Special World Conference 2021

Results of the Special World Conference

Voting was conducted via the secure online voting portal on ACWW’s website.

105 ballots were received.

46 were from Category 1 Societies

24 were from Category 2 Societies

13 were from Category 3 Societies

13 were from Category 6 Members, from the Board of Trustees

There was 1 Spoiled Ballot

There were 8 Disallowed Ballots (one from an individual member, three from Member Societies who had not paid their dues and so were ineligible to vote, and four from Category 4 Member Societies which do not carry a vote according to the Constitution).

The total number of votes received in favour of the Resolution was 300

The total number of votes received against the Resolution was 4

It should be noted that one Voting Member Society contacted us to say that when they received their voting receipt they realised they had voted against the Resolution in error, and had intended to vote in favour of the Resolution. As a Category 2 Member, they carry 2 votes.

The percentage of votes cast in favour is: 98.6%

As a 75% majority of all votes cast must be in favour of a Resolution seeking to amend the Constitution of ACWW, this Resolution is hereby passed by the Membership of ACWW and the Amendment adopted. The 30th Triennial World Conference will thus be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in May 2023. Thank you to all Member Societies who took the time to engage with this process, and vote on the Website.

Questions asked during Conference Sessions

Have you left enough time to organise the conference?
Yes, the Triennial World Conference Committee, Central Office Staff, and the Hostess Society are all agreed that the timings are sensible, and that the work already undertaken remains fully relevant to a rescheduled conference in 2023.

What happens if the Conference cannot take place in 2023?
ACWW is required by its Constitution to have regular Triennial World Conferences (as the name suggests) and, whilst this Special World Conference seeks to pass a 10 month extension, if by 2022 the situation has not resolved itself sufficiently, the Board of ACWW will have to make different plans to ensure its Consitutional obligations are met. This may include socially-distanced events, digital events, hybrid combinations of both, or other solutions. The Triennial World Conference Committee, Central Office Staff, and the Hostess Society are all agreed that we will do everything possible to ensure that the voices of ACWW members are heard, and that the democratic process is observed as closely and safely as possible. The situation is of course kept under close review, but in line with ACWW policies going back many years, we encourage all members to accept vaccinations as soon as they are offered, knowing that global vaccination and thus immunity will be the fastest path to us all standing together once again.

Do the current Committees continue to serve until the next Triennial World Conference?
Yes, as the Committees are appointed by the Board of Trustees to serve for the Triennium, it is envisaged that Committee Members continue to serve for the extended period. Obviously this is assuming that members are willing, and if any serving members have concerns or queries, they are invited to contact the World President and CEO.

Please confirm that in accordance with Clause 32-3 advice has been sought that the amendment, in these unusual circumstances, is not inconsistent with the provisions of the Charities Act 2011 or the General Regulations (Charitable Incorporated Organisations (General) Regulations 2012)?
The Charity Commission has published guidance on working in extraordinary times. Some charities have cancelled AGMs. As ACWW’s constitution allows for Special World Conferences this was considered the most appropriate method of delaying but not cancelling the 30th Triennial World Conference. The Board took into account what it considered the best interest of the members of the Association and allowed for voting member societies to vote their acceptance or rejection of the proposal.

I note that the Resolution is that the Trustees shall hold office until the next Triannual General Meeting and therefore until May 2023. I note that as a result of various circumstances some of the Trustees are acting in two capacities. Please confirm that the Trustees are not in fact acting in breach of Clauses 15.4.2 and 15.6.3 of the Constitution.
There are two Trustees acting to cover posts and these are not deemed to be in breach of the Clauses cited. This was discussed and approved by the Board as the most appropriate way forward given the conditions in 2020 when both vacancies occurred.

Will we need another vote to allow a hybrid or virtual Triennial World Conference?
No - the reason for the voting at this stage, and the Special World Conference, is that to delay the Triennial World Conference beyond the 42 months allowed in the Constitution requires a temporary Constitutional ammendment. Under the current Constitution, ACWW can hold digital meetings, and indeed physical meetings where attendance is also allowed digitally (the hybrid model - which to an extent was used as far back as 2010 when members were unable to travel due to the Icelandic volcano erruptions), and this does not require any votes or constitutional changes.>/p>

2020 was an extraordinarily difficult year for everyone globally, and ACWW members around the world tried their best to keep moving forward and overcome the challenges they faced. Though 2021 has started with the announcement of various Covid-19 vaccines being approved, these are a long way from global deployment and we have also seen significant increases in infection rates in many countries. To this end, ACWW's Board of Trustees met on Tuesday 12 January 2021 and passed the following resolution:

“The Board of Trustees calls for a Special World Conference to be convened in line with the Constitution of the Associated Country Women of the World (clause 11.5.2 (a) and (b)), to be held on or about 15 April 2021, with a minimum of 90 days’ notice duly given to Voting Member Societies in Categories 1, 2, and 3. This Special World Conference will discuss a resolution postponing the 30th Triennial World Conference beyond the statutory 42 months, given the current global pandemic of Covid-19 and its impacts on all nations and Member Societies. This resolution will be presented to the Conference and to all Member Societies in advance of the opening of the Special World Conference”

Therefore, a Special World Conference will be convened via digital video conference on Saturday 17 April 2021, lasting for 7 days. During this period, a series of Zoom meetings will be held to allow as many Members as possible to engage with the process. Full details of voting procedures will be circulated to all Voting Member Societies in due course. The Special World Conference will consider a single Resolution, which is presented below:

"In light of the unprecedented uncertainties of 2021, specifically in respect of the global Covid-19 Pandemic, it is resolved to:

a) Reschedule the 30th Triennial World Conference from May 2022 to May 2023, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In order for this to be enacted, the following Constitutional Amendment is required:

i) The following section of Clause 11.1.1, “…Triennial World Conferences must be held at intervals of not more than 42 months” be suspended, and the following text be inserted: “…Triennial World Conferences must be held at intervals of not more than 52 months”

ii) The amendment in i) above be rescinded at the close of the 30th Triennial World Conference”

Additional Information: Whereas all nations and Member Societies have been affected by the current Covid-19 Pandemic, and noting both the disruptions to international travel and inherent risk to the health of our Members, the Board of Trustees recommends to the Special World Conference that the period between Triennial World Conferences be extended from 42 months to 52 months, allowing the 30th Triennial World Conference to take place 1 year later than initially planned, in May 2023. Accordingly, this resolution would also extend the term of service of the current Board of Trustees until the 30th Triennial World Conference. This temporary Constitutional Amendment would cease to hold effect after the 30th Triennial World Conference, whereupon the usual 42 month interval would apply. The 31st Triennial World Conference would thus be held in 2026.

Note: Note that the Board elected in April 2019 will continue to hold office until the end of the 30th Triennial World Conference. (clause 15.6.2 ‘A Trustee shall hold office until the next Triennial General Meeting, where she shall retire unless she ceases to be a Trustee at an earlier date under clause 18’).

Notes and Documents

Download a PDF copy of the ACWW Constitution hereDownload the Constitution

Download a PDF copy of the Notice and Resolution hereDownload the Notice