs in regard to their General Assemblies, WOSM’s need to continue moving forward in its governance processes and the unpredictable situation of the pandemic, among many other considerations. 

In addition, through Circular 40/2020, the WSB released an open call for NSOs to participate in a focus group to reflect on the different modalities for the events. We received a total of 25 interested NSOs, of which 18 were invited to ensure a diverse input. Their feedback provided has been considered into the research. 

Learnings from other events over the past year and engaging with external parties makes us confident we can deliver on quality virtual events to ensure that the continued good governance of WOSM can continue. 

The virtual Youth Forum and Conference will be fully organized by WOSM and there will be no formal Host.

No, the decision to deliver the events virtually only pertains to the 42nd World Scout Conference and 14th World Scout Youth Forum in 2021.

WOSM and the bidders for the 43rd World Scout Conference and 15th World Scout Youth Forum fully anticipate being able to deliver the 2024 events in person. Moreover, in line with Article XII.1 of the WOSM Constitution, only the Conference can decide on the time and place of its triennial meeting.

Clearly a virtual convening of the 42nd World Scout Conference and 14th World Scout Youth Forum, as well as the expertise gathered throughout various events during the pandemic, will yield WOSM significant knowhow in the successful organisation of virtual events, which will no doubt benefit various other future Scout events as well.

VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE

A “delegate 101 programme” will be available in the months leading up to the events with different learning paths to master the technology, learn about being a delegate, and discover the proposals up for decision. Being grouped with an international patrol will also give participants the opportunity to connect with and learn from others. 

A dedicated support team will also be available to answer questions and guide participants on ensuring a smooth preparation for the events from support to acquire a qualitative internet connection to understanding the agendas for both events.

We recognise that convening these events virtually presents challenges as well as new opportunities, and as such, preliminary work has been undertaken to envisage what the experience might look like. 

A positive and engaging participant experience is at the forefront of envisioning and planning the virtual events. Supported by a virtual conferencing platform, participants will be provided technical support, engage in decision-making for the future of World Scouting, learn from educational workshops, have fun during social activities and network with Scouts from around the world to gain new insights and inspiration.

You can get an insight on the full participant experience envisioned through watching this short video

Different state of the art conferencing tools are under review by the technical team to provide an immersive experience and also facilitate the social and informal networking aspects of the events. 

The aim is to provide participants with a varied and engaging programme through an integrated conferencing platform, taking advantage of online engagement tools, networking spaces and gamification concepts. 

Once the conferencing platform is decided and live, adequate training and tutorials will be provided to delegations to ensure everybody is able to fully experience the virtual events.

There are various aspects to the programme of the virtual events, from institutional decision-making to social activities, live sessions to pre-recorded on-demand content, and finally educational opportunities through workshops to marketplaces showcasing important work and best practices.

The programme is being envisioned in a way that participants will have a preparation phase where they can start to get accustomed to the technology, get an introduction to the proposals up for decision, and start to engage in different discussions. 

During the times of the events, there will be a period of time each day where everyone will come together across the time zones for live sessions on key event moments (like voting for example). Before and/or after this time period will be various other live and on-demand programme for participants to select based on their needs and time zones so as to design their own custom agenda.

NSOs are invited to give input on the topics of the Conference agenda by 23 March for general agenda items. More information can be found at scoutconference.org/agenda.

We have mapped out all of WOSM’s member countries to determine everyone’s time zones to find the most suitable solution for the majority of delegations. To adjust to such a global event, some flexibility and understanding will be needed from delegations.  

The previous question can give you an idea on how the programme is envisioned to accommodate time zones or you can visit scoutconference.org/agenda for more details. 

Combatting virtual fatigue is a challenge which has been identified, and also raised by NSOs in the focus groups. There are various initial ideas considered on how to address this challenge, including:

  • Managing the length of live sessions and ensuring regular breaks in content
  • Using different virtual tools and methods to engage with the audience
  • Identifying dynamic chairpersons and facilitators
  • Providing pre-recorded content in advance of the events to spread out the time needed to participate in the full programme
  • Allowing participants to customise their agenda
  • Offering a diverse programme, delivery methods and session topics

We are keen for feedback and ideas from NSOs to help ensure a positive experience for all, please be in touch with us at conference2021@scout.org to share any ideas. 

While an international in-person event is not foreseen to be feasible in August 2021, we believe that these virtual events will be a positive opportunity for our Movement to come together during these unprecedented times. We see it as a chance to strengthen our motivation to continue growing stronger together towards Vision 2023 and ensure continued good governance of WOSM. 

Participants should feel the unity of the Movement through convening all together in one place online, taking part in the social activities and networking with other Scouts.

There will be various social activities available to participants throughout the events to ensure that everyone has some fun and gets to know other participants from around the world to truly have the feeling of a Scouting event. 

Some fun and engaging moments will be planned, along with a gamification component to people’s participation in the events to keep everyone motivated. International patrols will also be established where participants will be grouped with their peers for support, social interactions, and sharing their experiences. 

An exciting “International Evening” is also being planned, where delegations can celebrate the diversity of cultures represented at the events. Stay tuned for more information.

Yes! Connecting with other Scouts is an integral part of any Scouting event and this will be no different in a virtual setting. Different networking options will be made available to participants, either in the form of instant messaging or through programme blocks like virtual coffee breaks. We also envision to allow for scheduling of informal meetings with other delegations to facilitate important discussions and decision-making.

A more social networking opportunity will also be available through the international patrols to connect with other Scouts from around the world to support each other and share experiences throughout the events.

VIRTUAL ATTENDANCE

All NSOs will be given the opportunity to attend the events and we hope with delivering the events virtually that they will be more accessible. 

We are aware that internet connectivity may be a concern for some NSOs. As such, support mechanisms will be in place to help resolve these challenges as best as possible.

As for any Conference, if a Member Organization is unable to join the Conference, provisions can be made in accordance with the RoP Rule 4.e to give proxy votes to another Member Organization. Guidance will be shared for this in due time.

With delivering the events virtually, we hope that they will be more accessible, allowing for an increased attendance of delegates, observers or the general public. 

Member Organizations can select up to six representatives to act as delegates to the Conference which can engage in the voting process and discussions. Observers can also be selected as part of the delegation and have the opportunity to join in discussions and participate in the event. Further reference can be made to RoP Rule 4.

Each Member Organization is encouraged to select two delegates and a maximum of four observers to the Youth Forum as presented in the Youth Forum Guidelines.

[UPDATED] As announced in Circular 37/2020, the WSC has approved the new age range for participation for young people who are 18 to 27 years of age (inclusive). The revised age range is in keeping with the spirit of Scouting to allow participants who were eligible for the 2020 event dates to also be eligible to attend in 2021. In addition, the WSC also set the eligibility for candidates as Youth Advisors to the World Scout Committee for the term 2021-2024 to be the same age range as participants to the 14th WSYF in 2021.

Through the online registration process, there will be a clear identification of participants according to their role at the events either as heads of delegation, delegates, observers, guests, etc.  Only individuals properly authorised by their NSO will be accredited as delegates or observers. Security mechanisms will be in place to ensure that the participants gain the correct access to the conferencing platform and voting system. 

During live sessions, the Chairpersons will help to facilitate (with the support of online engagement tools) any discussions to ensure that delegations have the right to speak and vote as appropriate and in line with the RoP. 

We are aware that internet connectivity may be a concern for some NSOs. We have completed an initial exercise of mapping the anticipated internet connectivity status of each NSO to help in determining where direct support may be needed. We will be glad to work together on resolving these connectivity challenges to the best of our abilities, be this through providing financial support in topping up data plans, supporting a partnership to use a local government or business facility with stable internet, or other suitable means. 

The official languages of WOSM and the events are English and French. As such all session chairing, agenda items, Draft Resolutions and Amendments must be presented in one of the two official languages. At the Conference, interpretation support will further be provided during plenary sessions in Arabic, Spanish and Russian.

We are endeavouring to make the events as inclusive as possible, and we recognize that language is critical for delegations particularly in a virtual context. Further to this, WOSM endeavours to provide all key Conference documentation (in particular Draft Resolutions and Conference Documents) in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Arabic.

INSTITUTIONAL

The revised RoP was adapted to include provisions for meeting virtually. Some of these revisions include:

  • Edits to allow for a virtual delivery format and voting process
  • Clarification for determining “presence” in a virtual meeting context
  • Change that deadlines for submission of Amendments and Emergency Resolutions be time based before select voting sessions (while preserving the original intervals)
  • Flexibility to ensure suitable and fair means of presenting candidacies to the World Scout Committee in a virtual meeting context

Full details can be viewed on scoutconference.org/rules-of-procedure and in annex 2 of Circular 01/2021.

In accordance with Article XII.4 of the WOSM Constitution, the presence of at least one half of WOSM’s Member Organizations will be confirmed at the Opening Session by the Credentials Committee (RoP Rule 4.d). 

In this virtual context, the online registration and participation system identified for the Conference will be used by the Credentials Committee to determine presence. Security mechanisms will be in place to ensure that the delegations and individual delegates have the correct access to the conferencing platform and voting system.

WOSM is currently reviewing different options for the electronic voting system, based on its expertise gathered at the 2017 World Scout Conference, the 2018 Interamerica Scout Conference and the 2019 European Scout Conference as well as international best practice. A decision on the voting system will be taken when this review is completed, with authentication of credentials, security of the vote, reliability and usability as key considerations. A backup system will also be identified as a contingency measure in case problems are experienced with the main voting system.

NSO delegations will receive advance training and tutorials in how to use the selected voting system, ensuring every NSO in good standing can express its vote timely and securely.

Yes! NSOs are able to provide input on the agenda topics for the Conference according to the Conference Rules of Procedure, Rule 2. As communicated through Circular 01/2021, Member Organizations are invited to give input by 23 March 2021 for general agenda items.

NSOs will also be engaged over the coming months to help ensure that session topics are relevant for the current realities. It is important to deliver on a programming which can help to inspire delegates with new learnings and insights to bring back to their NSOs.

Steps will be taken to provide guidance to bidders on preparing their presentation of their invitation to host the World Scout Event to ensure to the best of our abilities an equal opportunity is made available, this can be from the quality of pre-recorded presentations, to introducing themselves to the Conference. A time is also blocked in the agenda for a virtual meet and greet, offering participants a market style approach to meeting the bidders and asking them questions. Further guidance and details will be provided in due course. 

We will also endeavour to make the overviews of the invitations to host the World Scout Events available as far in advance as possible so that delegations and bidders have sufficient time to connect virtually on their own initiative. 

It is important to ensure that WOSM’s Code of Conduct, World Scout Event Bidders Code of Conduct and Safe from Harm measures are followed at all times.

Steps will be taken to provide guidance to candidates on preparing their presentation for candidacy to ensure to the best of our abilities an equal opportunity is made available, this can be from the quality of pre-recorded presentations, to introducing themselves to the Youth Forum or Conference. A time is also blocked in the agenda for a virtual meet and greet, offering participants a market style approach to meeting the candidates and asking them questions. Further guidance and details will be provided in due course. 

We will also endeavour to make the candidate overviews available as far in advance as possible so that delegations and candidates have sufficient time to connect virtually on their own initiative. 

It is important to ensure that the WOSM Code of Conduct for Elections, WOSM’s Code of Conduct and Safe from Harm measures are followed at all times.

POSTPONEMENT OF EVENTS FROM 2020 TO 2021

The WSB does not foresee any issue with the postponement on the invitations to host future World Events. We will be working closely with the bidders during this period to provide the necessary support.

An assessment was completed with the concerned Regional Scout Committees and the concerned Hosts to assess the impact of the postponement of the World Scout Conference on these events. Where required, institutional procedures have been initiated in the concerned Regions to also adapt the schedule of these events.

[UPDATED] The WSC released through Circular 31/2020 the WOSM Plan for 2020-2021, which has been focused to provide support to NSOs in adapting to the post-COVID-19 global and local context, while continuing to build on the road towards Vision 2023. The WSC has also reviewed, appointed or extended the appointments of the necessary volunteers to help contribute to the delivery of these projects.

By default, if the 42nd Conference would take place in 2021, the 43rd Conference would take place in 2024 (see Article XII.1 of the WOSM Constitution). The 42nd Conference could consider shortening the subsequent 2021-2024 triennium if a Draft Resolution to this extent is proposed for decision. Such a Draft Resolution would require a two-thirds majority to be carried, given the principle of triennia is embedded in the WOSM Constitution.

The mandate of voting members of the WSC is tied to the meeting of the Conference, as per Article XIII.3 of the Constitution of WOSM. Therefore, with the postponement of the Conference to 2021 the mandate of the voting members of the WSC will last until such time that the postponed Conference convenes.

The Guidelines of the 13th Forum stated that YAs are elected at the Forum “for a term of three years”. These Guidelines are approved by the WSC. Contingent upon the referendum being approved and both events being postponed, the WSC decided that it will extend the mandate of the current YAs until such time that the 14th Forum convenes.