World YMCA today confirmed that – having reviewed many factors in the light of the Covid pandemic – the In Person component of the 20th YMCA World Council meeting in Aarhus on 3-9 July can, should and will go ahead.
“We move forward with great excitement and anticipation, and have thus far received over 700 registrations for the physical meeting, alongside over 900 for the online meeting”, said World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Sanvee.
Mr Sanvee explained that his team are monitoring the situation closely, and taking into account two main considerations:
The Covid situation
The first priority of the In Person meeting is health and safety, and systems are in place to ensure this. The World Council Team has ruled that vaccination is mandatory for the event, with globally accepted vaccines (Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson – Janssen Pharmaceutical, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novavax, Covishield, Covaxin, Sinovac, Sinopharm). Meanwhile YMCA continues to follow the Danish Government Guidelines for entering Denmark.
The World Council Team is putting in place Covid tests on arrival, and will implement testing throughout the week if necessary. Mask-wearing will be voluntary, but it may become obligatory – either way, masks will be provided by the event team. The Aarhus hotels and the conference centre all follow the Danish health authorities’ advice, and provide hand sanitisers in all public spaces. The conference centre space will be managed to ensure distancing and to avoid crowding.
“We feel that these measures – and potential new measures – will satisfy the primary concern of participants, that the event be as ‘Covid-safe’ as possible”, said Mr Sanvee.
Representation for all
It has always been a World Council priority that – as far as possible – the whole YMCA Movement be present and represented in Aarhus, and that all YMCAs (large and small, from every continent) have equal access to the event and equal importance within it.
Within the 700+ people so far registered for the In Person event, all of the YMCA regions are decently represented: Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East, North America. A successful World Council information webinar on 9 February revealed great positivity from all regions, and we have witnessed increased registrations as a result.
“Thanks to continuing financial support from some Local and National YMCA Movements, World YMCA and other YMCA partners, we are able to go even further towards reaching the goal of ‘representation for all’. This financial support is especially targeted at encouraging young delegates to attend in person”, said Mr Sanvee.
“We have not taken this decision lightly, and will continue to monitor all of these situations, above all that of Covid. Yet our overarching feeling is one of excitement, and confidence that the conditions are falling into place for this great event in our global Movement’s calendar.”
For a full update, see World Council News #4, published 18 February.