2. Suggestions for Rotary International Public Image Presence at COP 26 


2. 1. Booth space: Should RI manage to secure a booth at COP 26, we suggest display ideas in 2.2 Should RI not be able to secure a formal booth it could be worth requesting some space in the Commonwealth of Nations booth, but only if the allocated space is not too inconspicuous, or it would simply not be worth the while. Alternatively, or in addition we also suggest requesting RIBI to provide display space for RI’s COP 26 display, preferably central to RIBI’s main display of UK children’s Climate Crisis COP 26 posters, which would provide an appealing drawcard, enabling RI to showcase itself in the ways proposed below through maps and photos. 

2.2 Marketing Rotary’s worldwide presence at COP 26: For any of the above booth options or with the poster display, it is proposed that ESRAG requests the help of the RI PI Team experts to create  a very professional display which highlights through large professional world maps (or uses technology to flash onto a large screen) a large clear world map highlighting geographically throughout the world exactly where RI‘s 37,500 Rotary Clubs are based. If possible, and if not confusing, the map could also indicate where so many of our 534 Rotary Districts are, which include three or more countries in one District, which enables us to broker relationships across political geographic boundaries. We further believe it is important that RI displays and delegates do not focus on the fact that RI has only so very recently added Environment as a focus area but rather on RI’s worldwide footprint and the excellent work RI has done in the humanitarian fields of peace and health so effectively in the past decades. If space is available, the RI Map should be surrounded by a few clear large photographs of work RI has done in terms of polio and the environment, big enough to be seen at a distance. We would like to stress that no small photos or fine print is used as COP delegates will have minimal time to visit the booth and, if COP 26 is hybrid, may have seconds to virtually visit the displays. 

2.3 RI COP 26 Public Image message: Wherever we can get RI public image mileage at COP, we propose that our RI COP 26 message should focus on what RI has already achieved internationally, namely, the establishment of the United Nations and Polio eradication and a worldwide footprint and what RI is able to do because it is “super-globally and, at the same time, super-locally based”.  

2.4 Use of technology: If the final decision is to host a hybrid conference, we propose that all four RI COP 26 delegates have the same RI background (not ESRAG) on their computer screens so when they speak or ask questions, all delegates see the Rotary wheel on a blue background. We also suggest that, rather than a name on the Zoom screen, the RI delegates put their email addresses so those listening can easily contact our RI delegates, as relationship building is one of the main purposes of being at COP 26. It is RI’s first formal delegation there and we need to maximize this opportunity.

2.5 Rotary Pins: All four RI formal COP 26 delegates and any other Rotarians attending in other capacities, should be encouraged to wear their Rotary pins at all times. They should also all be fully conversant with all the current and historical details of RI‘s world-wide presence and achievements and capabilities. 

2.6 Business Cards: It is further suggested that the COP 26 Delegation has Rotary and not ESRAG business cards (so as not to confuse other delegates as ESRAG does not have the same worldwide footprint as Rotary does). The business cards should possibly use the reverse side to share the “socially just, economically viable and  ecologically sound”  goals listed below in 1.“Press the reset button.”   

2.7 In summary: We believe it is vital that RI sends a simple but very powerful public image message of a professional international organization with a world-wide presence, that is well-financed, trusted, effective,  non-political and non-religious;  has enormous international credibility and respect and the proven ability to effectively work together to address international crises.

Longer term strategic goals for Rotary International


“Press the reset button” 


The immediacy of the Climate Crisis requires the world to be on a war footing to address the existential threat to life on Planet Earth.  We need a “Whole of Society” approach and we must position RI to help enable the world to “press the reset button”.  This should be done by, first, RI significantly intensifying its commitment and ability in-house to actively target the Climate Crisis and, then, to facilitate an international common purpose approach to deal with the Climate Crisis by motivating all to ensure that all their projects and actions are sustainable and focus for an indefinite period and with immediate urgency on being:-

  • socially just
  • economically viable and
  • ecologically sound.



The RI focus should be on the Humanitarian aspects of Climate Crisis


(i.e. Protect Children and future generations and all life on Earth)

As Rotary is a humanitarian organization it is likely that focusing on the Humanitarian aspect of the Climate Crisis is the most likely approach to motivate those senior Rotary leaders still not convinced of the urgency of the climate crisis. In terms of the humanitarian dimension, RI needs to take cognisance of the UNICEF report on Child Rights where one billion children are now at risk from the impact of the Climate Crisis.  All RI structures need to understand that the interplay between Human and Planetary Health – in particular the devastating international impact of COVID-19, has changed the goalposts for all. Humankind is as much an endangered species as all other forms of life on Earth.  RI must promote the voices of women, children, indigenous and marginalised people, who are most affected.

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