AGM minutes 2016

Minutes of the 38th Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 2nd July at the premises of the British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk, UK

Members Present, Nabegh Ghazal Asswad, Dawn Balmer, Mike Blair, Colin Butler, Chris Clarke, Elaine Cowan, Peter Cowan, Andrew Grieve, Tomas Haraldsson, Ian Harrison, Phil Heath, Mike Jennings, Brian Meadows, Stephen Menzie, Nick Moran, John Mortemore, Yoav Perlman, Bernard Pleasance, Julia Porter, Richard Porter, Richard Price, Beverley Randall, Geoff Randall, Judith Ross, Irene Sabiniarz, Rob Sheldon, Robin Snape, Paul Stancliffe, Cliff Waller, Effie Warr, John Warr, Linda Wintle.

1. Apologies for absence had been received from: AbdulRahman Al-Sirhan Alenezi, Pat and John Bartley, Keith Betton, Phil Cannings, Sal Cooke, Helen Demopoulos, Hanne Eriksen, Jens Eriksen, Mick Green, Chris Hughes, Andrew Lassey, Dominic Mitchell, David Murdoch, Chris Murphy, Daniel Owen, Dora Querido, Michael Walters

2. Minutes of the 37th Annual General Meeting held on 4th July 2015. Acceptance was proposed by Ian Harrison, seconded by Mike Jennings and carried unanimously. Rob Sheldon signed them as a true record of the meeting.

3. Matters arising. There were no matters arising.

4. Chairman’s overview of 2015 had been circulated as a flyer with Sandgrouse 38 (1) and was available at the meeting. The Chairman thanked all OSME council members and supporters for their help during 2015. The key points from 2015 summarised as:

·       OSME contributed to 2 significant projects; 1) a preliminary assessment of the scope and scale of illegal killing and taking of birds in the Mediterranean. The project was led by BirdLife International and resulted in an excellent scientific paper, a summary report and a range of awareness raising materials.

2) Continued to work with BirdLife Middle East, Bloomsbury Press and Richard Porter on the translation of the Field Guide to the Birds of the Middle East. The funds are largely in place for the book and fundraising for the smartphone app will begin in 2016. 

·       The OSME 2020 strategy is at the final draft stage and will be available for Birdfair 2016.

·       At the British Birdwatching Fair we signed an MoU with BirdLife International to further our collaboration across the OSME region.

·       It was a record year for the Conservation and Research Fund with £10,450 allocated to 8 conservation projects throughout the region. For the first time we also jointly funded a project with the Oriental Bird Club. 

·       Our presence on social media continues to grow with more than 2100 Twitter followers, 1000 Facebook likes, and a steady growth in visitors to the OSME website. The OSME Birdnet Yahoo discussion group has more than 550 subscribers.

·       Two issues of our journal Sandgrouse were produced to an incredibly high standard and we are grateful to Peter Cowan and his editorial team for their continued hardwork.

·       OSME arranged or participated in three public events during 2015; the Summer Meeting and 37th AGM, Birdfair, and a joint winter meeting with British Ornithologists’ Club and the Natural History Museum. All events were deemed a success and were an excellent way of meeting and engaging with our members and supporters.  

·       Most books, reports and papers that formed the OSME library were transferred to the BTO.

 5. Presentation and adoption of the Accounts for 2015/Appointment of Accounts Examiner for 2016.

A leaflet with the summarised accounts for 2015 was distributed at the meeting and the contents, with additional detail, were described in a graphical presentation by John Warr, Joint Treasurer. He drew attention to the following:

  • Overall income increased by 11% and expenditure increased by 15%
  • Reserves fell by 7%. This was a conscious decision by OSME Council to increase spending on the Conservation and Research Fund. We continue to maintain our Reserve Fund at £12k.
  • Income from membership subscriptions and Gift Aid were slightly down on the previous year
  • Expenditure on Sandgrouse stayed the same including editorial expenses of £3000. OSME are most grateful to Peter Cowan who returns these expenses each year as a donation.
  • The increase in fundraising costs during 2015 were higher than usual due to expenditure on the Birds of the Middle East Field Guide project.
  • Membership subscriptions and donations remain our biggest source of income.  
  • Membership numbers have steadily declined and now stand at 669 members + 50 institutes = 719.

John Warr thanked Mike Jennings for examining the 2015 accounts (gratis) and explained that Mike was willing to act as Accounts Examiner for 2016. Acceptance of the accounts and Mike Jennings as Accounts Examiner for 2016 was proposed by Dawn Balmer, seconded by Brian Meadows, and carried unanimously.

  • A question from Linda Wintle – which bank account does OSME use and is it ethical? John Warr confirmed that we use Lloyds bank but wasn’t sure of it’s ethical stance. Linda Wintle asked if OSME would consider changing to a more ethical bank? Rob Sheldon said that OSME Council would look into this and report back to the AGM next year. 

6 – Election of officers:

Vice-Presidents: No nominations.

Council Members: There were two nominations for Council Membership – Tomas Haraldsson and Nick Moran  

Proposed by Stephen Menzie and seconded by Nabegh Ghazal Asswad – both were elected unanimously.

7 – Any other business.

  • A question from Linda Wintle – can OSME supply speakers to other organisations?  Rob Sheldon replied that we would if asked and if travel expenses and a donation to OSME were offered. 

There being no other business, the Meeting was closed at 14.47.