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Policy on Public Statements

Advocating For Leisure

As part of its mandate World Leisure advocates for leisure as a means for improving the quality of life for all. Beyond mere polemics however, position statements issued by the Association are based upon reasoned evidence and informed opinion. To preserve the integrity of its several public statements, The World Leisure Board of Directors has created a policy in designed especially for that purpose.

Policy and Guidelines for World Leisure Public Statements

The object of this policy is to provide a framework for the creation, adoption, and dissemination of World Leisure's views in its areas of competency, for the purpose of public information or advocacy.

Purpose of Public Statements

World Leisure is a world-wide, non-governmental, voluntary organization dedicated to discovering and fostering those conditions which permit leisure to serve as a force to optimize collective and individual well-being. As an extension of its mission, World Leisure may, from time to time, choose to publicly express its views on new initiatives, current events, or social issues that have implications for leisure. Put into a document form, these expressed views serve as a communication tool to promote either the Association's ideologies, causes, or programs, or to position itself vis-à-vis issues, practices, or public policies. These Public Statements are expressions of fundamental beliefs, as perceived by World Leisure, which are directed toward its stakeholders, partners, clients, policy makers, or the general public.

For example, when the United Nations or other world organizations declare a particular year to a cause or a special segment of the population, World Leisure may adopt a specific position with regard to leisure and recreation as it relates to the declaration and may wish to communicate its intention in the form of a Public Statement.

Types of Public Statements

Depending on the intent, and to some extent the target audience, World Leisure may approve different types of Public Statements, each with its own characteristics and implementation procedures. They include "Position Papers," "Declarations," "Charters," "Covenants," "Conventions," and any other forms of written statements that World Leisure may wish to officially adopt and use to affirm its beliefs. They can be distinguished as follows:

A. Position Paper
A position paper is a written document aimed at defining and communicating the beliefs, perspectives or attitudes of World Leisure in one of its domains of competency. It is an official informed opinion that emerges from a theoretical or empirical basis. It is not simply the description of a phenomenon or a list of objectives, nor is it the result of a research study or a set of recipes for program development. A position paper is a way of looking at things.

B. Declaration
A declaration is a statement in response to a significant public issue, usually of ethical or moral importance, flowing from deliberations within larger forums, such as a regional or world conference or summit. It is a collective statement of beliefs or principles which is agreed by a specific audience following formal motions. Usually, a declaration begins with a preamble which identifies a set of conditions ("Where as..."), followed by a series of resolutions ("Be it resolved that..."). 

C. Charter
A charter identifies, recognizes and proclaims certain conditions to be the right or privilege of an individual or a collective. It is the most solemn written statement in which the Association can affirm its most fundamental beliefs. It is an official agreement on what is believed to be morally right or wrong.

D. Convention
A convention (or a covenant) is an operational application of some basic principles or beliefs. It is a formal agreement between parties, sometimes involving several nations, who promise to pursue similar goals and take appropriate actions. It is a signed document that binds the parties to respect the terms of the agreement which include the mode of operation or a standard of procedure between the parties. Monitoring and compliance mechanisms are often part of the agreement to assess the impact of the convention.

Note: A Press Release is also a public statement. It is a brief statement that, at times, can be used to highlight a larger World Leisure Public Statement, but it is also a tool for the Association to rapidly respond to a situation or to convey other matters, in a format other than the above Public Statements. For efficiency reasons, it is excluded from the procedures of this policy but remains under the responsibility of the Executive Committee of World Leisure.

Guidelines and Criteria

Since Public Statements are expressions of the Association's ethos, and by definition, expose the convictions of its members to a wider audience, appropriate mechanisms shall be in place which will satisfy the Board and the membership that any such expressions are not only consistent with the goals of the Association, but also in a form expected to be most effective. Therefore, the formulation and approval of all Public Statements shall occur in accordance with guidelines and criteria approved by the Board and reviewed from time to time. 

1. Content and Format of Public Statements

Normally, a Public Statement is a short document. It is sometimes summarized in one page for press releases. However, the full text should include the following elements:

  1. Cover page with a descriptive title and appropriate identification (auspices, sponsor, author, date, venue if appropriate)
  2. Objectives and scope of the Public Statement
  3. Targeted audiences
  4. Background to the situation, sometimes in the form of "Where as..."
  5. Summary of principles, beliefs, informed opinions
  6. Implications for leisure policies, practices, and programs
  7. Recommendations, if appropriate, and proposed courses of action ("Be it resolved that..."
  8. Reference list, if appropriate
  9. For Covenants and Conventions:
    - terms and conditions of the agreement 
    - signatories and official seals

When opinions or claims are stated, they should always be substantiated. If some material is borrowed to support some facts or beliefs, acknowledgement of the sources must be provided.

The document should be written in simple style and free from professional jargon and technical terms. 

2. Criteria for Adoption

A proposed World Leisure Public Statement should meet the following criteria:

  1. Address matters directly related to the mandate and current priorities of World Leisure
  2. Rely on current and substantial theory, research, and informed opinion
  3. Reflect world or regional perspectives
  4. Possess sustainable relevancy
  5. Reflect, where appropriate, World Leisure's commitment to democracy, access and inclusion, gender equity, cultural diversity, sustainable development, and environmental protection.

3. Development and Adoption Process

  1. The formulation of a World Leisure Public Statement may be initiated by any of the various components of the Association (members, commissions, task forces, congress program committee, the Board, etc.)
  2. Those intending to produce a World Leisure Public Statement shall inform the Secretary General, who in turn will supply the initiator with a copy of the Policy on World Leisure Public Statements.
  3. Review of most current literature and consultation of most reputable experts on the subject must be evident.
  4. Public Statements arising from Commissions, Congresses, Program Centres, or other World Leisure constituencies, shall seek the participation and the endorsement of their members or audiences.
  5. Before its release, a proposed World Leisure Public Statement must be submitted to the Board of Directors, via the Secretary General, in accordance with the established timetable for setting the agenda of regular Board meetings.
  6. Ultimately a World Leisure Public Statement is deemed adopted only when approved at a Board of Directors Meeting, by 2/3 of those present.
  7. If judged necessary, the Executive Committee may approve and release a World Leisure Public Statement and have it ratified at the next meeting of the Board of Directors.
  8. If the Board judges that a proposed Public Statement does not fully meet the conditions set in this policy or that it needs some amendments, the proposed Statement will be returned to the initiators for revision.
  9. At the discretion of the Board of Directors, a Public Statement may also be ceremoniously ratified at an Annual General Meeting.

4. Publication and Dissemination

  1. The final document, once officially adopted, should be produced in an appealing written and electronic format with designs and illustrations where appropriate.
  2. Provision should be made for translations of World Leisure Public Statements into languages other than the original. Attempts should be made to cover some or all of the six U. N. official languages.
  3. For each Public Statement, a dissemination plan should be developed, identifying the strategy for each targeted audience.
  4. As a minimum, any new Public Statement, should be published in World Leisure Journal and Newsletter and displayed on World Leisure Web Site. Efforts should also be made to have a new statement published in relevant professional and academic journals. When appropriate, it should be sent to UNESCO and other world organizations.
  5. As well, it should be available in a print form (booklet or folder) and available at World Leisure headquarters, at regional and national associate member organizations, and other appropriate locations.

5. Review

World Leisure Board is responsible for initiating a review of all its Public Statements, from time to time, and for deciding on their status. Each statement shall be rated as either "currently relevant," "in need of revision," or "obsolete." 

6. Record Keeping

World Leisure Secretariat is responsibility for maintaining a book of Public Statements and other public documents adopted by World Leisure Board of Directors.

Major World Leisure Position Statements

Charter for Leisure

São Paulo Declaration on Leisure and Globalization

Position Statements on Leisure Education

Quebec Declaration 

We Foster Inquiry

Research and scholarship to discover the personal and social potentialities of leisure experiences.

We Engage in Informed Advocacy

By advocating for conditions optimizing leisure experiences: legislation, infastructure, leadership and programming.