A typical nature-based solution for the sustainability of natural resources & livelihoods through communal leadership
About the Implementing organization
Name: Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon
Year of establishment: 1984
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Legally recognized non-profit status / environmental NGO
SPNL revived the Hima approach as a result of the IBA (Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas) survey that was performed to highlight the critical spots for biodiversity conservation, where 15 sites were identified. However, SPNL noted that among these 15 sites only five were conserved under the "natural reserves-NR" criteria assigned by the government, while the rest were on public lands and had no conservation status. Also, many of those NRs were facing major management challenges, including the vandalism of protected areas by local communities. Accordingly, SPNL thought that the main problem was due to the exclusion of the local people in the management of their own resources. Therefore, SPNL is reviving the Hima approach in collaboration with the municipalities and the local community in Lebanon in order to promote the sustainable use of natural resources and conserve (IBBAs) Important Birds and Biodiversity Areas. Where communities are promoted as custodians for their own lands and social responsibility for conserving natural resources is promoted among them. Accordingly, Hima offers a bottom-up approach of participatory management for the conservation natural resources & livelihoods, where communal leadership is recognized in the management of wildlife & ecosystems.The Hima approach leads to the empowerment of the underprivileged groups of societies, including the inclusion of youth and women, & combating unemployment through the provided jobs in nature conservation.
Forests / Oceans / Coasts / Mountains / Wetlands / Rivers / Grasslands / Drylands / Wildlife
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Pollution prevention, clean up / Invasive species / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land & water rights
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Disaster risk reduction / Renewable energy / Climate action
Himas succeeded to conserve Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBBAs), thus protecting globally endangered species of birds, mammals, flora, and fauna, through communal leadership. For instance, a hunting ban was practiced in Hima Kfar Zabad Wetland in the Bekaa by the local community and hunting is promoted in the Buffer zone of Kfar Zabad and Anjar near the village.Also, the Anjar- Kfar Zabad Wetlands were conserved, a bottleneck for African-Eurasian Water Birds in the Middle East. Also, the (Juniper and Cedar Forests) of the Upper Akkar area are preserved through announcing a Hima site in collaboration with the Jafaar tribe who is managing the Karm Chbaat forest. A sustainable grazing is promoted in West Bekaa Himas, in Fekhaa village in Ras-Balbaak, and currently in Jordan and Syria to conserve wildlife. Also, the Hima application in Qolielieh, Mansori & Jbeil Marine areas led to the protection of the globally endangered Logger Head Sea turtle and endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal.
Sustainable Development Impacts
The Hima offers job opportunities & improved livelihoods for the local communities in the management of natural resources. Accordingly, all Hima sites managers are from the local community. Also community capacities in the monitoring of wildlife, and habitats management is raised, where they are offered job opportunities in such fields. Also, villages are revived economically as a result of the different promoted services including ecotourism activities, events, workshops. Furthermore, through the conservation of natural ecosystems, food sources are conserved (including agriculture lands, forests, water resources, dry lands).Also the improved management of ecosystems through the restoration of wetlands, reforestation, sustainable management of ecosystems improves the adaptation to natural disasters such as (floods/ drought) and climate change impact. Also, renewable energy alternatives are promoted within the Hima areas.
SPNL has been promoting the realization of the Hima approach not only locally such as municipalities but also nationally. Where the concept is currently applied by 16 municipalities in Lebanon, it has also been adopted by the new draft decree of protected areas which is issued by the ministry of environment in order to be approved by the Parliament. The concept is very appealing to local communities and municipalities since it is revived from their culture and heritage and it recognizes their communal right to conserve their resources. Through promoting the Hima as an official community-based protected area, through the municipal council decision which is registered at the Ministry of Interior and Municipality, the concept proves its legal effectiveness & promotes communities to adopt it. It recently contributes to the conservation of the Qolielieh Marine Hima which was under the threat of development, however through the Hima decision locals could conserve the site.
The approach has been adopted in Jordan by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for the conservation of grazing grounds, where it was realized by the ministry of agriculture in Jordan as a solution for the sustainable management of pastoral lands by the local Bedouin. It has been realized too in Iraq and Syria for the conservation of nature ecosystems (water resources/ forests). SPNL submitted a motion in collaboration with the West Asia North Africa Region partners, in the 2012 IUCN World Congress for adopting and realizing the importance of the concept globally by IUCN, where the motion was successful. The approach has currently adopted the strategy of different international organizations including BirdLife, IUCN, MAVA, MedWet, Qatar Foundation due to it participatory and communal entities. Also, SPNL is currently implementing several Mediterranean projects for its replication in the region in order to conserve Landscapes of high biodiversity value.
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