During the second European Regional Meeting at the 39th World Scout Conference in Curitiba, Brazil, feedback was sought on what NSOs believed were the major outcomes from the preceding five days of debate. Those attending the meeting were encouraged to consider how the outcomes would impact on Scouting around the world in general, Scouting in Europe in particular as well as Scouting in their own countries.

Feedback was limited but highly constructive with reflections being made on the governance outcomes relating to the status of regions, the impact of delegates and observers to the World Scout Youth Forum on progressing the youth empowerment agenda at the World Scout Conference itself and so on.

However, one particular comment struck me, and it related to the perception of a lack of preparedness amongst European NSOs, for some of the issues that would be dealt with at the World Scout Conference.

Reflecting on this, I was a little struck as I had believed we had given over considerable discussion to known world level issues both at the European Scout Symposium in Budapest, Hungary in May 2010 and again during four world level workshop sessions at the 20th European Scout Conference in Brussels, Belgium in July 2010. This was, in my view, something of a departure from how we have operated in the recent past and a genuine effort to show how regions and world level could and should collaborate.

In addition, I’m aware that many of the issues that were scheduled to be discussed at the World Scout Conference were, quite rightly, being discussed between NSOs themselves as they prepared in their own delegations and amongst their own networks.

During the European Scout Symposium, for example, we had input and discussion on the work being done by the Governance Review Task Force. We also provided the space for a meeting on the issue of Federations. Then, at the 20th European Scout Conference we had four workshops on Governance, Strategy, Fees and the World Scout Youth Forum. These workshops were led by Members of the World Scout Committee and Youth Advisors to the World Scout Committee, who on the whole found the opportunity to discuss the issues with European NSOs in a regional setting very helpful as a precursor to both events in Brazil.

From my perspective it was clear that some of the opinions of NSOs as expressed during both the European Scout Symposium and European Scout Conference were evident in the debate and final outcomes at the World Scout Conference and to a lesser extent, at the World Scout Youth Forum.

Where I do have sympathy with the comment is that there were several issues that arose during the World Scout Conference itself, where, six months ago they were not forecast for discussion at all. Therefore, preparation on those issues would have been impossible. Our preparation was perhaps limited and reactive, in the sense that we were preparing to react to issues that we knew would be on the agenda or we knew would arise.

European NSOs were well represented at the World Scout Conference. Some would say that they were too well represented, with large numbers being able to influence debate towards a more European way of thinking. Others would say that European NSOs were quite rightly taking a close and active interest in the governance of their Movement.

Looking to the future, we will have the 12th World Scout Youth Forum and 40th World Scout Conference in Slovenia in 2014. We have time to prepare as best as we can for these two gatherings. Between now and then, we will likely have another European Scout Symposium as well as the 21st European Scout Conference in Berlin, Germany in 2013.

To avoid being reactive and limiting preparedness to issues brought forward by the world level or from other Regions or NSOs, I would strongly encourage NSOs in Europe to really start to consider the issues that they would like to proactively see brought forward for discussion in 2014. Perhaps now is the time, whilst memories of Brazil are still fresh, for your delegations that were in Brazil to evaluate what was missing in the debates and discussions that took place, or where you believe deeper consideration is required on world level issues.


Craig Turpie
About The Author

Craig Turpie

Craig comes from the United Kingdom and was Chairman of the European Scout Committee and a Member of the World Scout Committee. He was following the Region's work on Organisational Development. Craig was also a committee contact for Andorra, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia and Spain.

One Response to Preparing for the next World Scout Conference

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