Covid-19 Briefing and Recommendations – World YMCA

Date: 05 March 2020

Current Status

At this moment the CoVid-19 has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization and has affected over 60 countries all over the world. Several clusters have formed not just in Asia, but also in Europe and the Middle East, which are rapidly spreading the virus in several communities.

 The World YMCA team is concerned and actively monitoring this developing situation on a daily basis. We highly appreciate the efforts taken by YMCA’s around the world in taking measures to protect the staff, board members and other stakeholders. The health and safety of our participants and members is our highest priority and will guide all our actions during this crisis. 

 For the latest information on the development of the COVID-19 virus and appropriate safety measures please check the WHO’s website at, as well as your regional and national travel alerts and health briefings.

 How is the World YMCA affected and responding

 As with most international organizations all over the world, currently the COVID-19 situation is also affecting the World YMCA directly. As of today, there are the following developments:


  • The Executive Committee March meeting of the World YMCA has been cancelled and will take place through digital means in an adapted format. 
  • The Commission for the Status of Women event at the United Nations has been cancelled and the World YMCA delegation (4 members) will not attend anymore. Compensatory digital measures are being taken and an active involvement in further gender equality events throughout the year will be pursued.
  • The ECOSOC Youth Forum is currently at risk of being postponed and our delegation (20+ members) might have to change travel plans. Measures will be put forward to limit the financial impact of this move.
  • World YMCA staff is facing cancelled business meetings and events, as well as a logistical and administrative fallout caused by the epidemic;
  • Area Alliances regional meetings are at risk of being postponed or cancelled, as well as other global events currently in planning, but a decision will be taken accordingly;

At the moment no other planned meetings are at risk of being cancelled or postponed. We will update this as needed.

The following measures are currently being taken by the World YMCA to respond to this crisis:

  • Daily monitoring of the situation and risk assessments on future activities, including travel;
  • Limiting non-essential travel for our staff and other internal stakeholders, especially in affected areas;
  • Following WHO’s advisory on taking the required preventive measures for individual and collective protection;
  • Building contingency plans for limiting the risks and effects of various events cancellations outside our control, including rescheduling or compensating activities, as well as possible compensation for highly affected participants;


Recommendations for National Movements

 As the COVID-19 is affecting an increasingly higher number of communities all over the world, we recommend the YMCA National Movements to:


  • Actively monitor the developing situation in your country, as well as your region, following national/regional health briefings;
  • Organise meetings with your staff members to collectively assess the risks and the appropriate measures that should be taken;
  • Identify areas where the YMCA can possibly support the community during the crisis;
  • Widely disseminate the preventive measures recommended by the WHO’s advisory (which would be beneficial not just for the COVID-19, but also for other seasonal respiratory illnesses);
  • Encourage your staff to work remotely or stay at home if they have flu-like symptoms;
  • Inform your participants/beneficiaries of the existing risks and preventive measures. In the case of international travel (e.g for learning mobilities), check if there are force majeure clauses that can be activated in your case, especially for traveling in affected areas.
  •  Encourage a critical assessment of the developing situation based on facts, in order to avoid the spread of unnecessary panic


Please inform the World YMCA at your earliest convenience in the following cases:


  1.   If your staff or direct beneficiaries have been infected with COVID-19 (confirmed cases). In this case please also update us on the development of these cases.
  2. If your YMCA is heavily affected by the ongoing epidemic and how your team is responding to mitigate the consequences.


 World YMCA stands in solidarity with all affected communities and YMCA’s around the world and is committed to offer a firm and robust response in face of the growing epidemic to ensure the health and safety of our stakeholders.