INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
20 October 2001-30 August 2002
This Annual Report of the IEF summarizes the events and activities of 2001-2002. It was presented at the 6th General Assembly of IEF in Johannesburg, South Africa on 31 August 2002.
FIFTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
The 5th international Conference of the International Environment Forum was held on 19-21 October 2001 at the Townshend School in Hluboka nad Vltavou (South Bohemia), Czech Republic, on the theme "Knowledge, Values and Education for Sustainable Development". The programme included keynote speakers Professor Bedrich Moldan of Charles University, Dr. Arthur Dahl of UNEP, and Victoria Thoresen of Norway, as well as panel discussions with researchers and practitioners in a variety of fields. The conference consultations generated ideas both to provide innovative input to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) process and to contribute to emerging research agendas. The 20 registered participants included researchers, teachers, students, and professionals from a wide range of disciplines, and practitioners in the field of environment and sustainable development. Additional students and staff from the Townshend School sat in on some sessions. Evening programmes including music, a dance workshop and an environmental play were provided by the Townshend School. The General Assembly of the International Environment Forum was held directly after the closure of the conference. An electronic version of the conference was offered for those who could not come to the Townshend School. Participants received by e-mail advance versions of the papers presented and summaries of the discussions, and were able to send in comments to be read at the conference. The papers and report from the conference are available on the IEF web site.
5TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The 5th General Assembly was held on the 21 October, at the end of the conference. A total of 11 votes were cast for the new Board, four of these were electronic. The result of the governing board election for 2001/2002 was (with the officers elected by the board at its first meeting): Arthur Dahl (President, Switzerland), Peter Adriance (USA), Sylvia Karlsson (General Secretary, Germany), Irma Allen (Swaziland) and Roxanne Lalonde (Canada).
The General Assembly consulted on the implementation of the IEF five year plan, and particularly on the plans for the next conference in conjunction with the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
The Board has had the following meetings over e-mail: 1-21 December 2001, 9 February 7 March 2002, 15-30 April 2002, 24 June 8 August 2002. In addition the Board had one face to face meeting in New York on 22 December 2001. Meeting participation: Peter Adriance (5 of 5); Irma Allen (4 of 5); Arthur Dahl (5 of 5); Sylvia Karlsson (5 of 5), Roxanne Lalonde (5 of 5).
Activities: The Board's work during the year has been primarily directed towards finalising the reports from the 5th Annual Conference, seeking accreditation to the WSSD and planning for the activities there, writing statements, and obtaining a logo and graphic identity for the organisation.
In September 2001 there were 94 members and 24 associates from 38 countries on all five continents. In August 2002 there are 116 members from 43 countries on all five continents and 26 Associates from 13 countries. There is thus a steady growth in the IEF membership and its geographical diversity.
The Office of Public Information in Haifa has included the IEF in the latest two issues of the Bahá'í World. There was a large article on the 5th IEF conference in One Country (Volume 13, Issue 3), the newsletter of the Bahá'í International Community.
The Board has during the year sought, and received, professional assistance with developing a logo and graphic identity for IEF through the generous offer of Oscar Rosa from the Netherlands. The logo was developed just in time for use on the materials to be printed for WSSD.
The correspondence has been voluminous as in previous years, with a marked increase in connection with preparations for the activities at WSSD. Sometimes this has led to regrettable delays in communicating with members from the Secretariat.
During the year a membership database has been developed by IEF member Judith Fienieg, the Netherlands. With the increasing membership this has been an ever more urgent need. The database contains all the information from the membership application forms, including members' special interests, qualifications, and areas in which they offer to be active within IEF. This will make it easier for the Board to ask individual members for assistance. The database will be regularly updated with the new members and address changes that come to the knowledge of the IEF Secretariat. The database can easily be transformed to the annotated directory and the version of the directory on the web, thus considerably effectivising the work delegating it outside the Board.
LEAVES is only distributed to members and associates but everyone can access it on the IEF web site. There have been 3 issues during this activity year. The Board is looking for ways to delegate the preparation of the newsletter to interested members so that it can be further developed and improved.
IEF WEB SITE
The web site of the IEF is hosted by the Bahá'í Computer and Communication Association (BCCA) at http://www.bcca.org/ief/. A continuing activity from the previous year has been to ensure that the website serves as a resource for those who at local or national level wish to become involved in the Rio+10 process leading up to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. There are a number of resource documents and links available for this purpose. In addition the website contents include the announcement and programme for the 6th conference, previous conference reports, information on the IEF, the newsletter LEAVES, a directory of members, reports and papers from previous conferences, relevant statements of the Bahá'í International Community, resource materials and papers by members, selections from the Bahá'í Sacred Writings, and links to other relevant web sites. Part of the site is in French and thanks to IEF member Fabiana Mendez Raya we now also have the first pages in Spanish.
THE IEF IN ORLANDO
Members of the International Environment Forum and interested others attended a number of sessions sponsored by the IEF at the 2001 Bahá'í Conference on Social and Economic Development in the Americas, held Dec. 11-17 in Orlando, Florida. This was the 9th annual SED conference and the IEF's second year of formal participation, following last year's convening of the IEF's 4th annual conference there. The IEF sessions featured presenters from the U.S. and Canada, and participants from Haiti to Indonesia and numerous points between. Our full-day session during the Development Seminar that preceded the conference itself attracted approximately 30 participants.
The editorial group was continued by the board with the same membership as the previous year: Peter Adriance (USA), Charles Boyle (Australia), Arthur Dahl (Switzerland), Nigel Jollands (New Zealand) and Roxanne Lalonde (Canada). The group has worked on and reviewed a statement on Climate Change and another one on Multiple Dimensions of Globalisation. Both of these will be used at the IEF activities in Johannesburg. The work with the book publication is not on hold but the authors were asked to revise their papers taking into consideration the comments from reviewers.
WORKING GROUP ON EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS
This working group had been dormant for a while and the Board had extensive consultations during the year to see how it could be restructured and re-activated. It was decided to appoint a new co-ordinator and several new members and give the group a period of six months to develop the first materials. The Board will then evaluate in consultation with the group how to proceed. The group is just in the process of being appointed (August 2002) so that it can start its work on 1st September. Aaron Blomley from Taiwan has accepted to be the co-ordinator.
PLANNING FOR WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND THE 6TH ANNUAL IEF CONFERENCE
The Board sent in an application to the United Nations for accreditation to the WSSD and despite the difficulties of making clear how a virtual organisation without budget and legal status works, we received the good news in late January that the IEF had been accredited as a scientific and technological NGO. This allowed IEF members to participate in the PrepComs leading up to that Summit. We had one representative at PrepCom II (Beth Bowen), two at PrepCom III (Sylvia Karlsson and David Willis), one at PrepCom IV (Sylvia Karlsson) and 12 at WSSD (Arthur Dahl, Ineke Gijsbers, John Homan, Sylvia Karlsson, Roxanne Lalonde, Gail Lash, Keith Metzner, Michael Richards, Lars Rogers, David Willis, and Steve Worth).
The 6th IEF Conference is planned as a series of seminars arranged around the WSSD conference, in association with other NGO activities there. The planning for these started for real in May when the logistical situation in Johannesburg became more apparent. Intensive contacts with the host organisation companies in Johannesburg finally resulted in securing reasonably affordable venues for the four seminars planned. The General Assembly will be held separately from these. As it was envisioned that email access would be difficult during the Summit and IEF Conference, the electronic version of the conference was planned for 1-18 August, thus preceding the Summit but instead allowing input from the conference to feed into the IEF seminars there.
CONTACT WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
In the preparations for the WSSD activities, the IEF has started a new phase of outreach to and collaboration with other organisations. The IEF representatives at PrepCom II, III and IV of the WSSD established many new contacts. The IEF has worked very closely with the European Bahá'í Business Forum in the planning of activities at WSSD, arranging one seminar together with them and having a joint booth. We have established contact with the SciDevNet, a website and initiative by the major science journals "Science" and "Nature", among others, to reach scientists in developing countries. Their special site for science activities in connection with WSSD has an introduction to IEF and a link to our website (http://www.scidev.net/sustain/sustainlinks.html). Two Board members furthermore sent in a discussion article on broadening the science discussions in Johannesburg, and this was published in June (http://www.scidev.net/sustain/sustainopinions.html). The IEF, with its seminar on Indicators for Sustainability at the Science Forum in Johannesburg, collaborated with the Stakeholder Forum for Our Common Future and attracted a panel of high-level experts, including from the UN Secretariat. Finally, IEF was represented by Judith Fienieg at the workshop "Europe in the World", 25 February, Brussels, where European NGOs discussed their positions for WSSD:
The leitmotif for this years activities was the preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development and with the accreditation to the WSSD a new level of activity began. We are beginning to demonstrate the significant capacity for outreach that the IEF is building to apply spiritual principles to the challenging problems of environment and sustainable development. This has put a lot of pressure on the Board but we have also received enthusiastic and capable support from a number of IEF members at times when it was most needed. The Board wish to extend its warm and deep gratitude for this help. With around 15 IEF members expected to take part in the Johannesburg events, 10 of them coming exclusively for IEF, we will have over 10 percent of our membership there. It will be an opportunity for sharing and learning for all of us.
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Last updated 27 December 2002