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Middle East
21 Oct 2014

SPNL promotes empowerment of women using Hima system

SPNL participated in the European Heritage Day (UN Women Fund for Gender Equality)
By Shaun Hurrell

Story by Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund Mediterranean Hotspot Regional Implementation Team 

The Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL, BirdLife in Lebanon) participated in European Heritage Day in Paris, which was organized in collaboration with the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO, BirdLife in France), and the support of the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality. It was a successful start for SPNL to spread its experiences in conservation, women empowerment and sustainable use of natural resources to the international arena.

Mr. Assad Serhal, Director General of SPNL, Miss Shalimar Sinno, Project Coordinator of the Grazing program at SPNL, and SPNL’s Delegate in France Mrs. Andrée Vérès attended the event representing SPNL. SPNL, Birdlife International Partner in Lebanon, have succeeded in the revival of the Hima concept in many areas around Lebanon such as, Ebel Saqi, Kfar Zabad, Anjar, Mansouri, Qoleileh, Andaket, El Fekha, and Hermel, in collaboration with the local and international partners, local municipalities, and local communities. SPNL has been reviving this traditional approach to match the needs of the present societies for sustainable development. The transfer of this approach to Paris is an important opportunity that coincides with the European Heritage Day and will be replicated in the future.

Furthermore, this two day annual event gathers millions of visitors and tourists from around the world that visit museums, palaces, and governmental buildings. SPNL, being the partner of the Mediterranean Consortium for Nature and Culture funded by MAVA foundation, has helped in having “On the Move” exhibition in Paris on that day. "On the Move" is an exhibition that wanders in several Arab and European cities, including Tunisia, Paris, Geneva, Istanbul, Athens and Beirut. In collaboration with DiversEarth and WWF Tunisia, 60 photographs of a number of professional photographers, including the Lebanese Mr. Assad Saleh, who was accompanied by the shepherds in their travels in nature in collaboration with SPNL with the aim of reviving the transhumance system (the seasonal movement of people with their livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures) linked to local development, biodiversity and eco-tourism.

SPNL also had the chance to display handicrafts linked to the Lebanese Heritage made by women from the Hima areas in Lebanon. Carpet weaving was one of the skills specific to Al-Fakiha that was highlighted with the aim of economic empowerment and achieving gender equality. The women empowerment is part of the project entitled “Promoting Hima Women Empowerment for Conservation and Livelihood” funded by UN Women Fund for Gender Equality. Thus, this event has given more exposure for the women and their products not only on local level but on the international level. The event has opened doors to future opportunities for empowering women, marketing their products, enhancing their livelihoods, yet highlighting on the Lebanese culture and nature.

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The exhibition included an overview of environmental, agricultural and educational projects implemented by SPNL in regions of Lebanon in order to increase awareness about the important areas for birds and biodiversity within the Himas, in addition to the identification of endangered species and ecosystems through educational activities funded by the European Union (EU) and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).
The event had many positive reviews that opened the opportunities of SPNL’s collaboration with international organizations. This led Mr. Assad Serhal to attend further meetings in Paris after the exhibition had ended.

All in all, this exhibition has been a successful start for SPNL to spread its experiences in conservation, women empowerment and sustainable use of natural resources to the international arena. 


BirdLife International - including its Middle East office and the BirdLife Partners DOPPS/BirdLife Slovenia and LPO (Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux, BirdLife in France) - is providing the Regional Implementation Team (RIT) for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) in the Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot (CEPF Med).

Find out more at www.birdlife.org/cepf-med.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Conservation International (CI), the European Union, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. More information on CEPF can be found at www.cepf.net.