Biannual General Meeting

Biannual General Meeting

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Friends of the Earth member
groups vote during the
2008 Biannual General Meeting.

The Biannual General Meetings of Friends of the Earth International are some of the most exciting gatherings in which I have participated. With representatives from so many countries around the world, it shapes up like a mini United Nations — one fighting for environmental and global justice! We all come from different parts of the world, with different languages and sometimes different approaches, but we all share a strong common vision of the way the world could be, and a commitment to mobilize, resist and transform. 

For the past two years, I have served on the Friends of the Earth International’s Executive Committee -– a group of nine representatives from member groups elected at the Biannual General Meeting to oversee the functioning of the federation. We, along with the International Secretariat, also work to make sure the Biannual General Meeting runs smoothly so that the decisions of the federation can be made.  We vote to accept new members, approve programs and campaigns, approve the budget, and elect the President of Friends of the Earth International and the next Executive Committee. The meetings also provide valuable time to discuss and plan strategies for communications, membership, and programs.

This year, we were lucky to accept 8 new member groups from Mexico, Liberia, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, and Timor Lorosae, bringing our total to 77 countries. We endorsed our programs and campaigns on climate and energy justice, economic justice, food sovereignty, forests and biodiversity, mining, agrofuels, and gender. We explored possible ways to fundraise for our federation that will allow us to accomplish our goals without compromising our values. We also elected a new President for our federation – Nnimmo Bassey from Nigeria. We also elected the next Executive Committee -– which I will be serving on again, and decided the site for our next Biannual General Meeting –- Malaysia in 2010.

The Friends of the Earth International federation is much like a global family – one that voluntarily comes together across borders and cultures united in a fight for a cleaner, healthier, more just world. Being able to spend time with people who are dedicating their lives to this work, whichever part of the world they are from, is a most inspirational experience. I am very honored to be a part of this federation and to be able to contribute my time to making it as strong and vibrant as possible.