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WOSM’s Action on Environmental Sustainability

Over the decades, the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) has built members’ awareness of environmental issues through the youth program, and encouraged members to take action at home and abroad. We’re pleased to share the latest on WOSM’s commitments to tackling their climate impacts and other environmental issues. 


Building on the efforts of a Youth Adviser to the World Scout Committee, Scouts Australia put forward Conference Resolution 2017-10 to the 41st World Scout Conference in Azerbaijan calling for more action on environmental sustainability. While Scouting had embedded it into the youth program, there were a number of opportunities for more action in events and practices, especially in regards to climate action (SDG 13). The resolution was seconded by a number of NSOs, and was resoundingly adopted at the Conference. 

Since then, the World Scout Committee has been hard at work delivering their commitments in the 2017-20 Triennial Plan, from the 2017 Conference, and more recently in Growing Stronger Together – WOSM’s Plan for 2020-2021. Scouts Australia also been working on action on sustainability at national, Branch and local levels as outlined in our Sustainability Strategy & Action Plan, and the initiatives outlined on our website. 

In April 2021, Ahmad Alhendawi, the WOSM Secretary General, released an update on World Scouting’s actions over the last triennium to respond to Conference Resolution 2017-10, addressing the need to measure the impact and strengthen environmental sustainability at all levels of the Scout Movement. 

As outlined in the update, research has been undertaken to better understand WOSM’s environmental impact and to form the basis for World Scouting’s future efforts in measuring and increasing its environmental sustainability measures. The outcomes are presented in the report, Understanding WOSM’s environmental impact: baseline study and recommendations for improvement. 

A major recommendation from this report is for World Scouting to create a system to monitor the environmental impact of its operations, drawing on this to develop a climate impact strategy for WOSM with action plans and measurable goals. The World Scout Committee has put this recommendation forward as Draft Resolution 2021-H to the World Scout Conference this year, with background provided in Conference Document 12. 

As previous requests for action to guide the sustainability of events were not yet realised, Resolution 2017-10 also called for actions to address the environmental impact of events. This will now be supported through the new Guidelines for organising sustainable events for all event organisers across the Scout Movement 

There has also been a strengthening of environmental education opportunities through the launch of the Earth Tribe (replacing the World Scout Environment Program), and updated guidelines for the worldwide network of Scout Centres of Excellence for Nature, Environment and Sustainability (SCENES). 

Ahmad Alhendawi, WOSM’s Secretary General shared in the update: 

“I am pleased to note that our Movement continues its efforts to address the worldwide urgency to protect the environment and address the climate crisis. Despite the compounded challenges of this last period, the undeniable fact is that the world is facing an existential threat to the global climate and biodiversity.  
The focus on environmental action should continue to be a priority, and our Movement has the ethical and moral responsibility to champion environmental sustainability and climate action. We look forward to building together on the progress we have made, and to accelerate it further in the coming period.” 

Scouts Australia would like to thank Ahmad, Hany Abdulmonem (Global Director, Scouting Development) and his team, as well as all the many WOSM volunteers who have put great work into developing these resources. We look forward to continuing to champion action on sustainability, and hope that all Scouts draw on these resources to continue doing their bit as part of the #Scouts4SDGs movement. 


WOSM's Action on Envionrmental Sustainability Scouts Around Campfire