The ICM's 27th Triennial International Congress: Brisbane, Australia, July 24-28, 2005; planning for the 2005 Brisbane Congress goes ahead in Australia but also in The Hague as ICM prepares for the associated meetings and workshops.

Latest calculations from the planning committee in Brisbane indicate that the full programme will incorporate four keynote papers, 370 concurrent papers, nine ICM concurrent workshops, four ICM partners' workshops, seven other workshops, eight film or art presentations and 80 poster presentations.

In addition to the crucial involvement of ICM in the Congress arrangements, along with national host association the Australian College of Midwives Incorporated, ICM staff and officers will also take the opportunity to hold a significant series of meetings in Brisbane, which will advance the work programme and global status of the Confederation.

ICM business meetings

These will include

* a Board of Management meeting

* Executive Committee meeting--the Board of Management joins with all regional representatives in a forum described as the ICM's 'professional powerhouse'

* Regional meetings of association representatives--a rare chance for national delegates to meet and focus on the specific concerns of midwives from their region

* the four-day International Council meeting, where delegates from the 83 member associations will gather for debate on future policy and decision making.

Following the Council meeting when elections for new members of the Board of Management and Executive Committee will be held, a further 'transition' meeting of the old and new Executive Committee will also take place.

The 'learning curve' for newly elected regional representatives is steep, and because of the limited resources available for face-to-face meetings, it is essential for new members to get to know their colleagues and tackle the regional and international issues in midwifery from day 1 of their new role.

Pre-Congress Workshop

As in previous years, a Collaborative Pre-Congress Workshop is planned. Details are not yet finalised, but the provisional working title is 'Addressing the mother-baby dyad in midwifery practice'.

ICM is working with potential partners WHO, FIGO, Saving Newborn Lives, UNICEF and UNFPA to develop a theme and programme that will take forward the global agenda of partner organisations as well as offering midwives from developing countries a real opportunity for learning and advancement.

The experience of past workshops has shown that these occasions are enormously valuable, particularly for midwives who do not often have the opportunity/to travel. The chance to attend the workshop helps to raise the status of midwives in their own country...

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