Newsletter of the
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
Volume 3, Number 1 --- February 2001
"Whereas the Bahá'í Writings warn of the dangers of material civilization carried to excess, enjoin moderation, emphasize the oneness of humankind, and support ecological principles such as the interrelatedness of all things, unity in diversity, and the fundamental reality of increasing levels of cooperation, complexity and reciprocity across the vast extent of creation;
Whereas the Bahá'í Faith considers the preservation of the ecological balance at all levels in the world to be of vital concern to all humanity, and urges action for the environment and sustainable development from the local to the global level in ways that are in harmony with the rhythm of life in the community;
Whereas our inner life cannot be separated from the environment around us, the two being intimately interrelated, requiring that environmental and sustainable development issues also be addressed at the level of fundamental ethical and moral values and principles....
We hereby constitute an international Baha'i-inspired organization"
-From the preamble to the statutes of the International
FROM THE EDITORS
After a long pause it is high time for another issue of LEAVES.
So far it has been the general secretary that has had most
responsibility for this newsletter but the Board is seeking to
increasingly delegate this task as the secretariat demands a lot
of other work. It was therefore a great joy that one of our new
members, Christiana Lawson, accepted to start as assistant
editor. This the first issue of this team of two will not be
much different from earlier issues but we hope that with time
and more help the newsletter can be developed both in frequency
and content. Many of the IEF members have indicated on their
membership questionnaire the will to write articles for the
newsletter. Well, in time the editors may contact those of you
who have done this and ask for specific contributions. However,
contributions to be considered by the editors are always welcome
IEF STATUTES ADOPTED - CHANGES IN MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES
At the 4th General Assembly, held on December 13th, the IEF statutes were finally adopted. This is a major milestone for the IEF and the result of an over three-year long process of consultation among the members and with the Baha'i World Centre. The statutes and by-laws have been sent out to all voting members and can also be accessed at the IEF webpage: www.bcca.org. They can also be obtained via email by request from the secretariat.
In the statutes the particular characteristic of the IEF was lined out as "a 'virtual' organization without a physical location or registered office, operating primarily through electronic means of communication such as the Internet, and through meetings of its members anywhere in the world. It shall not have a legal status or presence under any national law, nor shall it hold property or collect funds, except in small amounts for its operating expenses" (Article 4).
There is a significant change to the membership categories for the IEF, as they are described in the draft statutes upon which the IEF has been operating in recent years. This change is the result of consultations at the General Assembly and further consultations among members and in the Board. Up until now the IEF has had two categories of members, voting and non-voting. Both of these categories are included in the Directory published on the web and circulated among members. In the adopted statutes, the voting members are the only official Members, while the non-voting category is now referred to as Associates. Members will receive all materials of the Forum, may participate in the General Assembly and elections, and are eligible to be elected to the Governing Board. Members will provide their contact address (including electronic if available) and resume, detailing experiences in environment and sustainable development and the ability to provide advice or service to others in this field. Standardised versions of this information on each member will be published in the Directory of Members on the Forum's webpage and made publicly available in other hard-copy and electronic publications. The Associate category is open to those who do not wish to vote, to be eligible for election, or to be listed in the Directory of Members. An Associate is placed on the appropriate electronic mailing list(s) and will receive the materials of the Forum and announcements of all activities. An Associate may participate in conferences, discussions and working groups organized by the Forum. A list of Associates will be maintained by the Board for internal purposes and will not be published.
These slightly modified membership categories will be slowly implemented in the months to come. It is the Board's hope that the large majority of our present two types of members will wish to be Members. This will make the organization stronger and more vibrant, making it possible to network fully among the membership. We encourage all non-voting members to consider applying for changing their status to Members and inform the secretariat of this by April 30th 2001. Those who are now voting members and wish to change to Associate are also kindly asked to inform the secretariat by April 30th. This will then make it possible for the implementation of the statutes and the consequential changes in the Directory.
FIRST NON-ELECTRONIC IEF BOARD MEETING AT THE POOLSIDE
The Board elected at the 4th General Assembly consists of: Peter Adriance (USA), Irma Allen (Swaziland), Arthur Dahl (Switzerland-President), Roxanne Lalonde (Canada) and Sylvia Karlsson (Sweden-General Secretary). The Board wishes to express its deep gratitude for the wonderful contribution of our Maxwell Ayamba who served on the Board the previous year.
For the first time, all the members of the newly elected Board were present at the IEF conference. This made it possible to have the very first "face to face" meeting of the Board on the 16th of December. The location was poolside at the Rozen Plaza Hotel in Florida where we were blessed with enchanting weather. The meeting started with prayers and personal stories of Ruhiyyih Khanum. The larger part of the discussions concerned the implementation of the statutes and the five year plan, how to organise more effectively the working groups etc. Before we left the conference all the membership questionnaires had been gone through to make lists of what services members had indicated they are interested to give. This review will be the basis for sending out inquiries to individual members to become active.
The adoption of the statutes and the development of the five year plan as a dynamic working document now means that the Board can divert its attention and work towards implementing the purpose of the organization as outlined in the statutes and the plan. But this step will not be achievable without the active and prompt support of the members. The IEF is an organisation that will become what members do with it.
SUCCESSFUL 4TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE HELD IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA
The Fourth Annual Conference of the International Environment Forum (IEF) was held 12-14 December 2000 in Orlando, Florida, USA, on the theme Applying the Bahá'í Teachings to the Environmental Challenges Facing the World. More than 85 participants from over 30 countries on six contents registered for the conference in advance. 63 participated exclusively via the Internet through the electronic conference. Many others who did not pre-register attended at least some of the sessions in Orlando. All conference papers were distributed in advance by email, and summaries of each session were sent out shortly after the end of the session, giving participants around the world the possibility to follow the discussions and to send in their own email comments and contributions as well, which were shared in the sessions as appropriate. In addition to those registered for the IEF Conference itself, some 200 participants in the Development Seminar of the Bahá'í Conference on Social and Economic Development for the Americas, meeting at the same time in Orlando, were invited to participate in the IEF sessions, which were integrated as concurrent sessions into the Seminar programme. For more information please see Report on the Conference (2000) at the IEF website: www.bcca.org/ief
As a result of the successful conference in Orlando, the Rabbani Trust has invited us to send in proposals for several programme items for next year's conference. The annual conference will be held elsewhere. More information on this will come later.
INDUSTRY MEETS ENVIRONMENT IN NEW INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY
(submitted by Arthur Dahl )
A community of researchers, policy makers, industrial strategists, and environmental advocates announces the launch of the International Society of Industrial Ecology. The new field of industrial ecology applies ecological concepts to the organization and operation of industry. The tools of industrial ecology include eco-design, eco-industrial parks, material and energy flow studies, life cycle assessment (LCA) and organizational design. In continuing support of the field, Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies has volunteered to provide the Society with its preliminary headquarters. An international group of environmental leaders, one of them being Stefan Bringezu, Wuppertal Institute, will serve as the steering committee. Membership applications and information on submitting abstracts for the November conference can be found on the International Society for Industrial Ecology website: www.yale.edu/is4ie. For more information contact the International Society for Industrial Ecology office, email: email@example.com
PROJECT BAYAN DEVELOPING SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
(submitted by Michael Richards)
The Bayan Association in Honduras now has a 3 year USAID funded
project to develop a community-based sustainable management and
conservation plan for an important but over-exploited
marine/freshwater estuary on the edge of the Rio Platano
Biosphere Reserve. This will also lead to the development of a
SAT module on marine management and conservation. Michael
Richards has made a short translation of the main elements of
this, and he is keen to find out if there are any IEF members
out there keen to help. Then he can put them in touch with
VILLAGE POWER CONFERENCE
The Village Power 2000 conference and workshops took place 4-7 December 2000 at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. The event was sponsored by Winrock International (http://www.winrock.org/) and the World Bank's Rural and Renewable Energy and Rural Development Thematic Groups, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/World Bank Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), (http://www.usaid.gov/) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), (http://www.nrel.gov/) with Astropower, Bergey Windpower Company, Honeywell and ORMAT as corporate partners. The focus of Village Power 2000 was on exploring ways to advance rural transformation by improving access to modern clean energy services for: income generation; community needs in health and education; and home use. The event was attended by 600 participants from 52 countries representing international financing institutions, intergovernmental organizations, governments, non-governmental organizations, and business and industry. On Tuesday and Wednesday, 5-6 December, conference participants met in plenary and break-out sessions to hear presentations and discuss issues including: a new vision for rural transformation and poverty alleviation; renewable technologies for global markets; the linking of energy and rural development; scaling-up of rural energy services; traditional fuels and household energy; and how to ensure equitable benefits from rural energy services.
On Tuesday, 5 December, James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, addressed conference participants and inaugurated a solar village set up in the World Bank atrium in conjunction with the Village Power conference. Village Power 2000 also incorporated workshops held on Monday, 4 December, and Thursday, 7 December. The workshops addressed a variety of issues related to renewable energies and sustainable development, including: micro-enterprise and introduction of technology to indigenous peoples; rural telecommunications and digital technologies; village power models and computer-based analysis for rural energy development; long-term world energy scenarios and the role of renewable technology; gender in energy; small wind energy tutorial; clean water delivery; and energy and poverty. Information from the International Institute for Sustainable Development "Linkages" Website: www.iisd.ca/sd/vp2k
The next issue of LEAVES is planned for April/May.
CONFERENCE ON GLOBALIZATION
(submitted by Arthur Dahl)
There is a conference to be held in Prague, 12-16 June 2001 on the intriguing topic "Is Globalization Overpowering Democracy? The Challenge for Ecology, Economy and Culture. It is organized by the Institute of Landscape Ecology Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic & Czech Association for Landscape Ecology. From the announcement: "The conceptual framework for the conference is based on the assumption that concerns about globalization are often connected with anxieties related to the loss of control over various life dimensions and to the social, cultural, economic, and political consequences of globalization". The thematic streams include: "Control", "Limits", Diversity at landscape scales", "Individual", and "Constitution". The deadline for submission of abstracts is February 28th and for registration April 15th. For more information: GlobDem@uek.cas.cz Website: www.uek.cas.cz/GlobDem/ If any IEF member is planning to attend this conference please contact the Board for consultation as it could provide valuable contacts.
The Ninth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development will be held in New York from 16-27 April 2001. This session will focus on: atmosphere; energy/transport; information for decision making and participation; and international cooperation for an enabling environment. The topic of the multi-stakeholder dialogue segment will be energy and transport. Prior to CSD-9, intersessional meetings of the Energy Expert Group will be held from 26 February - 2 March. For more information contact: Zehra Aydin-Sipos, Major Groups Focal Point, Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1-212-963-8811; e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org. internet: www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd9/csd9_2001.htm
Updated 17 March 2001