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2008 – 2011 IPA Triennial Report

IPA’s purpose: to protect, preserve and promote the child’s right to play as a fundamental human right

Overview: Between the landmarks of the IPA Triennial World Conferences in Hong Kong (2008) and Wales (2011), this has been an exceptional busy period with a strong sense of purpose and membership involvement.

In 2011 we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of IPA’s founding on the 12th of May 1961 in Copenhagen, Denmark. A Special ‘History’ edition of PlayRights magazine* was published in which memories and achievements of IPA’s 50 years are recorded. Celebrations of the 50th anniversary culminate at the 18th Triennial World Conference in Cardiff.

A broad-ranging Strategic Plan and a Communications Plan were implemented via the establishment of Standing Committees, Working Groups and Committees made up of members throughout the world. The Plan gave us the route towards achievement of three major Goals:

Goal A: To improve the organisation’s visibility as a credible and authoritative world voice on children’s play by strengthening the influencing, lobbying and campaigning role globallyGoal B: To streamline and maintain the management and operation of IPAGoal C: To energise and expand IPA’s membership base

Progress was made in all areas of the Plan and the term finishes with a sense of accomplishment and with energy for the next stages of IPA’s development.

In May 2008 IPA, with seven international co-signatories, wrote to the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child in Geneva requesting that a General Comment on play be issued. The co-signatories were:

  • Right to Play International
  • World Leisure Association
  • International Pediatrics Association
  • International Council on Children’s Play
  • World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP)
  • International Toy Library Association
  • European Child Friendly Cities Network
  • and subsequently Childwatch International

In the interim we worked towards this goal through ongoing contact with the UN Committee and presentation of research and project findings (see below).

So, of particular significance was the announcement in February 2011 by the UN Committee that they will indeed draft and adopt a General Comment on the right to play (article 31).

We are delighted that IPA’s 50th year is marked with this achievement and look forward to working with the Committee to inform the content of the General Comment and, with IPA members, to ensure the General Comment has a real impact for children around the world.

The following reflects the goals we have worked towards this term and IPA’s continued commitment to its membership and the children, families and communities they serve:

1. Meetings and Conferences

a)     Board meetings were held in Hong Kong (2008), England (2008) Scotland (2009), Sweden (2010);

b)     Council meetings were held in Hong Kong (2008) and Sweden (2010);

c)     A Special General Meeting was convened in Sweden (2010) to consider and vote on changes to the IPA Structure and Constitution;

d)     Working Groups, Standing Committees and sub-groups continued to meet electronically (using email, Skype and the SharePoint programme) and in person when plans allowed;

e)     A Board sub-group met with the Play Wales conference organising team in June 2010;

f)       The Strategic Plan Implementation and Monitoring Committee met in person annually;

g)     A newly formed Strategic Plan Drafting Group met by email and skype to develop in draft form the 2011-14 Strategic Plan for presentation to Council;

h)     IPA had official involvement in the programmes of a number on national, regional and international conferences which included Child Games and Toys International Conference, China; International Council for Children’s Play, Portugal; Child in the City, Florence.



2.  Financial Reports

Financial statements were circulated by the IPA Treasurer to the membership annually and updates were given at meetings. (Copies of reports can be requested from the Treasurer)



3. IPA Constitutional Change

A Special General Meeting was held in 2010 in Karlstad, Sweden to consider proposed changes to IPA’s structure and Constitution. The meeting was short of the required number of members present to make a formal decision. The meeting moved to discussion of the proposals and suggested further revisions. Revised propositions were therefore circulated on which members will vote at the 2011 General Meeting in Cardiff.



4. Communications

The Communications Officer and Standing Committee handled a large portfolio of internal and external communications tasks and outputs including:

  • PlayRights Magazine: two editions were produced per year in accordance with current policy, with overwhelmingly positive feedback;
  • The website was redesigned and a members’ only section introduced;
  • Email and skype remain convenient, economical forms of communication within IPA, using a previously adopted decision-making protocol when required. Microsoft SharePoint was adopted as the virtual office system and will be evaluated for continuation;
  • A section of PlayRights is devoted to IPA organisational news; updates are sent to Council at least twice between mailings; the Council Address List is updated regularly;
  • The Council Kit was updated to the extent possible but is due for revision;
  • The IPA Brochure was reprinted and circulated; two new banners were produced; the IPA poster was translated into eight languages and is available for download;
  • Use of social media is being explored.

5. Special Projects           

Children’s Right to Play: an examination of the importance of play in the lives of children worldwide, commissioned by IPA was publish by the Bernard van Leer Foundation, distributed through their international networks and posted on the IPA web site.


IPA Global Consultations on Children’s Right to Play

With funding and support from the Bernard van Leer Foundation an orientation meeting and pilot was held in South Africa in January 2010 followed by consultations in Nairobi, Mumbai, Mexico City, Sofia, Bangkok, Tokyo and Beirut.  The final report and the individual country reports are available on the IPA web site.

The findings of these projects were presented to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2010 in support of th4e request for General Comment.


6. Note of thanks IPA is an organisation fuelled by the commitment and energy of its members around the world. The IPA Board wishes to extend its sincere thanks and appreciation to them and to our supporters and funders.

* IPA is grateful for the contributions from the City of Copenhagen, RoSPA, Sutcliff Play Ltd., Julian Richter and Kompan to support the production of the Special ‘History’ edition of PlayRights magazine.



Board of Directors 2008-2011

President: Theresa Casey (Scotland)
Vice President: Tom Jambor (USA)
Treasurer: David Yearley (England, Wales, N. Ireland)
Secretary: Margaret Westwood (Scotland)
Communications Officer: Valerie Fronczek (Canada)

Council-Board Representatives:
Kathy Wong Kin-ho (Hong Kong)
Mike Greenaway (Wales)

Regional Vice Presidents:
Europe: Ute Navidi (England)
North America/Caribbean: Kim Sanderson (Canada)
West Asia: Hitoshi Shimamura (Japan)
Australasia: Ric McConaghy
Latin America: Alejandra Rabuini, Graciela Bottini de Barucca (Argentina)

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