Lebanon - Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL)
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) was initiated in 1983 and was officially recognized by the Ministry of Interior in 1986. SPNL, the BirdLife national partner in Lebanon, aims at protecting nature, birds and biodiversity in Lebanon and to ensure sustainable use of natural resources through reviving the concept of Al Hima. As a national environmental NGO in Lebanon, SPNL contributes to both raising awareness on environmental issues and concretely protecting natural areas in Lebanon.
SPNL bases its work on sound science and passionate commitment, which through transparent and democratic processes, leads to a well-informed public.
SPNL strives to advocate a better quality of life for people and nature, through conserving sites, protecting species, and assuring sustainability.
- SPNL works with the people, for the people. Through capacity building, sustainable developmental projects, and awareness campaigns, SPNL strives to improve the livelihoods of the people in the Himas, IBAs, and elsewhere as well as to engage them in nature protection.
- Through the revival of the Hima concept, the 15 IBAs of Lebanon, and other nature reserves SPNL works with the communities to conserve sites and habitats.
- SPNL’s various conservation management tools target the protection of the species of Lebanon, primarily globally threatened species by securing their habitat, and advocating towards sustainable hunting practices.
- SPNL’s projects and main strategy revolves around promoting sustainable use of natural resources and development in Lebanon and the region.
- Adoption of Motion 122, for promoting and supporting community based resource management and conservation (including Al Hima), by the IUCN during its 5th World Conservation Congress in Jeju- South Korea during September 2012, which was co-presented by SPNL and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water in Austria.
- Initiated 8 Himas in Lebanon up to this date in collaboration with municipalities, which are included in the 15 globally approved IBAs in Lebanon by BirdLife International. These Himas are Ebel es-Saqi, Kfar Zabad & Anjar, Qoleileh & Mansouri, Upper Akkar, Andaket, and lastly El Fekha.
- Hima approach is adopted by the Ministry of Environment in Lebanon within its new draft decree for protected area management.
- Successfully lobbied in partnership with the Friends of Environment Center for the initiation of the Hima Fund, approved by Qatar.
- Adoption of the Hima Revival concept by WANA in 2009, as presented by SPNL. It later evolved into Global Hima with linkage to peace and social cohesion.
- Working closely with MedWet and MAVA Foundation, to emphasize linkage for cultural and natural heritage using the Hima approach.
- Gender Equality and women empowerment in three Himas (Anjar, Kfar Zabad, and Upper Akkar) in order to enhance the livelihood of rural women via the Hima approach.
- Awarded in 2013 the BirdLife Partnership Award for the revival of the Hima approach and contributing to improving hunting management in Lebanon, in addition to the Best Practices Award from the UN-Habitat and Dubai Municipality for preserving the Qolieleh Marine Hima.
- Landscape design for the Anjar–Kfar Zabad Hima to become an eco-touristic site.
- Published the Hima/IBA strategy booklet in partnership with BirdLife International in 2008.
- Participated in several regional workshops USFS, UNDP, and BirdLife, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, which produced the new hunting law in Lebanon.
- Published “The Hunter Guide” in October 2012, to prepare hunters for the hunting exam in order to acquire a hunting license.
- Prepared GIS maps for hunting hot spots, migratory soaring birds flyways, location of bottlenecks, IBAs, Nature Reserves, and game breeding farms.
- Organized bird identification workshops for the law enforcement officers, so that they get acquainted with the new Lebanese hunting law.
- Prepared a national plan on existing shooting clubs, private hunting reserves, game bird breeding farms, protected sites, and potential private and public hunting areas.
- Propose public hunting areas (PHAs) for sustainable hunting, with a monitoring plan.
- Resumed Lebanon’s IBA full inventory in partnership with AROCHA and funded by MAVA from 2005 to 2008. 43 sites were potential IBAs for study, out of which only 15 were officially identified for Lebanon by SPNL and approved by BirdLife International.
- Organized workshops on different community levels to promote sustainability and conservation in the IBAs/KBAs.
- Organized “The Secret of Migration and Forests of Hope” Festival in Anjar in October 2012, which targeted children via educational and outdoor activities in an attempt to expose them to the nature conservation.