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network development

bi-annual general meeting 2004

In 2004, Friends of the Earth International undertook major steps towards developing new internal processes aimed at making us a truly democratic, global, grassroots environmental network. Although this is not a simple task, as we learned during the period of conflict and internal tension in the previous year, it is a fascinating one. There is no one way to achieve this goal, but many, as well as many interpretations and ideas about what it means to be truly democratic, global and grassroots .

At the 2003 Extraordinary General Meeting in Cartagena , convened to assist the federation in managing diversity and conflict resolution, more than 150 proposals and ideas about how to run the network were discussed and approved. In 2004, the member groups, the Executive Committee and the International Campaign Coordinators reviewed these proposals, organized them into themes, and structured the follow-up steps needed to ensure that the federation would implement all of the decisions. The ExCom ultimately grouped the proposals under six themes: solidarity and alliance building; political differences; decision making; internal leadership and guidance; FoEI identity; and participation.

All of these themes were explored further at the 2004 Bi-annual General Meeting (BGM) from 27 September to 2 October in Stubicke Toplice , Croatia . Some issues were resolved by changing the existing bylaws. For other issues, however, it became clear that solutions that could be endorsed by the whole federation needed a longer discussion process.

To deal with more fundamental underlying issues, such as how to deal with political diversity, the identity of Friends of the Earth International, and the role of the network in the global social movement, the BGM decided to embark on a first-ever, two-year process of strategic visioning and planning. Year one is dedicated to articulating our vision, mission and values, and linking these to major strategies. This process has started at the regional level, with each region discussing its own vision framework, and all groups will come together in September 2005 in Penang , Malaysia to develop a shared global vision for the network. In the second year, groups will seek to align our processes and activities with the broad vision framework agreed upon in year one. We will also develop a method to implement and measure the impact of our strategies during this time.

Friends of the Earth International is committed to developing a global federation in which all member groups have equal opportunities to participate and to decide upon policies, strategies and operations. Finally, we are committed to being open, to experimenting with new methods, and to learning from our successes as well as our failures

major changes during the bgm

Friends of the Earth International gained five new associate members at the 2004 Bi-annual General Meeting: Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), Voor Moeder Aarde from Flanders (Belgium), Asociación para la Promoción y el Desarrollo de la Comunidad (CEIBA) from Guatemala, Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network (PENGON), and Yonge Nawe Environmental Action Group from Swaziland . Two new affiliate members joined the federation: CorpWatch and Blue Planet Project of the Council of Canadians. The memberships of FoE Benin and FoE Greece were discontinued. The meeting elected Meena Raman of Friends of the Earth Malaysia as the new Chairperson, and a new Executive Committee was elected with members from Colombia ; Croatia ; England , Wales and Northern Ireland ; Japan ; Nigeria ; Switzerland ; Togo ; and Uruguay . Cam Walker from Australia and Jenia Jofre from Chile were elected Ombudspersons, to assist in conflict resolution.

The BGM also identified six priority international campaigns for the period from 2004 to 2006: Climate Change; Trade, Environment and Sustainability; International Financial Institutions; Corporates; GMOs; and Forests.

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