- Email about the Executive Board Decision on the General Assembly March Meeting 22 format
Content of the email:
- Decision Making Process and details about:
- Number of in-person delegates to be allowed in MM22 in North Macedonia
- Repartition of fees
- How the format will look like
- COVID-19 and safety measures
- Contingency Plan
- Way forward about MM22
We hope this email finds you well.
With this email, we would like to inform you about our decision regarding the format of the 71st General Assembly March Meeting 2022.
When we announced our first decision on the 21st of October to have a hybrid IFMSA General Assembly, we promised you that a final decision on the number of in- delegates and the format will be communicated to you by December 5th, 2021. Before our final decision, we would like to shed some light on the process that we have followed, that was done of course in collaboration with the Organizing Committee, for which we would also like to express our deepest gratitude for all their efforts, collaboration and flexibility throughout the past months.
Our decision making process was the following:
- Consulting NMOs and gathering input on GA format and number of delegates to attend in person: which was a clear indicator that NMOs wanted a hybrid GA with more numbers than the ones that were allowed in AM21 Panama.
- Consulting IFMSA Board of Recommendation: the general recommendation was to organise a hybrid GA to include accessibility and to maximize participation in decision making.
- Consulting the Team of Officials: the general recommendation was to host a hybrid GA with 8 in-person delegates but with fears and concerns on possibility to have hybrid SC sessions
From these steps, we have made our first decision to host a hybrid General Assembly with 2 in-person delegates for presidents sessions and plenary, and to explore hybrid SC and NMO management sessions by December 5th.
- Drafting a hybrid proposal for presidents sessions and plenaries and making sure that it’s a proposal that is feasible and achievable to the OC.
- Consulting Standing Committee Directors and gathering their input on hybrid SC sessions in order to draft a proposal that is feasible for SCDs, members and the OC.
- Exploring possibilities of registration fees, and coming up with a formula that is financially sustainable for the OC and for the delegates.
- Regularly checking the COVID-19 news and reports from reliable sources and creating a safety plan to make sure that the event is accessible and of course safe for all delegates
- Planning a contingency plan for the event, should the COVID-19 situation become complicated again and the event becomes impossible to be hosted.
After completing all of these steps, the EB had an EBM today to make a final decision, and here are the outcomes of our EBM:
Format of the GA and number of allowed in-person delegates:
The General Assembly March Meeting 22 will be held in a hybrid format with the following number of in-person delegates:
- 8 in-person delegates per NMO – the total number of delegates should be 16.
- EB, TO, SupCo
- Plenary team and CCC
- As per sessions teams and support teams – to be out of NMO quota:
- 2-3 Presidents sessions support team
- 2 support persons for VPA, VPF, VPE and VPPRC for a total of 8 to help with the logistics and support in the relevant tasks and events.
- 2 support person for each RD for a total of 10 to help with the logistics and support in regional sessions
- 8 session team members for each of the SC sessions and NMO managements sessions for a total of 56
After many discussions with the OC and with the assistance of SupCo, we have reached the following formula:
- 8 in person delegates : 4 early and 4 late.
In order to make sure that the maximum number of spots are filled, and to ensure financial sustainability of the OC, we agreed to allow NMOs to take the extra in- person spots that are left from the NMOs that won’t be able to fill in their in-person delegations. This however will not change the fact that the maximum number of delegates per NMO is 16 (in person and online included). We will discuss this in detail with the OC and the registration procedures will be communicated to you on December 15th when the late registration is open.
- 2-3 Presidents sessions support team: 2 early and 1 late.
- 2 support persons for VPA, VPF, VPE and VPPRC for a total of 8: 1 early and 1 late for each for a total of 4 early and 4 late
- 2 support person for each RD for a total of 10: 1 early and 1 late for each for a total of 5 early and 5 late
- 8 session team members for each of the SC sessions and NMO management sessions for a total of 56: 4 early and 4 late for each and for a total of 28 early and 28 late. The sessions team members include International Assistants and Program Coordinators and it will be up to the Official in charge.
- Presidents sessions and plenaries:
The president’s sessions and plenaries will be held in a hybrid format where all the participants will have access to the same agenda and join simultaneously either in-person or online. We have identified a set of equipment that will help us facilitate this process and which the OC has agreed to providing.
We believe that it will be easy to implement this approach due to the static nature of these sessions. We will share with you more details on the participation methods through the Presidents sessions concept note, survival kit and plenary guidelines.
- Standing Committee sessions:
Due to their dynamic nature, we believe that it is unrealistic to plan the same sessions and approach for both in-person and online participants, and expect for everyone to have the same level of outcomes afterwards. Thus, we went from the principle of: if we can’t bring both worlds together in the same sessions, why don’t we bring the GA to both worlds through different sessions.
And after discussions and consultations with SCDs and their teams, we agreed that the Standing Committee and NMO management sessions will happen from the 1st to the 7th March, for both in-person and online participants, but both will have different sessions to attend. The in-person sessions will be planned according to the usual GA agenda, and the online ones will be planned in days and times that are suitable for all timezones.
And regarding the overall format, It is important to note the following:
- The number of fully online sessions will not be as long as the in-person ones due to the challenges of online engagement and the need to have outcomes based sessions in GAs, and that is reduced to 6 hours in total, including the SC/ CB plenaries that will also be fully online.
- However, online participants will be able to join the in-person participants in their respective SC/NMO management opening and closing sessions.
- There will be an online platform for all participants, regardless of their participation status, for networking and socialising purposes.
We are currently in the process of making the agenda. It will be finalised during TOM2 and shared with NMOs afterwards.
COVID-19 and safety measures
The safety of the delegates is the most important priority to the EB and the OC in making this event. We are very much aware of all the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic that we have been monitoring closely.
And for this, we have been discussing a safety plan that includes the following:
- Testings upon arrival and during the event.
- A plan of action in case a positive case is discovered during the event.
- Other measures to make an event a safety bubble for all delegates.
After all these discussions, we decided to create a committee that will play the role of an advisory body, and that will be responsible for making research, following-up on COVID-19 updates and providing recommendations to the EB and the OC on what measures to implement. For now, the committee is made of the IFMSA President (EB CP), SupCo member Elina Osi (SupCo CP), Mohamed Eissa (LPH), and an assigned member of the MM22 OC. The committee is subject to grow in the upcoming weeks.
This committee will work in the current month on finalising the COVID-19 safety plan that will be shared with NMOs. But we kindly inform you to expect some extra expenses related to COVID-19 testing. We are trying our best to make this plan a financially sustainable one for all members, but for now we believe that if any expenses should arise and be asked from NMOs, they shouldn’t exceed 20 euros per delegate.
As you all know, it is still very difficult to predict what the COVID-19 Pandemic situation will look like in March 2022. Especially now that a new variant has been discovered and with many new lockdowns installed around the world.
This is why we are working on a contingency plan that we will be ready to switch to should it be impossible to organise this GA in the format that we want.
For now, the deadline for any cancellation without hurting the OC financially is January 31st, 2021. Until then, the EB will work on the contingency plan in parallel and will keep observing and monitoring the COVID-19 situation and assessing all the possibilities and risks through the COVID-19 committee so that we will be able to have a sustainable GA regardless of the development of the pandemic and the GA format. But please keep in mind that this deadline is subject to change according to any financial commitments that the OC will have to make in the future.
We hope that these new details give you more clarity and ease to proceed with selecting your delegates and to prepare for the March Meeting 2022.
The next registration will be open on December 15th, The OC will inform you then on how to register your new delegates and how you will be able to separate the early and late. The OC will also inform you on how to exchange spots in case it’s possible at the end of the registration and all relevant deadlines.
As per the COVID-19 safety plan and any related expenses, we will communicate more details to you as soon as the plan is made and finalised.