IEF 5-year Plan 2000-2005

FIVE YEAR PLAN 2000-2005

Adopted as an evolving working document by the General Assembly
13th December 2000

(Based on the Ridvan 2000 message from the Universal House of Justice)

Our vision is to build the International Environment Forum into a recognized Baha'i-inspired agency, as an organization of civil society using the new methods of communications, whose members are learning how to apply the Divine teachings to working with those around them, and whose scholarly activity reinforces the intellectual foundations of the Baha'i Faith's work. The Forum will focus on social and economic development and external affairs, producing papers and events examining contemporary problems of environment and sustainable development in the light of the Baha'i principles, and making links to the spiritual dimensions of the changes occurring in the world. It will work to build a dynamic relationship with the United Nations, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and create recognition of the imperative need for an adequate system to deal with global issues. It will participate in interfaith dialogue on environment, and disseminate information about the Baha'i teachings relevant to environment and sustainable development to various publics, including children and junior youth.

STRATEGY (by purpose in the statutes)

To provide a forum for those who carry out environment or sustainable development activities, or who have a special interest in these areas, and who are also familiar with the ethical and social principles in the Bahá'í Writings, to deepen their appreciation and understanding of the guidance enshrined in those Writings, to share experiences and learn from each other, and to explore the ways and means of implementing those principles in the practice of such activities.
Strategy: The annual conferences are the principal opportunity for such interactions, and they will continue to be held on a rotating basis at different locations, and whenever possible in collaboration with other organizations. The IEF web site will also continue to be expanded as a source of papers and materials contributing to this purpose.

To generate and promote a discourse on how the Bahá'í teachings can be applied to the environmental challenges facing the world.
Strategy: The themes and papers at the annual conferences aim to promote such a discourse. This effort will be expanded to generate a wider range of outputs and publications.

To influence specific agencies, groups or individuals concerned with these issues.
Strategy: The principal means to implement this purpose is individual action by members, drawing on resources available through the Forum. The board will continue to explore opportunities to reach out to other groups or organizations on particular thematic issues, as it already has with the Earth Charter process.

To encourage or participate in projects and initiatives in accord with those principles, in collaboration with organizations and individuals who are active in areas of environment and sustainable development, while being sensitive to the capacity of projects to receive such help.
Strategy: The board will call for volunteers to make an inventory of environmental SED projects, with the encouragement and help of OSED.(ask them before the general assembly if we can do it) Other initiatives to develop include preparing materials on environmental actions that people can take in the North, such as for sustainable consumption, and compiling a source book of ideas for small projects where the Baha'i principles give added value, for publication through a Baha'i publishing trust. The board will encourage members to make use of the Earth Charter process in the two coming years as a basis to introduce the discussion on values and the environment at national level.

Purpose: TO ADVISE
To be available in an advisory capacity to governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses and communities in promoting the sustainable use of resources and protecting the environment.
Strategy: This purpose will require further development of the Forum and a strengthened ability to harness the professional capacities of its members. In the short term, the board will not seek out such activities, but may consider opportunities that present themselves on an ad hoc basis.

To promote a greater awareness of environmental issues, and to stimulate environmental education amongst children, youth and adults, so that they can contribute more effectively to practical actions; To increase awareness within communities of the need for sustainable and environmentally sound development.
Strategy: The two standing working groups will be charged to develop materials for this purpose, with a range of relevant materials to be produced over the next 5 years.

To support networking among individuals and groups at the local, national, regional and international levels on issues of environment and sustainable development.
Strategy: The directory of members facilitates informal networking. As the membership grows, issue-based networks can be developed within the Forum.

To encourage and advise young people who plan to study or work in the fields of environment or sustainable development in the spirit of the Bahá'í teachings.
Strategy: Mentoring by experienced members of the Forum already occurs regularly. Over the next 5 years this will be placed on a more systematic and organized basis both electronically and at conferences and meetings.

* These are specific milestones along the way toward achieving the Vision [still to be developed from the above]


[6.2] To organize a yearly conference which shall also serve as the Annual General Assembly of the Forum.
- encourage members to suggest places for conferences alternatively ondifferent continents, and consult on the issue at the General Assembly.
Responsibility: The IEF Board, or a subcommittee appointed by the Board, will be responsible for facilitating the event.

[6.3] To collaborate with associations and agencies in relevant fields of expertise, as well as development agencies.
- identify these bodies both locally and internationally and map out strategies toinvolve them in the IEF's outreach plans.
- compile a directory of these bodies so that we can network with them.
- NGO activities at Rio+10 in 2002 should be our first goal of outreach (check with BIC)
- network and co-ordinate with agencies, individuals, and various fora in the international scene.
Responsibility: IEF Board facilitates this, securing the assistance of IEF members.

[6.4] To organize seminars and institutes on specialized subjects.
- network with various and agencies and NGOs to organize joint seminars and workshops.
- offer to organize seminars or sessions within other peoples' meetings,such as associations of Baha'i studies, summer schools or institutes, concentrating on the session content, with a few members contributing.
- organize a seminar on socioeconomic development in a northern context within 2 years, for example in collaboration with Landegg, covering the whole range from studying the messages from the House of Justice in detail to considering practical projects and hearing of those already in place.
- encourage small networks on special topics, with an enthusiastic volunteer at the core of each one.
- stimulate subgroups or discussions on particular topics where interested members could share experiences, quotations, etc. and leading to a brochure or compilation.
Responsibility: The Board (for the seminars) and individual IEF Members.

[6.5] To encourage environmental research and scholarship.
- pursue this in collaboration with other Baha'i institutions such as ABS, Landegg Academy, Nur Univeristy etc.: to suggest a special issue on environment and sustainable development with the ABS in Canada/US within say 2-3 years time. The IEF could provide reviewers as well as encourage members to start writing papers, co-organize a SIG (special interest group) of the ABS in the UK together with BASED.
- professionals who belong to other institutions, movements and organizations can influence them through their individual approaches.
- hold a minimum of one Regional electronic IEF Forum per year (Africa, North America, South America),
- stimulate individuals to undertake research, such as by inviting people to prepare papers for our conferences, offering to publish good work on our web site, and offering prizes to young researchers (best paper awards) which could be largely symbolic but worth mentioning in their CVs.
- the editorial group could encourage good scholarship by careful review of papers submitted to it.
Responsibility: IEF Board, the editorial group and individual members.

[6.6] To prepare papers, materials and publications for children, youth and adults that convey and illustrate the Bahá'í perspective.
- aim to publish our first book by mid 2002 (for the Rio+10). Possible in cooperation with BIC-OE or one of the Bahai publishing trusts. Center it on values and environment (relatingdirectly and indirectly to the Earth Charter), pick the best papers from the four first IEF conferences and set the authors at work to improve them according to the editorial groups/editors instructions. Commission additional papers to glue it together. The editor/s has to write introductory and/or closing chapter.
- publish a proper pamphlet on IEF, and on some basic themes.
- publish pamphlets, education materials, articles in simple language for Baha'i newsletters, articles promoting the World Environment Day etc.
- contact interested IEF members who have experience in various subject areas to provided their services. Identify an individual or a group of individuals who would be willing to co-ordinate this.
- distribute the materials provided to various target groups.
- aim to produce an environmental book for children or junior youth.
Responsibility: IEF Educational Materials Working Group.

[6.7] To exchange information through periodical publications and by electronic media.
- produce four issues per year of the newsletter LEAVES, and "buds or sprouts" in between. The buds could be delegated outside the board (as well as the newsletter).
- develop a plan for the use of the web site in various additional ways to exchange information, hopefully with volunteers to take responsibility for some parts of it
­To facilitate a minimum of two electronic conferences per year on specially selected environmental topics and discuss these in relation to the Baha'i Writings.
Responsiblity: IEF Board to follow this up. An individual IEF Member could be assigned the responsibility of contacting members for contributions and putting them in the Web site and others for organising the eletronic conferences.

[6.8] To maintain an annotated directory of the members of the Forum.
Responsibility: IEF Board

RESPONSIBILITIES [see above, in part]

The board should evaluate its progress against the plan every year in determining its annual work plan. At the end of 4 years the board should organize an in-depth evaluation of the plan and prepare a new draft plan for consultation and adoption at the next General Assembly.

- the board should try to have one physical meeting per year.
- develop a logo, letterheads, business cards etc. to be ready in two years for the Rio+10.
- establish mechanisms to engage as many members as possible in the work, using each of their talents, improving the structure of working groups and delegation outside the board.
­ develop a plan for attracting more members
­ develop a structure of individual IEF members as national focal points for information
Responsibility: IEF Board.


Last updated 4 April 2004