At the recent ILS Board of Directors Meeting on 19th September 2020 a decision was taken to reschedule the World Conference on Drowning Prevention (WCDP) planned for October 2021 in Colombo, Sri Lanka to October 2023.
Despite some intensive work between the ILS and the WCDP 2021 Local Organising Committee of Sri Lanka Life Saving (SLLS) to consider different alternative options for hosting the event safely during the current global Covid-19 pandemic, it became evident that it would not be viable to continue to hold it at the planned time for a variety of reasons.
Even one month on from the Board meeting the Covid-19 position has deteriorated further in many countries and rather than reducing the numbers becoming infected, a strong second wave of infection appears to be sweeping around the world. Many nations are experiencing alarming increases and are introducing stricter measures to try to contain it, including national border restrictions, and stricter lockdown and social distancing measures.
Since the process of inviting potential speakers and presenters to submit abstracts for consideration needed to start no later than this month, the ILS Board of Directors agreed that there was no option but to reschedule WCDP 2021. Because of the rescheduling of the Lifesaving World Championships of 2020 to 2022, also due to Covid-19, the only viable option is to move to 2023.
However, in order to postpone WCDP 2021 to 2023, the ILS had first to discuss the impact of this with the planned hosts of WCDP 2023 in Marrakech, Morocco. Following discussions with their President, Dr Mohamed Ali Gharbal, PhD, the Board of Directors of the Fédération Royale Marocaine de Sauvetage (FRMS) has graciously agreed to move the planned WCDP 2023 event in Marrakech to 2025, to allow the WCDP 2021 event to be rescheduled to October 2023.
The ILS welcomes the decision of the FRMS to support the ILS and their colleagues in Sri Lanka. It is also greatly appreciated and acknowledged by the President of SLLS, Asanka Nanyakkara and the WCDP 2021 LOC Co-Chair, Sanath Wijayaratne.
It is expected that WCDP 2023 will be held from 8th to 10th October 2023 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Further announcements will be made when the precise date is confirmed.