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BASW chair blog: 'IFSW Global meeting – Local is Global'

Last week countries met at the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) two-yearly General Meeting, with BASW representing the UK. Our chair Gerry Nosowska shares some highlights

Every day across the globe social workers make small differences to people’s lives. Every day across the globe social work collectively shapes a new world.

The message of the IFSW General Meeting is the same as for World Social Work Day – Leave no one behind. The meeting brought together social workers from diverse nations with a shared vision for the future, forming the basis of the new policy: The Role of Social Workers in Advancing a New Eco-Social World, which was agreed at the meeting.

This reaffirmed our profession's commitment to human rights, a recognition that human and environmental wellbeing are interrelated, an eco-social understanding of prosperity that includes global fairness, peace and sustainability, and respect for difference and diversity that is centred in equity.

This is the vision for our world, underpinned by social work ethics, that is acted on by social workers across the globe and will be brought to all communities at the Global People’s Summit at the end of June.

This is a mass movement of social workers, experts by experience, non-governmental organisations and activists who bring practical wisdom to the challenges that face our world.

BASW's Jane Shears elected as Global Ethics Commissioner

At the Global Meeting, we heard from the Commissions on human rights, ethics, education, indigenous peoples and the United Nations. The Commissions bring together representatives from each global region to act and influence within and outside of social work. We are delighted that Jane Shears, BASW’s Head of Professional Development and Education and a longstanding member, has been elected as Global Ethics Commissioner. She will act as a force for unity around ethical social work.

Joachim Mumba becomes new IFSW president

Looking around the Global Meeting, hearing the diversity of voices and witnessing the commitment to action for a better world, we can be proud of our profession. And confident that we will support each other to build this future. For the next two years, we will be led by our first African region Global President, Joachim Mumba, who said he will bring the spirit of Ubuntu (I am because we are) to the role. 

Social work has more influence than we may realise in our day-to-day work. However, each of our day-to-day struggles and triumphs are part of the collective. Everything that each of us does adds to the change that we want to see in the world.

The local is global.