President´s Report 2013
The President’s written report is an introduction to the oral report at the General Assembly and should be seen in connection with the “ISCA Annual Report 2013” and “ISCA 2012-2013 Priorities”.
A world of people building better societies through cultures of movement
We build international relations between people, cultures, organisations and sectors. Seeing sport as a culture of movement, we develop opportunities for learning, inspiration and action to induce social change.
- ISCA Philosophy is very much alive and still very much needed
- Pandemic of Inactivity
- Analysis and research are valuable – but practice is “King”
- Center for innovation and communication of practices to Moving People
- Members as focus and resource
- The Executive Committee work and tasks
ISCA Philosophy is very much alive and still very much needed
The ISCA philosophy, vision and mission strongly indicate that we believe in the cultures of movement, be it sport, recreational physical activities and not least the people and associations that makes it happen. We believe that these elements can contribute to improve citizens lives and to creating better societies.
Our way of creating these personal and organizational developments goes through an open, friendly cooperation between people and associations and advocacy for our idea.
In a bigger perspective this philosophy and not least the way of working through open and friendly cooperation, is clearly the most successful model for development – unfortunately we in other spheres of society see the lack of openness and friendly cooperation and its consequences.
The ISCA philosophy that everybody has a right to participate in sport and recreational physical activities is still very much needed. Because, unfortunately it is still the reality for many citizens in the world, that access to and fair motivation to be part of a physical active community, club and family, is not an option.
That is not fair!
It is not fair from a human perspective and it is not fair from a Human Right perspective.
Fundamental Human Rights are the obligation of the states. States and their governments are the “duty-bearer” of the Human Right. Beside the states as “duty-bearer” of the Fundamental Human Rights the idealistic not-for-profit organisations, like ISCA and the members of ISCA, have its responsibility, as so-called “moral duty-bearer” in Human Right terms.
Our vision and mission illustrate that we are aware of and committed to this responsibility and it is my clear impression that ISCA member organisations and their thousands of volunteers and employers are committed and deliver strong contributions in order to give citizens – from children to elderly – a fair option to be part of a physical active community.
That is very good and encouraging!
The bad part of this story is that, we are still some way from achieving the ultimate goal, that all citizens have access to and fair motivation to be physical active.
Pandemic of Inactivity
Last year the renowned medical journal “The Lancet” published a series of articles on the Pandemic of Inactivity. The authors of these very relevant articles are all experienced researchers from various cultures and continents and with very competent knowledge from both the medical perspective as well as the prevention perspective. However, when they introduced the term Pandemic of Inactivity the editors of The Lancet did not accept this dramatic medical term.
Despite years of acknowledging that inactivity is the fourth leading death risk identified by the World Health Organisation. Despite tons of knowledge that support the fact that inactivity and inactivity related behavior and illnesses have grown significantly over the last decade the editors of the medical sector journal The Lancet were reluctant to describe the situation as a Pandemic of Inactivity.
However, when the authors of the articles on physical inactivity put forward the agreed definition of a pandemic – it seems clear that this is exactly the reality and it should be named and treated as such.
A pandemic can be defined as "An epidemic occurring worldwide or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries, and usually affecting a large number of people."
However, identifying and naming a huge challenge is not the same as solving it. Understanding, describing and speaking about the challenge of inactivity is fine – but doing something about it is much better.
Analysis and research are valuable – but practice is “King”
It is my clear impression that quite a bit more knowledge on the many positive sides of physical activity and the strong negative aspects of inactivity has been produced over the last years. That is good.
It is also my general impression that at various political levels and in various societal sectors, the knowledge about these positive and negative factors is widely accepted. That is good too.
However, the crucial point is what do we do about it? How do the various political levels and various societal sectors react to these well-known facts?
For sure we know that there is not necessarily a direct relation between knowing what is best and doing what is best. Knowledge does not necessarily lead to action.
Knowledge, research, theoretical analysis are all important tools to communicate to and hopefully convince decision makers to act and to convince “duty-bearers” to create the framework for access to physical activity, sport and exercise.
However, out there where ISCA members engage with the citizens, Out there where access to and fair motivation to be part of a physical active community is created and produced. Out there practice is “king”.
Center for innovation and communication of practices to moving people
A few years ago we asked several Presidents of our member organisations, what they saw as their biggest organisational challenge. The answer was clear. The biggest challenge was to develop activities, which are attractive and motivating to the “customers”/ citizens /members.
Innovative and trendy ideas and practical activities to present and offer the citizens are a need and a must nowadays.
This is a challenge and a focal point for ISCA as well. Our priority should reflect these needs of our members and of the society. And there is a big need for innovative good practices.
It is my clear impression that we should have identification, innovation and not least communication of good practices very high on our agenda the coming years. We should seek to identify and assist innovation of local and national good practices and make sure these practices do not stay as “national secrets”, but are spread and communicated in a motivating way.
When we run projects where practices are identified and even developed, we shall seek to spread and communicate them in a motivating way.
When we run campaigns which include examples of practices, we shall seek that these are spread and communicated in motivating way that inspire and assist to actions.
I believe we have sharpened this focus the last year. We have tried to focus on very concrete ways of transforming knowledge into practical tools and templates in various fields of running not-for-profit organisations in our field.
Some examples are:
- Precise advice and suggested national political actions before the 5th Meeting for Sport and Education Ministers (MINEPS V)
- Development of an on-line tool for self assessment of good governance in your organisations (Good Governance in Grassroots Sport project)
- Identifying and preparing communication of 150 good practices for actions towards less privileged groups (MOVE Project)
These are good steps in the right direction and I strongly believe that ISCA should continue and strengthen this work. I strongly believe that we should focus on ways to identify, innovate and not least communicate modern and trendy practices, which lead to national and local actions.
I believe we should strive to be the center for innovation and communication of practices to moving people!
Members as focus and resource
We often say that, “ISCA is the members and the members are ISCA”. I believe it is a good expression, which underline some of the central characteristics of a member based and governed organisation like ISCA. However, it is not the whole story. Just like the respective member organisations who live in a complex societal environment with many other stakeholders – so do ISCA.
ISCA clearly should have an internal priority towards the members. ISCA is the members, but we also need to have a significant external orientation towards strategic partners.
At this General Assembly we will discuss both the internal perspective and the external opportunities.
Some of the internal questions are:
- What are the contributions from members – financial and human resources?
- What are the status of the ISCA members – how active are the various members?
- What are benefits from being an ISCA member? – are needs and expectations in line with services and member contributions?
The situation is that we are doing a very good job in providing external resources, but not as good in raising internal resources. It is of course very positive that we have success to engage with external partners, which consider us as relevant trustworthy partners. But we need to be aware of the balance.
The external resources are linked to our level of activity – including the member’s commitment, profile and contributions.
We need to discuss the increasing external engagements and the benefit from developing strategic external partnerships – and not least the interaction and balance between the internal and external contributions, engagement and priorities.
The Executive Committee work and tasks
The Executive Committee is through the General Assembly given the day to day political leadership of ISCA.
Besides being the political leadership the Executive Committee is a strategic forum where experiences, trends and challenges for the sectors influencing on and relating to grassroots sport and physical activity are discussed among an international group of experts. Executive Committees main tasks are defined as:
1/ Strategic organisational decisions. This include activity and resource priority as well as structural decisions
2/Advocacy - The Executive Committee is advocating for adequate attention to the grassroots sport and physical activity sectors towards members and external relations.
3/Guidelines for and collaboration with the secretariat
The Executive Committee meets at least twice a year beside the Congress and General Assembly. Since last year we have held two Executive Committee meetings. Between meetings various tasks can be delegated to the individual Committee members - often in collaboration with the secretariat.
Among the President and two Vice Presidents, we practice what we call a Shared Leadership. The Shared Leadership principle is that the Vice Presidents are involved in and discussing the political issues with the President in order to keep a political balance between a full-time President and volunteer part time Vice Presidents and Committee members. It means that there are regular communication between the group of Presidents and skype meeting every 3-4 weeks.
Beside this there is a dialogue from the President to the Executive Committee once a week – every Friday – where the so-called “Friday Mail from the President” debates a political topic within our sector.
At the General Assembly the two year term of the Presidents and Members conclude and we are going to elect a President, two Vice Presidents and five Members for the coming two years.
I would like to use this occasion to thank the Executive Committee including the Continental chairpersons for your openness, efforts and contributions the last two years. It has been a pleasure.
I would like to thank all ISCA members who have been active and contributed during the last year and last but not least BIG THANKS to the Secretary General and our motivated colleagues at the secretariat.
Thank you! Moving People
Kindest regards, Mogens Kirkeby, President