updated January 2017
Updated August 2018
The 2017 Biennial Assembly took place October in Illmitz, Burgenland, Austria. The venue for our meetings was the Neusidler See Seewinkel National Park. Our tour visited sites in both sides of the See – with the Seewinkel National Park of Austria to the east of the See and the Ferto-Hansag National Park in Hungary to the south and west of the See. The area marks the transition from the Eastern Alps to the Hungarian Lowlands (the Puszta) and is an area of great diversity of flora and fauna with wet meadows, reeds and water attracting many rare migratory birds between Northern Europe and Africa.
We held a very short International Committee held the evening before the Biennial Assembly. ECOVAST has gone through a difficult period when many people were unable to come to meetings because of the economic recession although we have still managed to continue to raise the ECOVAST profile at international gatherings. The latest meetings in Illmitz were lively and full of enthusiasm with several new people agreeing to serve on the International Committee.
It is very sad to record that Angus Fowler of Germany passed away in December 2017 just after he had been to a meeting of the European Cultural Forum in Milan. Angus was not only was he a founder member of ECOVAST and an active member since that time he was also a good friend and he will be very much missed by both ECOVAST International and ECOVAST Germany.
ECOVAST makes a new informal partnership with the Economic Forum Programme Council (ECPC) in April 2018. The Institute for Eastern Studies (known as the Economic Forum) based in Warsaw, Poland has been responsible for staging a major conference which has attracted the participation of heads of states, representatives of government and parliament, presidents of the biggest companies, experts, science and local government representatives. The institute was founded in 1990 and the Economic Forum meets every September and over the last few years it can attract around 4,000 attendees from the majorities of countries of geographical Europe. It debates current issues of world economy, policy and society. Since 2015 it has also been responsible for 2 other major conferences - a European Congress for Local Governments which meets in the spring in Krakow; and an Industry Forum which meets in the winter in the mountain of Karpacz. The Economic Forum events - which are built around a series of different platforms with workshop presentations from many countries - have been organised by 'The Economic Forum Programme Council' (EFPC). ECOVAST has been invited to some of these events and attended and spoken at conferences in 2015, 2016, 2017. In April 2018 Valerie Carter was invited to meet the Chairman of the EFPC, Zygmunt Berdychowski, in Krakow and ECOVAST was given a formal invitation to the 28th Forum event in 2018 in September and a request for ECOVAST and the EFPC to become 'informal partners' and advertise the work of each other's organisation by using our logos on websites and letters.
Valerie Carter, supported by Michael Dower and Angus Fowler, has been engaged in recording the history of ECOVAST since March 1984. It is a tribute to the work of ECOVAST individual members and the National Sections and shows just how remarkable our organisation has been in promoting our interests in the wide variety of issues we have been involved with. There is an opportunity now to revive our efforts and look to our future work.
The history report is in two parts
Work on the history is still ongoing and the final version will be completed for our 35th birthday in March 2019.