THIRD GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
Tuesday, 17 August 1999, Sidcot, England
1. The third General Assembly of the International Environment Forum was held in Sidcot, England, on 17 August 1999, with 13 voting members present from Ghana, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USA, and 2 observers. In addition, 29 non-present voting members with access to e-mail could participate in the assembly discussions and vote for the governing board. A full list of voting members, and persons present at the General Assembly is given below in Annex 1. The Annual Report of the Forum is given in Annual Report 1998-1999.
2. The General Assembly was opened by the President of the Governing Board of the Environment Forum, Arthur Dahl.
3. Officers of the meeting: In view of the small group there was no formal election of chairman and secretary. The Assembly requested the officers of the governing board, Arthur Dahl and Sylvia Karlsson, to serve as chairman and secretary, respectively.
4. The agenda was modified to begin with the guidance recently received from the Office of Social and Economic Development, as well as consultation on the Annual Report 1998-1999 from the governing board.
Presentation of and consultation on the Annual Report and the letter from OSED
5. The guidance from the Office of Social and Economic Development and the Universal House of Justice received during the past two years was outlined and the most recent letter from OSED was taken up in more detail, lifting out the major points. This letter recommended that the Forum concentrate on external outreach, influencing the various fields of human endeavor with concepts and principles drawn from Bahá'u'lláh's teachings.
Election of the governing board for the coming year
6. Election of the board: Out of the 44 voting members, 17 votes were cast, 4 via e-mail and 13 in person. The board that was elected consists of (in alphabetical order):
Peter Adriance, USA
Irma Allen, Swaziland
Maxwell Ayamba-Apaladaga, Ghana/UK
Arthur Dahl, Switzerland
Sylvia Karlsson, Sweden,
7. Michael Richards was originally elected but informed the General Assembly that he was unable to serve due to pressing work in other areas. The next number of votes on the list was taken, where Maxwell Ayamba, Tahereh Nadarajah and Victoria Thoresen were tied, and a runoff vote was held among these three. As a result, Maxwell Ayamba was elected to the board.
Consultation on the revised statutes
8. The consultation that followed first focused on the statutes. A revised draft of the statutes prepared in view of the latest guidance from Haifa was circulated and discussed in some detail.
9. It was proposed that the statutes refer explicitly to the Forum having e-mail members and functioning over the Internet, including governing board meetings via e-mail, a moderated list server, and possibly general members' meetings over e-mail, for example four times a year.
10. One thought brought forward was that it may not be necessary for the Forum to be a legal entity able to handle funds. The Forum could facilitate projects which would then be self-financing or be passed on to other institutions. There would be no need for a budget except for some secretariat expenses. The IEF conferences can be self-financing. If members wanted to represent the IEF at meetings, they would have to assume the cost for attending themselves.
11. Suggestions were made to include in paragraph 7.2 the explicit mention of Bahá'í procedures for consultation and election. Change "justified" to "explained".
12. In article 17, dissolution of the Forum should be by decision of the annual general assembly (or a special one), which could be electronic, by a 2/3 or 1/2 vote.
13. It was suggested that the statutes should be given to a Bahá'í with legal experience for checking.
14. There should be provision for the method of adopting the statutes. Any person becoming a member should agree to accept and abide by the statutes and by-laws.
15. Internal By-laws can be adopted.
16. One comment for changing the statutes came via e-mail from one of our members.
17. A related issue that was discussed was the concern addressed to the board by one of the members that having the directory of the IEF membership on the web raises issues of security. People could identify the members if searching for Bahá'í on the web, and get addresses, etc. The assembly concluded that there were still advantages for a "virtual" organization in having the directory on the web. However the board might consider consulting with the members beforehand to determine whether they wished to be included in the web directory, given a partial listing, or excluded.
Consultation on activities and priorities for the coming year
18. It was proposed to have quarterly meetings over e-mail. The board should check out the e-groups.com to see if that would make it easier. One could ask members to moderate the meetings on themes to be proposed by the board.
19. The Forum should create an idea bank of ways to take positive action towards the environment, with suggested programmes for industrialized and developing countries.
20. It is essential to approach this work with a spiritual vision and it is an area where Bahá'ís have a unique contribution to make in balancing the material and the spiritual. We should explore alternative terminology for "developing countries" such as "less economically developed countries".
21. The IEF web site should become an environmental portal, collecting links to environmental sites and categorizing them to show that we are all-inclusive.
22. The materials should not be targeted only to Bahá'í communities.
23. It was suggested that the board develop a five year plan, with goals such as achieving recognition at the international level, establishing relationships with other NGOs, etc. Then we can develop and tick off each goal.
24. The board could issue statements on remedies we have to offer to the world, bringing in the spiritual side.
25. We could identify someone to carry out a study of the most significant Bahá'í-inspired projects with environmental benefits. These could be written up as case studies, recorded on video, and incorporated into education materials. We could collaborate with BASED or others. We could define the criteria, make a list of desired studies, and ask members to do them.
26. Other suggestions included producing educational materials on environmental awareness for Bahá'ís and others which are flexible, that is easy to adapt to various socio-economic and cultural settings, undertaking book reviews, and providing advice on environmentally-friendly shopping.
27. The General Assembly closed with general appreciation for the progress that the Forum has made in less than two years.
LIST OF VOTING MEMBERS OF THE ENVIRONMENT FORUM
Peter Adriance, USA
Irma Acosta Allen, Swaziland
Dale Allen, Swaziland
Martino Alvaro, France
Maxwell Ayamba, United Kingdom
Aaron Arthur Blomeley, Taiwan
Lloyd D. S. Brown, USA
Cecil E Cook, South Africa
Arthur Dahl, Switzerland
R Ken Dunsworth, Canada
Amanda Felipe, United Kingdom
Richard W. Fisher, Bolivia
Jose Luis Gadea Miguel, Paraguay
Les Gornall, Northern Ireland
Richard Hainsworth, Russia
Eva Hildorsson, Sweden
Tom Hodges, USA
Nigel Jollands, New Zealand
Ruhiyyih Joshi, Belgium
Janne Mikael Karimaki, Finland
Sylvia Karlsson, Sweden
Harold Lane, United Kingdom
Tomas Linsel, Slovakia
Paul Maloney, Canada
Kaykhosrov Manouchery, United Kingdom
Nancy McIntyre, USA
Molly McMackin, United Kingdom
Keith A. Metzner, USA
Jean Marie Moutoir, France
Carlos Alberto Musfeldt, Argentina
Tahereh Nadarajah (Djafari), Mongolia
Paul Ojermark, Sweden
Jan Quik, Suriname
Terry N. Randolph, Philippines
Hamid Rastegar, USA
Samantha Reynolds, Pakistan
Michael Richards, England, UK
Melinda Salazar, USA
Marjorie Barbara Schreuder, The Netherlands
Richard Scott Sherwood, Czech Republic
Lawrence Staudt, Rep. of Ireland
Jan Stenis, Sweden
Ebenezer Tabot-Tabot, Denmark
Victoria Thoresen, Norway
LIST OF PERSONS PRESENT ON-SITE AT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Dale Allen (Swaziland)
Irma Allen (Swaziland)
Maxwell Ayamba (Ghana/UK)
Arthur Dahl (Switzerland)
Richard Hainsworth (Russia)
Ian Holland (UK - not member)
Sylvia Karlsson (Sweden)
Harold Lane (UK)
Kaykhosrov Manouchery (UK)
Nancy McIntyre (USA)
Molly McMackin (UK)
Samantha Reynolds (Pakistan)
Michael Richards (UK)
Tom Richards (UK - non-voting member)
Victoria Thoresen (Norway)
(13 voting members present), 15 people total from 9 countries
See also the Annual Report 1998-1999.
Last updated 4 December 2004