International Vegetarian Union (IVU)

8 - 14th November 2004
Costão do Santinho Resort & Spa
Santinho Beach - Florianópolis - Brazil

IVU General meeting, Brazil, 10 November 2004

1 Tina Fox welcomed participants, especially members of UVL - the newly formed regional organisation for Latin America and the Caribbean.

2 Saurabh Dalal outlined the meeting procedures and distributed voting slips to member organisations.

3. Chair's report (Tina Fox)

The International Vegetarian Union (IVU) exists to help vegetarian societies around the world and to support a network of vegetarian organisations. It was founded in 1908 and holds a World Congress every two years. The Council meets in person at the Congress and meets online between Congresses. A list
of current Councillors was presented:

Vanessa Clarke (United Kingdom)
Gerry Coffey (USA; Regional Coordinator for North America)
Saurabh Dalal (USA; Secretary)
John Davis (United Kingdom; Webmaster, non-voting)
Tina Fox (United Kingdom; Chair)
Robert Fraser (Australia; Regional Coordinator for Australasia)
P.K. Jain (Botswana; Regional Coordinator for Africa)
Maxwell Lee (United Kingdom)
Francisco Martin (Spain)
Kevin Pickard (Canada; Deputy Chair)
David Pye (United Kingdom; Treasurer)
Jashu Shah (India; Regional Coordinator for Asia)
Hildegund Scholvien (Germany)
Paul Turner (USA)
Marly Winckler (Brasil; Regional Coordinator for Latin America)

In the two years since the last General Meeting grants had been given to 3 groups (in Belgium, Italy and the USA) to support specific projects, grants had been given to three group to help them attend the Congress and a grant had been given to help set up the Brazil Congress. IVU had been registered as a not-for-profit company and hoped to gain charitable status in the UK. Its registered office is that of the Vegetarian Society of the UK.

4. Treasurer's Report (David Pye)

During 2002-3 IVU had a sterling and a dollar account, for the sake of clarity both accounts have been combined into sterling at the exchange rate prevailing at the year end. The dollar account was originally set up in 1999 to receive payments for the Thailand Congress. It was found that the account had become expensive to run for the amount of activity and very inflexible to use as it had no cheque book. The dollar account was closed on 7 July 2003 and all funds transferred to sterling. IVU is a UK registered not for profit company owned by its membership and limited by guarantee The company accounting year runs from 1st April to 31st March.

Income from subscriptions and associated donations for 2002-3 reached £4,557. Subscriptions always rise in a year when we have a congress and in 2002 we had the Edinburgh congress. Subscription income dipped in 2003-4 to £3,639 with around two thirds of this coming in via online payments on the IVU website. During 2002 IVU received a generous legacy of £10,000.

IVU has investments in a Lloyds TSB UK offshore gilt fund account and dividend income from this investment has been falling over the last five years due to reduced interest rates. 2002-3 dividends were £2,511 and 2003-4 were £2,930. Following a vote at the Edinburgh congress a further £25,000 was invested in the Gilt funds. The value of this investment at the 2003-4 year end was £64,723. Gilt funds are monies borrowed from the banks by the UK government and form part of the UK's national debt.

Bank interest on our account for 2002-3 was £130 but less cash in the account meant our bank interest dropped in 2003-4 to just £35.

IVU magazine production costs have been very low compared to previous years and in 2003-4 no magazine was printed at all.

The IVU website is very popular and an excellent vegetarian resource with a million pages accessed each month. Council took the decision to invest in updating this very important resource especially in the handling of membership data. The website costs around £2,500 per year to run and in 2002-3 we spent and extra £2,313 on upgrades and a further £1,760 in 2003-4.

Grants to other organisations to promote vegetarianism around the world amounted to £2,500 for 2002-3 and £2,914 for 2003-4. Other outgoings were the Edinburgh congress registration fees for councillors at £1,515 in 2002. The latter is the only benefit received by Council members who work as volunteers and pay their own travel, and accommodation for Congresses.

Income over expenditure for 2002-3 was £6,692 and for 2003-4 shows a deficit of £779. This deficit was due to the extra expenditure on grants and the website during that period and is in keeping with councils plans to give out more grants and use the £10,000 legacy money on promoting vegetarianism.

The total value of assets at year end March 2004 stands at £78,924. Despite falling interest rates the financial future for IVU is generally good with membership set to increase. I feel confident that IVU can continue to promote vegetarianism in the future and although our annual income is not high we do have the assurance of a sound financial basis to support our work.

Accounts for 2002-3 were prepared by an independent accountant at a cost of £494. Accounts for 2003-4 have not yet been passed to an accountant but it is intended to do this before they are due for submission to UK Companies House in January 2005. I ask that members vote in favour of accepting these accounts pending this submission in the new year.

David Pye (IVU treasurer)
November 2004

5. Web/internet report (John Davis)

For this congress all publicity had been online and payments could be made online from across the world - both for the first time. The high attendance indicated that this approach had been effective.

There was now a virtual office, making administration of IVU more efficient and cost effective, e.g. automated subscription renewals. The directory of vegetarian resources is now also kept up to date through an automatic renewal mechanism.

The website now includes extensive information on the history of IVU prepared by John Davis. A book is planned for the 2008 Congress.

6. International Council elections (Saurabh Dalal)

As there were fewer candidates (8) for Council than the number of elected members (10) there was no requirement for an email ballot of members, but the GM still needed to ratify (or exceptionally reject) candidates. Saurabh explained that if the meeting felt there were no contentious candidates, it was more efficient to vote for all the candidates as a group (en bloc) rather than one by one.

An en bloc vote was unanimously approved. The candidates for the International Council were then also unanimously approved:

Saurabh Dalal (USA), Tina Fox (UK), Nina Rosa Jacob (Brazil), Mitsuru Kakimoto (Japan), Lwere Kasibante (Uganda), Francisco Martin (Spain), David Pye (UK)

7. Alterations to the Articles of Association

These were notified to member organisations in advance. A 75% majority of those voting is required to make such alterations.

Background. All members of IVU are currently non-profit organisations whose primary purpose is the promotion of vegetarianism and who are governed by vegetarians. Council wished to add a new category of "associate members" to include organisations promoting vegetarianism who were ineligible for full
membership. Associate members would have all benefits of membership except for the right to vote or to nominate candidates for the International Council. All references to members in the articles and bylaws would be altered to avoid ambiguity given this new category of members.

This motion was carried by the General meeting without opposition.

8. Bylaws changes

Background: At present changes to subscription rates can only be made by the General meeting. The International Council felt that this restricted their ability to respond to changes such as the expansion of the number of business supporters and changes in the services available to such supporters. They were also seeking to simplify the subscription structure for other members. To facilitate this they asked that the Council be given the power to change subscriptions following a one month consultation period with members on each proposed change.

No questions were raised so the proposal was put to the vote and was unanimously approved.

9. World Vegetarian Congresses

Brazil 2004 (Tina Fox). The Congress had been switched from Singapore at short notice due to SARS and other issues. Marly Winckler and her team had stepped in to organise the Brazil congress and had brought a record 36 countries together to celebrate vegetarianism. Tina congratulated Marly and her team and the general meeting gave them a standing ovation.

India 2006 (Jashu Shah). Jashu invited all participants to the 37th World Congress to be held in Goa for one week between the 7th and 22nd of September at a hotel with a private beach. He expected six to seven hundred people and hoped that the President of India would address the Congress. The exact dates would be confirmed soon after a response from the President.

It was explained that the decision on the location for the 2008 Congress lay with this General Meeting and that Council was recommending Dresden in Germany as this was the location for the first IVU Congress in 1908 and the German Vegetarier Bund had a very good track record for organising congresses.

Germany 2008 (Hildegund Scholvien). The proposed congress would be held in the present Kulturpalast in the historical old town of Dresden, starting on 27 July 2008. The provisional program, including excursions to the Elbe valley and to the Meissen factory were presented. Accommodation costs ranged from 80 Euro per night for two people in a double in a local hotel to much lower rates for youth hostel or camping accommodation.

A proposal from Tina Fox to accept this proposal was unanimously accepted (the Vegetarier Bund organisers abstained).

10. Regional reports

Asia. Jashu Shah reported that there had been a regional Congress in Bangkok, that new vegetarian societies had formed in China and Thailand and that there were plans for a vegetarian society in Pakistan and for a further Asian congress.

Europe. Hildegund Scholvien reported that a vegetarian festival had been held as an alternative to the intended 2001 congress in Turkey which had been postponed. The European Vegetarian Union would celebrate its 20th anniversary next year and there would be an EVU Congress in Italy on the Adriatic coast near Rimini. The EVU Secretary, Herma Caelen, had been working hard on developing contacts with the European Union but this work was hard and slow to bear fruit. EVA from Belgium had achieved a major breakthrough by getting a government grant of 100,000 euros per year for five years and Hildi hoped this would lead to way to other organisations having similar successes in fundraising. She hoped to see many of the participants at this Congress at the EVU Congress in Italy next year organised by the Carmen Somaschi and the AVI.

North America. Gerry Coffey reported that the Vegetarian Union of North America had spent much of its time directing enquirers to appropriate vegetarian resources. Gerry thought that getting an up-to-date survey of vegetarians in the USA could generate much publicity, perhaps as effective as the Time magazine cover story which appeared two years ago. VUNA had made representations to Congress on the distribution of funds from McDonald's. Saurabh Dalal had worked with the US Department of Agriculture on including more vegetarian foods within the new diet guidelines. VUNA was seeking to develop a council of experts to produce authoritative press releases. VUNA elections would be held within the next few months.

Latin America and the Caribbean. Marly Winckler reported considerable progress. The Brazilian Vegetarian Society (SVB) was founded in 2003 and the present congress organised. Argentina had a strong vegetarian movement and recently held a meeting for 400 people. The movement in Bolivia was also strong and all the Latin American countries were doing something. Nine Latin American countries were represented at this Congress which had generated much publicity and after the Congress vegetarianism would have moved forward in Latin America.

There were no reports from Africa or Australasia.

Tina Fox encouraged all members to contact their regional coordinators and to work together.

11. IVU fellows

IVU fellows were individuals IVU wished to honour for their contribution. There were at most 12 fellows at any time and due to the death of Jan Beeldman last year there were only 11 now: Alex Hershaft, Brian Graff, Brian Gunn King, Francisco Martin, Howard Lyman, M I A Khalek, Madge Darnielle, Marcel Hebbelinck, Maxwell G Lee, Rudolf Meyer and Surendra Mehta.

John Davis presented the background to Council's recommendation that Jashu Shah be elected as a fellow. Jashu first became involved in the IVU in 1957 and by 1967 was secretary of the reception committee for an IVU Congress. In 1977 Jashu stepped in as joint organiser of an IVU congress held in
Bombay, Delhi and Madras. In 1982 he joined the International Committee and in 1986 became Regional Secretary for India and the Middle East. In 1997 he organised a regional congress and in 1999 founded the Asian Vegetarian Organisation. He has been a trustee of many other organisations.

Jashu was unanimously elected as a fellow, and thanked IVU, his family and his team in Bombay for their support.

12. Any other business

Francisco Martin noted that the FAO was promoting the use of insect protein in Africa and that the Italian Vegetarian Association (AVI) had prepared a response. He suggested that IVU adopt this response and send it to the FAO. Tina Fox welcomed the AVI initiative but felt it would be more effective for IVU to prepare its own response to complement that of the AVI.

The formation of the Union Vegetariano Latino (UVL) was announced. Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay had already joined.

A request for logistical and legal support for Bolivia and other Latin American organisations was made. Tina Fox noted that such requests were best pursued through the regional coordinators.

The meeting was closed.