GOB promotes the defence of environmental values and the balance between human activities and nature conservation
Camí des Castell 59, 07702 Maó (Illes Balears - Spain) Tel. (34) 971 350762 Fax. (34) 971 351865
What is GOB in Menorca? GOB is a non profit-making organisation which operates in the Balearic Islands. The Minorcan branch was established in 1977 and has achieved widespread acceptance, with more than 1,200 members on the island. Its principal objective is to preserve environmental values by making human activites more compatible with nature. It is an independent institution both politically and financially. Its aim is to exert an influence within the society by reinforcing democracy and so exercise the publicâ€™s right to voice its opinions and to take part in matters relating to the environment. Accordingly GOB is involved in monitoring environmental problems and proposing viable alternatives. GOB obtains its finances from diverse sources in order that its proposals may not be subject to outside influence. Usual sources of income are membersâ€™ subscriptions, donations, the marketing of educational material and providing environmental services.
GOB has been declared an organisation of Public Utility and has received various awards, such as the International DRV Prize of 1990, the International TUI Prize of 1996-97, the 1997 National Environmental Prize, the Balearic Island Gold Medal in 2002, the Ones Mediterrània Second Prize in 2006. The acronym GOB is derived from the original name of the organisation, Grup Ornitològic de Balears (Balearic Ornithological Group in English). The present official name of the organisation is Grup Balear d’Ornitologia i Defensa de la Naturalesa, but the original abbreviation has been retained for continuity.
What are our values? Enterprise: GOB intends to keep a close check on events in the wider society in order to detect environental problems and to propose innovative solutions.
Change the Society: The work currently undertaken is aimed above all at the public, with the clear objective of transmitting GOBâ€™s environmental philosophy to the wider society.
Focus on Results: Our work is focussed on achieving measurable results in conserving environmental values.
Change Personal attitudes: We want to stimulate a change in people that encourages more favourable attitudes to the compatibility of the environment with human activities.
Independence: Our actions are totally independent of any political party, institution or commercial organisation.
Consistency: We try to apply the criteria of environmental improvement to all activities undertaken by GOB itself.
Criticism with Alternatives: Wherever a critical position has to be taken in a particular case, we always try to provide a viable alternative that will produce a more favourable environmental outcome.
Ethos of Service: GOB was founded to provide a service to society, and tries to provide a positive input within its sphere of activity. The organisation has a clear vocation of service in the common interest and in achieving sustainability.
Effectiveness: Our actions are geared towards achieving real progress that promotes a better coexistence between the human race and environmental values.
Reliable Information: The veracity of all data used by the organisation is rigourously checked before use.
Efficiency: We favour systems that adapt the solution to the means available.
Increase Capability: GOB intends to contribute in the push towards increased sustainability, and will adopt all available measures to that end.
Economy: A basic premise of our work is the best use of resources, be they material or economic. Wherever possible use is made of secondhand materials and waste is kept to a minimum. Nevertheless, every effort is made to maintain a high standard in order to avoid any appearance of amateurism.
Encourage Participation: We promote transparency and communication with our members and supporters, encourage their participation, and stimulate their integration into group activities as consultants, helpers and managers.
Encourage Public participation: A major goal of the organisation is to promote a society that is more aware of the environmental challenges that face it.
An organisation which learns: GOB puts in place systems and a culture that ensure that knowledge is embodied not only in its members, but also in the organisation itself.
What subjects do we address? ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY: Concerning the use of land and natural resources, analysing the consequences of human activities and promoting alternatives aimed at sustainability
BIODIVERSITY: This is directed towards knowledge and conservation of wild animals and plants, establishing priorities in conservation work and dealing with areas neglected by other public or private agencies.
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Creating and promoting educational programmes for various audiences in an attempt to improve awareness of environmental issues.
LAND STEWARDSHIP:The philosophy of Land Stewardship intends to regain both the private and voluntary initiatives in the conservation of environmental values.
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY Planning for Land use: We study all planning proposals which could affect future use of land with the greatest environmental value, and monitor the various applications, offering objections and suggestions. Planning decisions are the cause of most environmental problems in Minorca.
Agriculture and Fishing: We seek the involvement of the social and economic agencies dealing with these matters in order to promote the greatest possible balance between the financial viability of these activities and the preservation of environmental values. The extensive traditional stockbreeding activities have been one of the greatest allies in conserving Minorcaâ€™s values.
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY Natural Resources: We are carrying out a study of the water resources, promoting the use of clean energy, the reduction and re-cycling of refuse, and monitoring activities which produce contamination. Solar panels installed on the GOB headquarters in Ma贸.
Tourism: We assess the impact and potential of the considerable tourist activity on the island. We encourage visitors to respect the environment and direct them towards the special local characteristics of Minorca.
Vindicative action for the Inland Coast Management Plan at Binigaus beach..
BIODIVERSITY Awareness campaign to free captive mediterranean tortoises.
Sign indicating a No Hunting area
Vet treating an injured hedgehog.
GOB creates and operates conservation projects based on studies of the dynamics of animal and plant populations which are diminishing or under threat.
Hunting: We stimulate the creation of game reserves by means of agreements with land-owners and the relevant authority (Consell de Caça) based on sustainability criteria.
Wild Animal Recovery Centre: This deals with the collection, veterinary attention and convalescence of injured wild animals, and also provides environmental education and public awareness programmes.
BIODIVERSITY Indigenous Plant Nursery:
An initiative based on social and environmental criteria which produces and sells native plants and promotes their use for landscaping and replanting. Courses on sustainable gardening are offered to interested parties.
General Herbarium of Minorca:
The Es Viver nursery, established in 1999 at the Mestral-Caritas base.
Responsible for collecting seeds and plant specimens and for the painstaking compilation of the General Herbarium of Minorca, a task undertaken by specialist botanical volunteers.
The General Herbarium of Minorca is supported by the Minorcan Research Institute (Institut MenorquĂ dâ€™Estudis).
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION Environmental
We create and make available environmental education activities. They are designed for schools and other interested groups in the island that request them. Students taking part in a workshop on food chains organised by GOB
Publishing: GOB has a tradition of publishing educational material on the islandâ€™s fauna and flora (stories, CD Roms, guides and books).
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION Green
We provide assessment to schools to become more green, taking into account structural and educational aspects. The water from this well come from the rainfall. It will supply water to the vegetable garden of the school.
The Nature Centre of Minorca, established in 1998, welcomes some 6 or 7 thousand visitors each year, especially tourists and students.
Minorca’s Nature Centre:
This installation in Ferreries has been created to promote the natural and cultural values of the island by means of temporary exhibitions and other activities aimed both at residents and tourists.
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION The King’s Mill: This 18th Century windmill, that forms part of the historic and artistic heritage of Mahon, was acquired and restored by GOB. It is the present headquarters of the organisation and a cultural centre that stages presentations on environmental themes.
The restored King’s Mill, in 2004
Menorca on foot: We want to give people the opportunity to get to know the island of Minorca better, and to learn to love it. We organized free excursions every month open to everybody who wishes to participate. One of the monthly excurisons organized by GOB.
The use of indegenous breeds is encouraged at the Sustainable Agricultural Practices Agreement.
The “nansa” a traditional fishing art.
Sustainable Agricultural Practices Agreement: This is initially a voluntary agreement between two parties: the farm or estate and GOB. Both parties agree to work together to try to achieve the most from a series of measures which have been identified as potentially beneficial not only to economic viability but also to the conservation of natural values. Marine Stewardship: Marine stewardhip is a new conservation strategy that uses voluntary agreements between different stakeholders in order to conserve natural cultural and scenic marine resources. Marine stewardhip looks for innovative ways for civil society to participate in marine conservation, through NGO's, fishermen and local administration.
How is GOB structured? Members' Assembly: Endorses the selection of island and inter-island presidents, alterations to statutes and other matters of major importance. An Annual General Meeting is held which all persons associated with the organisation are welcome to attend. Board of Directors: This analyses the overall strategy and assesses the overall progress of the organisation. It is made up of some twenty members and at its meetings other workers may come and express their views but may not vote. Standing Committee: This is composed of some of the members of the Board of Directors and meets once a month in order to agree and implement the day to day decisions of the organisation.
Executive Committee: This meets weekly and co-ordinates GOBâ€™s weekly programmes and monitors the daily running of the organisation and any developing situations. The committee is deemed convened when the president and general co-ordination group are present. Meetings are open to all associates and usually all employees attend. President: This is a voluntary office lasting 2 years given to the candidate elected at the Membersâ€™ Assembly. The president is granted legal powers to represent the organisation and presides over the assemblies and meetings of the Board of Directors and Standing Committee, amongst others. General Co-ordinator: This is a salaried position and is responsible for the proper management of personnel and the various departments. Department Heads: These are also salaried positions for staff charged with the correct and effective management of the departments for which they are responsible.