6th General Assembly 2002



31 August 2002, National Bahá'í Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa


1. Opening

After a prayer, the President of the International Environment Forum, Dr. Arthur Dahl, formally opened the 6th General Assembly. A round of introductions of all members present followed (see annex 1).

2. Election of officers for the meeting

Tellers were appointed and those present elected the following officers for the General Assembly: Chair, Arthur Dahl and Secretary, Sylvia Karlsson.

3. Approval of agenda

The agenda of the meeting as proposed by the Board was approved.

4. Annual Report

The General Secretary presented the Annual Report 2001-2002 by going through its main points. The Assembly approved the report.

5. Election of the Governing Board.

The General Assembly then proceeded to elect the Governing Board, combining the votes of those IEF members present and the votes sent over email by members absent and downloaded by the tellers. 18 votes were cast out of which 2 via email. The Board members elected for the next year are: Arthur Dahl (Switzerland), Sylvia Karlsson (Germany), Peter Adriance (USA), Irma Allen (Swaziland), Roxanne Lalonde (Zambia).

6. IEF Five-Year Plan

The Chair familiarised the participants with IEF's Five-Year Plan adopted at the General Assembly in 2000. A longer consultation followed. The general feedback on the plan was that members were impressed with how much has been accomplished to date. More specific consultation centred on one activity so far not addressed systematically: the mentoring of young people who wish to study environment and development.

Concrete ideas raised included:
- Specially encouraging students to choose studies in fields relevant to areas in need such as Africa for example through a list of universities with relevant programs and a list of Bahá'ís teaching in such fields. At the same time it was recognized that investigating all universities would take a lot of human resources and such information is usually available elsewhere.
- Include a career item in each issue of LEAVES, with a list of members who could guide young people in this field. This could also be of interest to Bahá'í newsletters.
- Create a book on careers in the environment field.
- Encourage members to share LEAVES in their Bahá'í communities. There could also be a member's profile in each issue of the newsletter so youth could see how they got to where they are.
- Establish a working group on mentoring to reduce the work for the IEF Board.
- Get suggestions for projects where young people can get experience.
- Twin Master and Ph.D. students from North and South.
- Student members could develop programmes on environment at their schools or universities.
- Send LEAVES to Bahá'í-inspired secondary schools, high schools and universities. One member offered to provide a list for his country.

7. Activities for the coming year.

There was a substantial consultation on priorities for the coming year. Major themes were how to improve networking and member engagement, and a focus on encouraging tree planting projects.

On networking and membership engagement these suggestions were made:
- Members who work on individual projects could support each other and seek other IEF members to consult for advice. This is one way to get more out of the membership networking.
- We need to find ways to engage members more. Can we learn from the process in working for the WSSD? Why did members come here?
- One member had sent in a proposal via email, that we should create a membership listserve. The consultation that followed supported this idea but suggested that it may be most constructive if there were time-bound discussions around specific themes, for example a few times a year, on such a list rather than an open unmoderated list.

On encouraging tree planting these suggestions were made:
- Encourage our communities to plant trees, to take a leadership role in creating green space.
- Develop institute material to generate socio-economic projects, which for example could involve planting trees. It would contain a few pages of Ruhi-style quotations and should be aimed also for a secular audience. One member volunteered to work on this.
- Put together information on simple tree planting projects and write to the Bahá'í International Community's United Nations Office so that it can be shared with Bahá'í socio-economic development projects.
- Members working on curriculum development could try to incorporate environmental aspects.
- Initiate an IEF campaign on tree-planting which may also be something which captures the interest of other members. It may be possible to link this with other organizations.

Following their successful collaboration at WSSD with complementary activities, the IEF should continue to coordinate with the Bahá'í International Community in support of the United Nations, perhaps with respect to participation in the Commission on Sustainable Development.

8. Other business.

As there was no other business, the meeting was closed.

Annex 1 - Members present

Peter Adriance (USA)
Dale Allen (Swaziland)
Irma Allen (Swaziland)
Lesley Bradley-Vine (New Zealand)
Diana Cartwright (Canada)
Arthur Dahl (Switzerland)
Tom Dierolf (Indonesia)
Injke Gijsbers (United Kingdom)
John Homen (USA)
Sylvia Karlsson (Germany)
Roxanne Lalonde (Zambia)
Gail Lash (Canada)
Keith Metzner (Mongolia)
Michael Richards (United Kingdom)
Nabil Robiati (Italy)
Lars Rogers (Switzerland)
David Willis (Greece)
Steve Worth (South Africa)

Visitors: Farhad Aqdasi (Botswana), Gordon Naylor (Canada), Wendi Momen (UK)

See also the Annual Report 2001-2002.