AGM minutes 2018

Minutes of the 40th Annual General Meeting of the Ornithological Society of the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Date of meeting: 30th June 2018

Location of meeting: The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, England, IP24 2PU.

  1. Apologies for absence

The following apologies were noted:

Chris Hughes, Pat and John Bartley, Stephen Menzie, Peter Hellyer, Mike Jennings.

  1. Minutes of the 39th Annual General Meeting 2017.

The minutes of the 39th Annual General Meeting were accepted as an accurate record of the meeting, which took place in 2017. 

  1. Matters arising – there were no matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting.
  1. Chairman’s overview of 2017, presented by Rob Sheldon, OSME Chairman.

Birds of the Middle East publication

The Arabic version of the Birds of the Middle East was a major piece of work for OSME in 2017. This was a team effort, however special thanks must go to AbdulRahman Al SIrhan Alenezi (OSME web manager) for translating the text, Ibrahim Khader, Sharif Jbour, Nabegh Ghazal Asswad and Akram Darwish for overseeing the editing and to Chris Hughes for keeping the project within budget. Jim Martin of Bloomsbury Publishing and Richard Porter were instrumental in making the Arabic version a reality.

Conservation Fund

Funding of conservation projects continues to increase, with 2017 being another record-breaking year as £15,792 (unaudited figure) was given to projects.  This includes OSME’s first funding of a project in Tajikistan. This is the third consecutive year OSME has spent a record amount on conservation projects. This is largely due to an anonymous donor, support from the Tides Foundation and ongoing contributions from members and supporters.

Illegal Bird Killing

Working with Birdlife International, the work has started to identify the extent of illegal bird killing in the Arabian Peninsula.  The results are being analysed and it is hoped that OSME will be able to report on the findings of this important piece of work during 2018/19.

OSME Summer meeting and AGM 2017

The meeting once again held at the Nunnery and featured an excellent range of speakers.  During the meeting, AbdulRahman Al Sirhan was made the first OSME honorary Life Fellow for his work voluntarily translating the Birds of the Middle East book. Thanks were also expressed to the British Trust for Ornithology, which allows OSME to host their AGM on their premises and to their staff who support OSME council members in making arrangements for the meeting.

Sandgrouse journal

The journal, which continues to be highly regarded, is published twice a year thanks to the hard work of Sandgrouse editor Peter Cowan and his team.  A special 50th anniversary edition was produced this year to celebrate OSME’s 50th anniversary.  This is available here at the meeting today and will be sent to members.


OSME is a membership organisation which relies heavily on membership fees and donations. For the last decade, membership has declined slightly each year, in line with trends for all bird clubs. 2017 has seen some stabilisation and OSME council hopes to take steps in 2018 and going forward, to reverse this trend.

Thank yous

Thank you to OSME members for their continued support.  The membership fees and donations really do make a difference. Council members all work on a voluntary basis. Thank you to all OSME council members for their input and hard work in making OSME an incredible well-run society that punches above its weight. 

Questions arising:

A member (name not noted) asked: ‘Which countries have not received funding and what are you doing about it?’

Rob Sheldon advised that Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait and Turkmenistan are currently the only countries which have yet to receive funding and that OSME Council and the Conservation Fund Committee are actively seeking applications from those countries. 

  1. Treasurer’s report for the financial year 01.04.2017 to 31.12.2017, presented by John Warr (joint OSME Treasurer.)


2017 was a very successful year, during which OSME completed a full operational programme and increased net assets by 55% to just under £50k.


Income was increased by nearly 60%, compared with 2016 and we continued to diversify to revenue streams, to become less reliant on membership fees.


Expenditure was increased by 40%, compared with 2016. Conservation Fund expenditure was increased, with £15,792 awarded to 8 projects in 7 countries. Expenditure on Sandgrouse was maintained with the production of 2 issues.

OSME membership

The number of OSME members continued to decline, with 564 members renewing or joining in 2017. Current overall membership stands at 660.

The accounts have been examined by Mike Jennings (former OSME Treasurer) in full compliance with the requirements of the Charity Commission.  Thank you to Mike Jennings for his continued support.

Questions arising following the presentation of accounts:

Doug Radford asked: ‘The gift aid figure in the presentation is different to what is on the printed sheet shared at the AGM.  Which figure is correct?

John Warr said: The single gift aid figure in the presentation is the sum of the two gift aid figures on the printed sheet.

The acceptance of the accounts was proposed by Dawn Balmer and seconded by Dominic Mitchell and carried unanimously.

RS expressed thanks to John Warr and Chris Hughes (joint OSME Treasurers) for their excellent management of OSME finances.

Appointment of accounts examiner for 2018. 

It was agreed that Mike Jennings would continue as the auditor of the OSME accounts for 2018.

  1. Election of officers

Irene Sabiniarz – stepped down as Secretary at the end of 2017.

RS explained that Sajidah Ahmad had been co-opted as Secretary at end of Nov 2017

Sal Cooke proposed that Sajidah be elected as OSME Secretary.  This was seconded by Ian Harrison and carried unanimously.

RS noted that a further 2-3 people are required to support OSME work.  If members know of someone who is interested, please contact Rob Sheldon during the meeting or via email.

  1. AOB – nothing was raised.

The meeting was called to an end at 14.57.