The drowning prevention experts of the world assembled at the International Conference Centre, Durban this morning for the formal Opening Ceremony of the WCDP 2019 Conference.
Following the opening addresses, which included Sam Ramsamy, IOC Honorary Member and Vice President of FINA, who, as a former surf lifeguard in Durban, spoke movingly about the links between the IOC and the humanitarian work of the ILS in Drowning Prevention, the delegates were well entertained by the excellent St Mary’s School Choir.
The ILS President, Graham Ford AM, then addressed the audience to welcome more than 520 delegates from 64 countries to the event in Durban, before he declared WCDP 2019 open. The ceremony concluded with the choir performing a special version of the ILS Anthem, Stand Inside the Circle.
The opening plenary session which set out the current position on drowning prevention in the world was led by Dr David Meddings, from the World Health Organisation, the co-sponsor of the event, to set out the global position, before Dr Olive Kobusingye highlighted the position across the continent of Africa. Dr Colleen Saunders brought the opening session to a close by focusing how drowning prevention now looks in the host country of South Africa.
The conference continues with 200 speaker presentations over three days, and 120 posters will also be presented in the Exhibition Hall where 20 commercial partner trade stands are open.