World Congress moved forward.
The Zone Reps write: It was decided that the World Congress will NOT take place in January 2024 as we have not yet received the permit from the Central Government. We can not take the risk that members start arranging their travels for January, and then Congress needs to be postponed after all.
After a rich discussion about all the various options (e.g., compact world congress complemented by area gatherings like Assisi; different dates; different locations, etc.) and following the recommendation of the WCOT team, the Zone Reps have instructed Suyono, WSA Executive Chair, to advise us by the end of October 2023, at the latest, whether he has received a permit for July 2024. Suyono will work hard to obtain a response over the coming months. If by that date, we have not received a permit, we will most likely decide to have the congress in January 2025, when granting the permit should no longer be an issue.
Doubts surrounding the World Congress in January have resulted largely from the fact that Indonesia will be holding both national and local elections throughout the country in 2024, with campaigning in the lead up, as well as a possible run-off election in early/mid-July if the February election results are undecided. This scenario was unforeseen when the planned World Congress in 2023 was postponed due to Covid.
For this scale of an international gathering, a permit needs to be granted by the Central Government, as they have to be able to provide enough security for their own citizens as well as many visitors from abroad. In January 2024, the local/regional police in Palangkaraya will have only 1/3 of its force (approx. 50 members) present in the city, while the rest of the force is stationed to support elections in other parts of the region. While the local/regional police have given their ‘okay’ for our congress in January 2024, we still have heard nothing from the Central Government (which takes into account the local police recommendation but ultimately decides and issues permits). The concern from the WCOT team is that the Central Government are unlikely to give permission until a few months before – if at all.
The WSC hopes this helps to understand the complexity of this situation and fully acknowledges that it requires a lot of patience from all of us. Please contact your Zone Reps if you have any questions.