AGM Minutes 2022

Minutes of the 44th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING, held online by Zoom, on Saturday 26th November 2022

Members present:

  1. Apologies: Sal Cooke, Elaine Cowan, Richard Porter, Doug Radford, Alexander Scherbina, Arend Wassink
  2. Minutes of the 43rd Annual General Meeting (19th June 2021)

Acceptance of the Minutes was carried unanimously via a Zoom poll

  • Matters arising

There were no matters arising

  • Chairman’s overview of 2021

Dr Rob Sheldon (RS), OSME Chairman, reminded members that full details are available in the Trustees Report which is on the OSME website and that he would only outline key achievements at the AGM. Further details were also included in a Chairman’s blog posted on the OSME website on the 8th January 2022, and also in the Chairman’s Letter published in Sandgrouse 44(1)

Despite the ongoing global pandemic, it was another record-breaking year for the Conservation Fund with £22,925 awarded to nine projects across the region. In addition, a Trevor Poyser Species Conservation Fund grant was made to the Association for Bird Conservation in Lebanon (ABCL) for a project on the globally Vulnerable Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus

RS thanked the independent committee for reviewing all project applications and making recommendations to the OSME Council. Throughout 2021 the committee was chaired by Dr Maxim Koshkin with expert input from Dr Nabegh Ghazal Asswad, Sharif Jbour, Richard Porter, Hana Raza and Maïa Sarrouf Willson. After many years of advice and support, Richard Porter stepped down at the end of 2021, and Dr Alyona Koshkina from ACBK in Kazakhstan joined the committee.

OSME’s Youth Development Fund, overseen by Tomas Haraldsson, had a strong year despite the challenges of the Covid pandemic. Many people are making donations specifically to support our Youth Development Fund, and we are looking to grow this part of our work in the coming years.

An impressive total of £34,634 was spent on all of our small grants programmes combined.

Two bumper issues of our highly respected journal Sandgrouse were published, totalling 340 pages. The spring issue was themed around bird migration in the OSME region and included a review of migratory soaring bird monitoring in the East African-Eurasian flyway. Our digital version of Sandgrouse continued to attract more subscribers, and by the end of the year, more than 50 members switched to this option, saving approximately £600 a year in postage costs, which has been used to increase our conservation expenditure.

In addition to the AGM, we also held two online meetings throughout 2021, that enabled us to attract speakers from Egypt, Iraq, Oman, Syria, Turkey and Uzbekistan – something not previously possible using the face-to-face meeting format.

A key development in 2021 was the launch of a new quarterly OSME e-newsletter which is free to all that subscribe via the OSME home-page. The OSME Facebook page went from strength to strength and passed 4000 followers in December. OSME also invested in upgrading and updating our free Arabic Birds of the Middle East App, which continues to be downloaded across the region.

Finally, RS thanked all OSME members, corporate sponsors and donors who have continued to support OSME’s activities.

  • Presentation and adoption of the Accounts for 2021

Chris Hughes (CH), Joint Treasurer, highlighted the following:

Paying membership remained stable with a notable increase in supported members. Donations increased to a record £38,000. OSME’s administration costs are at their lowest level for 10 years and we expect them to continue to fall. As outlined in the accounts our year-end balance was £92,000. Our finances remain strong going into 2022. CH thanked all members, donors and corporate sponsors for their continued support.

The Treasurer’s Report and the Accounts (which had been available on the OSME website) were formally voted on and adopted by the members present (via a Zoom poll) and will be passed to the Charity Commission.

  • Appointment of Accounts Examiner for 2022

Mike Jennings was formally approved by the members present to continue as Accounts Examiner (gratis) for the 2022 Accounts (unanimously via a Zoom poll)

  • Constitution Review

CH briefly mentioned that OSME Council will be reviewing the Constitution during the coming year and any revisions will be presented to the members at the AGM in 2023

  • Election of Officers

Marko Halonen was proposed as a new Council member to fulfil the role of Secretary. Tomas Haraldsson was proposed to return to Council as OSME’s Youth Development Officer. Both were proposed by Nick Moran and seconded by Phil Roberts and were unanimously elected via a Zoom poll.

  • Any other business

No other business was raised. RS took the opportunity to thank OSME members for their support over the last year. RS also thanked OSME Council members for all their work over the last 12 months.

The meeting was concluded at 10.49am.