AGM minutes 2019


  1. Apologies for absence & welcome

Apologies: None recorded

Attendees: MEMBERS (47)

Sajidah Ahmad,  Vaughan Ashby,  Svetlana Ashby,  Mark Baker,  Chris Balchin,  Pat Bartley,  John Bartley,  Mike Blair,  Dennis Buisson,  Peter Castell,  Elaine Cowan,  Peter Cowan,  David Darrell-Lambert,  Mike Dawson,  Paul Donald,  David Fisher,  Alan Graham,  Andrew Grieve,  Ian Harrison,  Phil Heath,  Chris Hughes,  Kabir Kaul,  Guy Kirwan,  Georgia Locock,  Stephen Menzie,  Nick Moran,  Deborah Newman,  Frank O’Connell,  Daniel Owen,  Bernard Pleasance,  Richard Price,  Julia Porter,  Richard Porter,  Bev Randall,  Geoff Randall,  Nigel Redman,  Mike Reed,  Steve Rooke,  Judy Ross,  Rob Sheldon,  Bernard Siddle,  Paul Stancliffe,  David Tomney,  Cliff Waller,  Effie Warr,  John Warr  + 1 (signature illegible).


Heather Baker, Angela Buisson, Penny Cox, Brenda Graham, Mr & Mrs Kaul & Aryan, David Noble, Jackie O’Connell, Derek Robertson

  1. Matters arising – none
  2. The minutes from the previous year’s AGM (2018) were accepted as an accurate record of the meeting.
  3. Chairman’s overview of 2018 (calendar year.)


  • The Birds of the Middle East app was launched in April 2019 on iPhone.
  • App developed by Nature Guides

Conservation fund

  • £17,349 was given to projects throughout the region, making this a record year in terms of conservation fund spend.
  • Main donors to the fund are: Tides Foundation: March Fund, Avifauna Nature Tours and an Anonymous donor.

Youth development

  • Council member Tomas Haraldsson was appointed as a Youth Development Officer
  • Bird camps were held in Azerbaijan and Lebanon.
  • Council has agreed to establish a youth development fund.


  • OSME continues to grow its social media presence with 4,000 followers on Twitter and 2,000 on Facebook
  • OSME Birdnet is used by many members to discuss ongoing developments in the region
  • The website continues to host regular guest blogs, many from people within the region.


  • Volume 40 of the journal was published
  • A special 50-year anniversary edition and a region checklist was also published.
  • Back issues up to volume 37 are available on the BHL website.
  • An extensive report on Illegal Bird Killing in the region will be published in the next edition of Sandgrouse.


  • OSME was represented at the Flyways summit in Abu Dhabi by Rob Sheldon.
  • The Annual General meeting took place in June 2018.
  • OSME was also present at Birdfair in 2018.


  • Overall governance is strong, and the society’s financial position is good.
  • Council met 3 times in 2018.
  • Risk register is in place and updated regularly.
  • All activities are in line with OSME’s status as a registered charity.
  • Sajidah Ahmad was appointed as Secretary and Georgia Locock was co-opted to Council.

Financial update (presented by Chris Hughes.)

  • OSME has ended the year (2018) in its strongest financial position to date.
  • During the year, the society received a significant legacy from the late Trevor Poyser, which will be directed to a standalone fund.
  • An anonymous donor also donated an additional £15,000 to be split across the Conservation Fund (10k) and Youth Development (5k) funds.
  • GiftAid continues to provide a good income source, with more than £8,000 received during the year.
  • The aim is to increase conservation fund spending year on year, exceeding £20,000 in 2020.
  • The accounts were examined by Mike Jennings.
  • Sandgrouse will now also be available digitally.

Question from member: Is it possible to give Sandgrouse to young members free of charge?

Chris Hughes: We don’t currently do this, but it is something we are considering.  As far as we are concerned, the more people that read Sandgrouse the better.

  • The accounts were formally adopted by the members.
  • Mike Jennings was confirmed as the examiner of the accounts for 2019.

Election of Officers

  • Paul Donald and Georgia Locock were nominated by Richard Porter and seconded by Nick Moran and duly elected to Council by a unanimous vote.
  • Rob Sheldon asked members to consider volunteering to support OSME as Council members.


Richard Porter:  Are there more people we can support as ‘supported members?

Rob Sheldon: Yes, Birdcamp attendees will provide a pool of people who could potentially be supported members.

Richard Porter: New VPs have not been appointed for a considerable number of years.

Rob Sheldon: We are reviewing the role of VPs with a view to bolstering their input within the next 6 months.

Guy Kirwan:  Has OSME considered setting up a carbon off-set scheme?

Rob Sheldon: This is not something that we have discussed, but we will add it to a Council meeting agenda within the next 12 months.

GK suggested that Eric Hirschfeld and the World Land Trust may have some learnings to share about this, so he/they may be a good person/organisation to speak with to find out more.