8th GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
Hotel Olympic, Thessaloniki, Greece, 17 October 2004
The 8th General Assembly of the International Environment Forum was held immediately after the closing of the 8th Annual Conference of the IEF in Thessaloniki, Greece. The General Assembly was attended by four members: David Willis, Yasmina Mata, Arthur Dahl, and Sylvia Karlsson (only five IEF members had attended the conference, the rest of the participants were non-IEF members).
The President of the International Environment Forum, Dr. Arthur Dahl, formally opened the 8th General Assembly. The Assembly suggested that the sitting officers of the Board act as officers of the General Assembly: Arthur Dahl as chair and Sylvia Karlsson as secretary. The proposed agenda was approved (Annex 1).
The General Secretary presented the Annual Report 2003-2004 by going through its main points. The Assembly approved the report.
Election of the Governing Board
Tellers were appointed (Yasmina Mata and David Willis). The IEF members present voted, and the votes sent over e-mail were downloaded by the tellers as well. 14 votes were cast, including 10 via e-mail. The elected Board members are: Arthur Dahl (Switzerland), Peter Adriance (USA), Sylvia Karlsson (Sweden), Irma Allen (Swaziland), Roxanne Lalonde (Zambia), Gail Lash (USA), Charles Boyle (Australia).
Consultation on the implementation of the IEF
Five Year Plan
The consultation identified as one of the weak points in the implementation of the plan the development of educational materials, including for children and youth. It was suggested that study guides and tutorials are made from the materials on the IEF website and relevant Bahá'í documents, particularly those related to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. These could then be made available on the website. The materials to be developed for the Wilmette Institute course on sustainable development next year could also be used for this. A member offered to work on the web-based study guides.
Consultation on activities and priorities for
the coming year
The possible alternative venues for the next annual conference were discussed. One alternative could be Canada if we follow the tradition to take turns between the Americas and Europe. Another possibility is the World Science Forum in Budapest, Hungary, which is to be held in November 2005 on the theme of ethics and values in science. An IEF presence there would be desirable, and one possibility is to organize the annual conference there in the form of seminars during or after the event. When discussing future conferences it was suggested that the IEF should try to become a bit more academic in its activities, such as by soliciting abstracts for presentations of papers at conferences.
There was also a suggestion to activate a system of national focal points for the IEF who could spread information on the IEF in each respective country.
The need to develop the newsletter further was discussed, and a member who often writes reviews on environmental books for the Amazon web site offered to share them with the newsletter.
The financial expenses for organizing the 8th Annual Conference were reviewed and necessary reimbursements made for refreshments and photocopying. The costs were kept to a minimum through provision of free venues by two co-sponsors: the Directorate of Secondary Education and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. A local company paid for the welcome reception. No registration fees were charged this year, as most participants were not IEF members. The costs were covered partly by the leftover funds from previous conferences and by personal donations.
It was suggested that the IEF should become a member of the Consumer Citizenship Network, a thematic network of 124 institutions from 29 countries funded by the European Union in cooperation with UNESCO, UNEP and international citizenship and consumer organizations. The IEF was represented at its first conference in Paris in March 2004. There are no costs related to membership. The General Assembly therefore encouraged the Board to apply for membership.
The chair thanked all the participants, and closed the General Assembly.
1. Opening of the General Assembly
2. Introduction of members present
3. Election of officers of the General Assembly
4. Approval of the Agenda
5. Presentation and consultation on the Annual Report 2003-2004
6. Election of the Governing Board
7. Consultation on the implementation of the IEF Five Year Plan
8. Consultation on activities and priorities for the coming year, including:
- education materials
- engagement in the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development
- issue monitors
- representation of IEF at UN meetings
- future IEF Conferences
9. Financial resources
10. Other business
11. Closing of the General Assembly