Dear friends in Scouting,
One year ago, the 40th World Scout Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, elected a new World Scout Committee (WSC) and approved a new Strategy for our Movement. It marked a fresh beginning which presented the WSC with the opportunity to steer the Movement to the next level.
At our first meeting, convened shortly after the close of business of the Conference on 14 August, I had the opportunity to share my perspective for the new triennium with my fellow WSC members.
I highlighted three most important things that the WSC has to work on during this triennium — Unity, Impact, Organisation. This letter aims to give an insight into how the WSC, together with the World Scout Bureau (both the global and regional teams) and the National Scout Organizations (NSOs) have come together and progressed in contributing to make World Scouting a formidable movement for young people.
This is with regard to the way the WSC members work together, how we relate to the World Scout Bureau and the Regions, and how we communicate our decisions to the Movement. It is also about supporting the NSOs in building their capacities to deliver better Scouting for more young people.
WSC Induction Meeting, New York
An unprecedented induction and working methods review meeting was organised at the beginning of the term. Ahead of the meeting, the WSC was provided with an orientation package with reading and reference materials that are fundamental for the effective functioning of the WSC. As a result, the WSC members are now conversant with their individual and collective roles in the WSC and are aware of many other aspects that support and promote the effective functioning of the WSC.
Team Charter 2014 - 2017
The WSC developed and adopted the Team Charter 2014-2017 as the framework on how individual members can contribute to the success of the WSC. The Charter covers four key components of the operation of the WSC — Purpose of our team, How we prepare for and run our meetings, Working between meetings and accountability, and Behaviours we commit to.
The Steering Committee of the WSC
The Steering Committee (which runs the WSC business in between meetings) decided to hold bi-monthly Skype meetings as a way to follow more closely the developments in different areas and provide better support to the Secretary General.
The WSC decided to include, for the first time, one Youth Advisor (Maeed Zahir) in the Steering Committee, together with the Chairman, the two Vice-Chairpersons and the Secretary General. This was seen as a contribution to the implementation of the new World Scout Youth Involvement Policy.
Triennial Plan 2014-2017 and Operational Framework
The Triennial Plan 2014-2017 is seen as the first step towards achieving Vision 2023 that was adopted by the 40th World Scout Conference. It was approved by the WSC in November and published and sent to the NSOs in December 2014.
In May 2015, an updated version of the Triennial Plan 2014-2017 which included Key Performance Indicators for each of the four Triennial Plan work streams — Innovating Scouting, Reaching Out To All, Strengthening Scouting’s Profile and Governance & NSO Support — was issued to the NSOs.
An Operational Framework, which included all sub-structures of the WSC, was approved by the WSC and put in place to implement the Triennial Plan. The working groups, task forces and standing committees are now developing exciting pieces of work such as a new Communications & External Relations Strategy, a concept paper on Social Impact, a review of the Moot concept, or new tools to boost the capacities of NSOs.
Open Call for Volunteers, First Work Stream Group Meeting, Athens
In September 2014, the WSC launched an open call for volunteers to support the areas of work of the WSC during the 2014-2017 triennium. These areas of work have been translated into four work streams (see above) and a WSC member, supported by a WSB staff, has been appointed to lead each work stream. Around 100 volunteers, from all six Regions, have now been selected and appointed to support the WSC in the different substructures. The first Triennial Plan work stream group meeting was held in Athens, Greece
on 20-22 February.
WSC Business Meetings, Kuala Lumpur
The WSC met, together with key WSB staff members, in Kuala Lumpur for its first full working meeting of the triennium from 14-16 November 2014, and thereafter, from 20-22 March 2015. These two meetings in Kuala Lumpur were excellent opportunities for the WSC members (including the Regional Chairpersons) and WSB staff to interact and establish better working relationships. These meetings included the active participation of the Youth Advisors of the WSC and produced a number of decisions which were communicated in due time.
WSB Management Team Meeting, Kuala Lumpur
I had the opportunity to attend the WSB Management Team Meeting, which was held in Kuala Lumpur from 20-24 January, and to address around 70 WSB staff who had come together from all nine centres across the globe. I shared with the team the vision and plans of the WSC. This engagement is part of efforts to strengthen the working relationship between the WSC and WSB, to align our views to achieve Vision 2023.
Collaboration with the World Scout Foundation
As members of the World Scout Foundation (WSF) Board, WSC Vice-Chairperson Dan Ownby, Secretary General Scott Teare and I have been participating in the WSF Board meetings and reporting on WOSM’s plans and developments, as well as how the grants which have been received have been used. These reports have been well received and raised a lot of interest.
A new and clearer working relationship between WOSM and the WSF is being developed — WOSM to define its priorities and manage its projects, and the WSF to seek support and resources for these priorities/projects. WOSM and the WSF are indeed entering a new era in our working relationship.
An important part of the work being done during the past year related to supporting the NSOs in building their capacity. Through the Global Support framework (which includes the close support from the Regions), 104 NSOs have been supported (since August 2014) in improving their systems and processes of delivering Scouting.
Following the recognition that the financial system in pla ce in the WSB was not adequate for the Movement in the 21st century, it was, therefore, essential to implement a new one which will enable better control and easier management for all involved, besides providing more transparency. Thanks to the support of the WSF, the system, which will also be used by the Regions, is now in the final phase of implementation.
In order to increase transparency within WOSM, the WSC also approved, for the first time, a Conflict of Interest Policy and a Complaints Policy. As part of efforts to improve communication with the NSOs, a Letter from the WSC Chairperson was sent to the NSOs after the completion of 100 days since the new Committee took office.
This is about reinforcing what we are. Our Vision 2023 states that “By 2023 Scouting will be the world’s leading educational youth movement, enabling 100 million young people to be active citizens creating positive change in their communities and in the world based on shared values”.
Scouts creating a Better World
The WSC continues to support the full implementation of WOSM’s flagship programme, Messengers of Peace (MoP). During the past year, some 38 MoP Support Fund projects were carried out, recording around 49 760 343 community service hours. Through our permanent online jamboree, scout.org, thousands of community service projects are being reported and we can see how Scouts are creating positive change in their communities and in the world.
New Youth-related policies
After being approved by the 40th World Scout Conference, two important youth-related policies have been published: the World Scout Youth Programme Policy and the World Scout Youth Involvement Policy. We trust these will be important tools to guide the NSOs in offering a learning environment which empowers young people and help them to become active and responsible citizens.
Collaboration with the United Nations
Contacts have been held to reinforce collaboration with the United Nations and some of its agencies. These contacts included a meeting with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, at his office in New York, in October.
During the meeting, the WOSM team (comprising Secretary General Scott Teare, WSC member Mari Nakano, and some WSB senior staff members) invited the UN Secretary General to attend the 23rd World Scout Jamboree in Japan. Mr Ban was represented by the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, at the recently concluded Jamboree, which was also participated by several UN agencies.
During this first year, steps have been taken to re-establish fruitful cooperation with our sister organisation, WAGGGS. Besides some informal contacts, the WAGGGS-WOSM Consultative Committee met in June 2015 for one of its annual meetings which was attended by the leadership of both organisations. We discussed strategies, growth, youth empowerment and opportunities for cooperation. The Consultative Committee expressed how it feels proud of our shared heritage, confident in our difference and looks forward to working together to empower young people across the world.
Ebola in Africa
When the Ebola pandemic broke out in Sierra Leone, Liberia and areas in West Africa in 2014, Scouts swung into action, engaging not only in emergency response, but also in the long and painful process of post-crisis rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery.
When Nepal was hit with devastating earthquakes in April 2015, Scouts in Nepal and other countries provided the much needed support in the relief, rescue and rebuilding efforts. Additionally, some US$38 000 was collected through the dedicated #ScoutAid page on scout.org for the victims.
World Youth Events
The past year was an intense time of preparation for the 23rd World Scout Jamboree, which took place in Japan from 28 July to 8 August. Members of the WSB team (and John May, representing the WSC) worked hard together with our Japanese colleagues to put together an unforgettable experience for the 33 000 participants. I believe it is fair to say that the recently-concluded Jamboree in Japan was incredible.
WOSM succeeded in bringing together tens of thousands of young people from across the globe and provided them with the opportunity to make new friends, to have fun together, and to discover how similar we really are as human beings. The WSC applauds our host, the Scout Association of Japan, for a job well done, and every single individual Scout who was at the Jamboree — you made it happen!
The past year was also spent on kick-starting the preparation for two other World Youth events which will happen in 2017 — the 15th World Scout Moot (to be held in Iceland) and the 13th World Scout Youth Forum (to be held in Azerbaijan). Both planning teams are working in a committed and enthusiastic way to deliver fantastic events.
Unity, the most important feature, should prevail in everything we do. Without unity, despite all the plannings and meetings, everything comes to naught. The theme of the 23rd World Scout Jamboree was, therefore, particularly pertinent and important, and we need to nurture the Spirit of Unity more and more at all levels.
The WSC has strived to promote openness, transparency and collaboration, reaching out to the Regions and NSOs, and nurturing close working relationships which benefit those involved and WOSM, at large.
It is with a sense of achievement that I conclude this report. The WSC’s goal of increasing Scouting’s social impact is bearing fruit; enhancing working relationship with our key stakeholders is shaping up well; nurturing unity in the Movement is more prevalent now — thanks to the collective efforts made possible by the improved and stronger bond that exists among us today.
Let us continue with this momentum and further strengthen internal relations and reinforce common values in the next two years as we work towards creating a more responsive, effective and efficient organisation. This will be crucial to sustain the growth of our membership as stated in Vision 2023. After a first year of internal organisation, we will now focus more on this important aim, to which every NSO and Region is called to contribute.
Thank you for your continued support and cooperation. I look forward to another successful year, and a great triennium as we join hands in creating a better world!
Yours in Scouting,
João Armando Gonçalves
Chairperson, World Scout Committee