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IFLA Europe General Assembly Berlin 21-22 September 2013 Title: President’s Report Purpose: To inform the General Assembly (GA) of the progress made towards the aims, objectives and aspirations of the approved Strategic Plan and associated Action Plan. Executive Council: The Executive Council (ExCo) continues to work effectively, efficiently and productively on behalf of the Federation and its members. Each of the officers has, as usual, produced their own very specific report and, although that information will not be duplicated here, I believe that as this is my final year in office, I owe it to everyone to comment on the work that has been carried out over the past four years. Obviously, much of the work is ongoing. Presidential Activity: 08.06.12: St. Petersburg, Russia – Guest of Honour, ‘The Imperial Gardens of Russia’, 5th Annual Festival 08.06.12: St Petersburg, Russia – EFLA ExCo meeting 09-10.06.12: St. Petersburg, Russia – EFLA General Assembly 2012 11-15.06.12: St. Petersburg/Uppsala, Russia/Sweden – ICON-LA conference 28-29.06.12: Copenhagen, Denmark – Landscape Architecture Europe (LAE) launch of ‘In Touch’ 06-07.07.12: Student Landscape Institute Council, University of Sheffield, UK – conference facilitator and speaker 08.08.12: IFLA Europe ExCo, Skype meeting, London, UK 14.08.12: IFLA ExCo, Skype meeting, London, UK 01-10.09.12: Cape Town, South Africa – IFLA World Council & World Congress 25.09.12: London, UK – Landscape Institute/IFLA Eu facilitator 26-28.09.12: Biennial (Rosa Barba Jury), Barcelona, Spain 11-14.10.12: Helsinki, Finland – attendance at Finnish Landscape Architecture Association (MARK), anniversary celebrations, guest speaker 17-19.10.12: Cuijk, the Netherlands – Ebben Nurseries anniversary event, guest speaker 25.10.12: London, UK – Royal Geographical Society/HLF, UK Public Parks Summit, guest 26-28.10.12: IFLA Europe ExCo meeting, Belgrade, Serbia 29.10.12: Belgrade, Serbia – University of Belgrade, guest speaker 02.11.12: London, UK – meeting with IFLA Strategic Working group member 13.11.12: London, UK – IFLA ExCo Skype meeting 19.11.12: London, UK - meeting with IFLA Strategic Working group member and potential facilitator 16-17.12.12: Brussels, Belgium – archiving of IFLA Eu administrative material prior to office relocation 10.01.13: London, UK – Landscape Institute CPD day, guest speaker on European matters 16.01.13: London, UK - meeting with IFLA Strategic Working group member and facilitator 17.01.13: London, UK – IFLA Europe ExCo Skype meeting 18-21.01.13: Brussels, Belgium – IFLA ExCo meeting IFLA EUROPE | AVENUE LOUISE 149/24 | 1050 BRUXELLES | BELGIUM WWW.EUROPE .IFLAONLINE .ORG | IFLA_EUROPE@SKYNET.BE


23.01.13: London, UK – Skype meeting with Secretary General 12.02.13: London, UK – meeting with Green Cities representatives 26.02.13: London, UK – IFLA ExCo Skype meeting 06.03.13: Brussels, Belgium – meeting with Executive Secretary 12.03.13: London, UK - meeting with IFLA Strategic Working group member and facilitator 22-24.03.13: London, UK – IFLA Eu ExCo meeting 01-15.04.13: Auckland, New Zealand – IFLA ExCo meeting, World Council meeting & World Congress 09-12.05.13: Tartu, Estonia – 10th anniversary celebrations on behalf of Estonian Landscape Architecture Association (ELAU), keynote speaker 20.05.13: London, UK – IFLA ExCo Skype meeting 04-09.06.13: St. Petersburg, Russia – ICON-LA VII International Conference, honoured guest and seminar facilitator 05.06.13: St. Petersburg, Russia – ‘The Imperial Gardens of Russia’, 6th Annual Festival, guest of honour and jury member 14.06.13: London, UK - meeting with IFLA Strategic Working group member and facilitator 30.06-04.07.13: Versailles, France – 400th Anniversary celebrations of Le Notre, roundtable member and jury member 12.07.13: London, UK – meeting with representatives from Uppsala University, Sweden at Kew Gardens 13.08.13: London, UK – IFLA ExCo Skype meeting (05-10.09.13: Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, Israel – potential meeting with Israeli LA Association representatives) 12.09.13: Brussels, Belgium – meeting with Pieter van Den Berk, IFLA Eu main sponsor 19-22.09.13: Berlin, Germany – IFLA Europe ExCo meeting, BDLA anniversary celebrations and IFLA Eu General Assembly 01.10.13: London, UK – IFLA ExCo Skype meeting 13-18.11.13: Adana, Turkey – 5th Landscape Architectural Congress (Turkish LA Association), guest speaker 31.12.13: Brussels, Belgium – Term of office ends The Strategic Plan: The Strategic Plan is to be reviewed in line with the impending strategic changes being implemented within IFLA. In Cape Town, South Africa a motion was put to the IFLA membership that demanded a fundamental strategic review of how the organisation is being run. The proposal was approved and a Strategic Working Party was formed with representatives from across the current international regions of IFLA co-chaired by Diane Menzies (IFLA Past-president, New Zealand) and Bruno Marques (Estonia/Portugal). An external facilitator (Michael Owen, UK) was brought in to give impartial direction and focus to the operations, and ensure the process remained within the tight programme set. There was an opportunity for the entire membership of IFLA to respond to the consultation and the European efforts on engagement were lead by Emily Wade (Sweden), Thomas Knoll (Austria) and with an enormous amount of additional help from Bruno, himself. The results of this process were formulated into a draft Action Plan and accompanied by a series of thirteen motions to be discussed and voted upon at the IFLA World Council meeting in Auckland, New Zealand. At the World Council meeting in April there was a bizarre intervention whereby a very small number of delegates met overnight outside the main the meeting to propose alternative motions, rather than have fuller discussions in the main meeting hall. As IFLA Eu president, I believed this to be both unconstitutional and undemocratic considering the working group had consulted with the widest possible audience over a period of almost 6 months to reach the conclusions brought to the meeting and this small group of self-appointed revisionists were collaborating for little more than a few hours. My objections were recorded in the minutes but the discussions on the ‘revised’ motions still went ahead. Essentially, the outcome as a whole remains the same; the strategic working group are to continue with their proposals for fundamental change to how IFLA operates in terms of its Constitution, Rules of Procedure and global influences. Essentially, there will ultimately be far greater emphasis IFLA EUROPE | AVENUE D’AUDERGHEM 63 OUDERGEMLAAN | 1040 BRUXELLES / BRUSSELS | BELGIUM WWW.EUROPE .IFLAONLINE .ORG | IFLA_EUROPE@SKYNET.BE

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placed upon regional operations (with European operations having to change very little unless members wish this to happen) and quite a different influence emanating from the core operations within IFLA centre. It is vitally important that IFLA Europe does not lose focus on this fundamental review. Every member is asked to continue to engage with this process to ensure that the European operations are not adversely affected by anything that is determined by the programme and developments coming from the Strategic Working group. I would remind everyone that it was the important decisions taken by the IFLA Europe General Assembly in St. Petersburg that persuaded the IFLA World Council that a strategic review was long overdue. Shortly before the World Council in Cape Town, South Africa, I was unsure just how the global members of IFLA might view the need for change. I was quite prepared to call an extraordinary meeting of the IFLA Europe General Assembly if the World Council had rejected such a call for change – the only option would have been a complete withdrawal, however reluctantly, from the international body. This option remains open until such time as there is a satisfactory outcome to the strategic developments. It is far better that IFLA Europe remains part of the international organisation, not only for the profession and continued unity, but also to help determine the most appropriate way forward for the strategic review. However, this does not mean that any of the progress that has been made here within European operations should be unacceptably or unnecessarily compromised by future proposals determined by the strategy review. Professional Practice Committee (PPC): The PPC has been completely revitalised under the leadership of Vicepresident, Carlo Bruschi (Italy). Carlo has gone to great lengths to engage with the membership and tried to collate a vast amount of important information that will ultimately be for the benefit of all of us. Success has been somewhat random and varied due to how you, the members, have responded to his calls for information. This year’s attempt to revitalise the format of the GA by introducing the ‘Pecha Kucha’ event has all been down to Carlo’s efforts. As I am writing this in advance of the GA, I hope that many of you will take the trouble to read it in sufficient time before the meeting and respond in kind by preparing for what should be a very interesting and engaging event. Carlo steps down this year at the end of his term as VPPP and I wish to thank him for all of his efforts and hard work – particularly his extra-curricula studies to improve his English, of which he should be proud – on behalf of the organisation. It is a personal wish that the future of the PPC will continue to grow and flourish. Europe needs to celebrate more widely its magnificent achievements in landscape architecture. IFLA Europe has the capacity to help promote the profession in all its guises. We achieve that very successfully in terms of education, we now need to do more on behalf of all of the practices that formulate and determine our landscapes of the future. Professional Qualifications Directive (EU 2005/36): Although I would ask you once again to please refer specifically to the recent report distributed by Fritz Auweck to all members, I would also like to add my own thoughts. Fritz and his colleagues from the German Architects’ Chamber (BAK) and the BDLA have been working tirelessly on this one particular EU directive for many years now. As with all things to do with the EU Commission it has been a slow and laborious process. The outcome so far has been mixed but there have been a number of positives that the profession will begin to benefit from when the documents are finally drawn up. It was always unlikely that we, as a profession, would get exactly what we wanted but compromises have been made and partial success already achieved. Your help with lobbying the necessary ministers has been vitally important as always and should you be called upon again, I ask that you are no less vigilant in your responses. For this unique, stand-alone world of landscape architecture to take its rightful place within the acknowledged built-environment professions will always be a challenge but we remain hopeful that this process will be one step further in achieving that goal. The Green Cities Initiative: Having formally signed the convention on the ‘Green Cities’ initiative, I remain convinced that this is a vital area for engagement of future IFLA Europe officers. How the new president and ExCo IFLA EUROPE | AVENUE D’AUDERGHEM 63 OUDERGEMLAAN | 1040 BRUXELLES / BRUSSELS | BELGIUM WWW.EUROPE .IFLAONLINE .ORG | IFLA_EUROPE@SKYNET.BE

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choose to do this is entirely up to them but I trust they will recognise the importance of this work and how it might continue to influence the development and construction worlds of the built environment. EFLA Regional Congresses & GAs: When the GA met in Brussels in 2010 and determined that we experiment with having a ‘floating’ system for our future GA meetings, little did they know that they were setting the standard for all future regional operations. I am happy to repeat that it is hoped we shall be able to continue this arrangement for many years to come. I would personally like to thank everyone involved in the organisational process once again; those in Estonia and in Russia and now, of course in Berlin. Next year you will be celebrating at a congress in Norway but there is an opportunity for members to come forward and bid for holding the event in 2015. The regional meetings have changed the face of General Assemblies forever and I hope that the next thirty years plus will see every member having held the GA at some stage. Draft Constitution, By-Laws and Code of Ethics: Within the documents sent out for the GA is a set of draft changes to the IFLA Eu constitution etc. It is important that you all read these and take a view on them. The original drafts were compiled by Carlo and thereafter each of the ExCo officers have added their thoughts and suggestions as to how the new documents should be amended. The changes were necessary because of the change of name from EFLA to IFLA Eu but this has also given us an opportunity to review a wider range of issues that are currently contained within the rules and regulations. I realise that for each and every GA to be taken up mostly with administrative and bureaucratic endeavours can seem incredibly tedious and somewhat boring. Thus, it is my suggestion that as a collective we spend only a limited amount of time discussing them at the meeting. The proposal would be that a small (four in number, including VPPP) working group review the documents once more following any burning issues that might be raised at the GA. An appropriate timeframe should be set but it must allow for inclusion and review of the constitutional changes that are being instigated within IFLA from the strategic working group. This should mean that any future changes would be kept to an absolute minimum and only come about when fundamental alterations to operations are pending. Education Committee: One of the areas where IFLA Europe has always excelled has been in the realm of education. During my term in office I have had the privilege of working with two excellent Vice-presidents who have commanded this role with impunity. Andrea Tutundic and, more recently, Tony Williams have both been superb leaders of the education committee, taking on this enormous task and making it look so easy. Education is the key to our professional future, as an organisation we have always recognised that. It is more than admirable that our VPs have kept ahead of an ever-changing ‘game’ and continue to make our engagement relevant and effective. Thanks is also necessary for those volunteers who have committed their time to the Schools Recognition Panel, something so fundamentally important to the future of landscape architectural education that it can sometimes very easily be overlooked. Landscape Architecture Europe (LAE): Once again we shall be welcoming members of the LAE to our GA. 2012 saw the launch of the ‘In Touch’ publication, which proved to be the best of the three books to date – an exemplar of shining examples of landscape architectural work form across Europe. I have always been an enthusiastic supporter of the LAE and the work that it does on our behalf. The LAE struggles to find funding from regular sponsors and I remain convinced that IFLA Europe should determine how best it should support their endeavours in the future. It is this and other such worthy causes that need detailed discussion for the future (see financial comments below). IFLA afforded the last publication €8,000.00, a very welcome sponsorship investment. However, with the strategic changes now in progress, IFLA funds are under review and there is unlikely to be similar sponsorship available for the fourth production piece although I have encouraged the LAE to put forward a proposal anyway. Communications Working Group: So much of the future success of this organisation will be based upon the quality, effectiveness and our ability to utilise all of the assets that the world of the internet now offers us. Progress in the IFLA EUROPE | AVENUE D’AUDERGHEM 63 OUDERGEMLAAN | 1040 BRUXELLES / BRUSSELS | BELGIUM WWW.EUROPE .IFLAONLINE .ORG | IFLA_EUROPE@SKYNET.BE

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virtual world will continue unabated for many years to come and only the limitations of our ability to adapt and adopt will dictate just how effectively we engage not only amongst ourselves but also in the wider world. The effectiveness of our communications has improved tremendously over the past four years but there is still much to be achieved and many further improvements to be made. Our Secretary General, Marina Cervera, has been a tremendous driving force behind all of these developments. She, with a variety of seconded volunteers (whose efforts must also not be ignored or underestimated), has changed the face of IFLA Eu communications forever. Future officers will be much more engaged with ‘of-the-moment’ Twitter feeds, blogs and Facebook pages than I and some of my more conservative colleagues but it is not for the want of trying that Marina has not yet convinced me to use such media (my apologies to all those expecting presidential ‘tweets’ etc.). The website is not what it should be and everyone is doing their utmost to instigate fundamental change and improvement but this will come (again this has to be in conjunction with IFLA) and will allow many more adaptations than we have ever before been party to. Good luck and happy blogging. Financial Matters: The past four years has seen the worst financial crisis the world has ever seen. The fact that IFLA Eu continues to thrive is a testament to the painstaking efforts that the treasurer, Jeremy Dennis, supported by the ExCo, has put in to make it so. Many members have struggled to pay the membership fees and we have tried to respond in a manner that places greater emphasis on their remaining within the organisation rather than struggling alone. Problems and concerns continue to arise and we would ask that anyone suffering in such circumstances should get in touch as soon as they can. Obviously, no organisation can survive in the long-term without full financial commitment from its members but we have survived remarkably well thus far and with due care and diligence we shall continue to do so until the worst of this crisis has passed. We have paired-back our operations to the bare minimum but soon it will be time to determine just what level of ‘added-value’, you the members would like to see in terms of investment from the federation. Perhaps it should be focussed upon something such as the LAE production but this is just one consideration. The fee levels may need to be reviewed but greater emphasis needs to be placed upon finding alternative income streams. Sponsorship is frequently mentioned but any sponsor will wish to see tangible results in relation to sums donated – this surely must be a task for a dedicated working group once again. And finally: This is probably the longest report you have ever received from me and you will be delighted to know it is likely to be my last. Throughout my time within EFLA/IFLA Europe I have always endeavoured to give of my best. My purpose has never been to seek self-promotion but to strive for a better future on behalf of this wonderful profession. The last four years have been a particular privilege for me, representing you, the members, in a vast range of countries around the world. Everywhere I have been I have been treated with the utmost respect and kindness and I have never underestimated the importance of the role that I have had to play as an ambassador on your behalf. It has not always been easy; it has sometimes been extremely gruelling; but it has always been a pleasure in the end. The role has offered me a wonderful insight to the ‘mechanics’ of the profession in many different countries and left me with a very positive feeling for the future of landscape architecture around the globe. There are still many hurdles to overcome and many challenges left to take on but the one thing that we should all remember is that no matter which part of the world we find ourselves in, the majority of the issues and concerns remain the same (or at least very similar). Thus, it is important that the profession remains unified and seeks to become an all-inclusive federation to offer strength within that can only happen in an atmosphere of mutual trust and goodwill. Equally, it is important to recognise that the European region has many advantages in terms of the progress made within the profession but still much to learn from the other recognised IFLA regional operations. Effective networking and global communications will completely revitalise how the profession promotes itself and it is vital that Europe remains at the forefront of all of these developments. I wish the future president every success in the role and trust that you offer as much support and assistance to them as you have given me. IFLA EUROPE | AVENUE D’AUDERGHEM 63 OUDERGEMLAAN | 1040 BRUXELLES / BRUSSELS | BELGIUM WWW.EUROPE .IFLAONLINE .ORG | IFLA_EUROPE@SKYNET.BE

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I would like to give special thanks to Marina, to Carlo, to Tony and to Jeremy who have made my time within the ExCo so much easier and so much more enjoyable – I shall miss the intellectual debate and the hours of discussion we have in determining the course of our future; more importantly I shall miss the friendship and camaraderie that we have had together for so many years now. Last but not least I wish to say a very big ‘thank you’ to Christine Bavassa, our never tiring and fun-filled executive secretary. She has always added her very own style of administrative expertise and ‘entertainment’ to all matters pertaining to our operations – without her my presidency would have been incredibly laborious in so many ways. I thank each and every one of you for making my time as IFLA Europe president one of the most enjoyable professional experiences of my career. I wish you all the very best for the future and ask that you continue to give of your time, your knowledge and your expertise for the future of the profession and also for the future of IFLA.

Nigel Thorne MSc FRSA FIHort Intl.ASLA FLI PPLI President, IFLA Europe Vice-president, International Federation of Landscape Architects (Europe)


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IFLA Europe GA 2013  

President's report

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