Mava Foundation Annual Report filled with more conservation success stories from partners. As well as offering a review of some of 2015’s highlights. The report share an overview of Mava’s new strategy for the years 2016-2022. Inside, we discover how IUCN’s PROMETEOS project set about creating an atlas of the Mediterranean’s amazing system of seamounts and canyons to support better marine governance; mark how WWF and the Partenariat Régional pour la Conservation de la Zone Côtière et Marine en Afrique de l’Ouest (PRCM) set precedents around illegal fishing; marvel at WWF Switzerland’s pioneering approach to inspiring urban conservation in the Laghi Insubrici region; welcome the development of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s ‘toolkit’ designed to help policymakers realise a circular economy; and recognise progress by the Conservation Finance Alliance in nurturing innovative approaches to conservation finance and markets.
We also profile and celebrate conservation hero Dalia Al Jawhary of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon for her commitment to conservation and communities in a country rich in biodiversity but riven with conflict and struggle.
In the heart of the Middle East, against a backdrop of violence and sectarianism, the complex challenge of sustainable water management and conservation is one that Dalia Al Jawhary, a young passionate environmentalist with the Lebanese Society for the Protection of Nature (SPNL), has embraced courageously. “My country might be known for war and violence but for me, its natural beauty and the spirit of its people, who never give up no matter what, are its essence.”
“My duty is to awaken a sense of responsibility in each Lebanese for nature and for livelihood, and for the dreams of all our children.”
PARTICIPATION AND EMPOWERMENT
Championing the ancient practice of ‘hima’ – a system of sustainable land and water management – her unerring engagement with farmers, women and youth in the Anjar and Kfar Zabad Himas in the Bekaa valley has been transformational. In this rich wetland area that suffers from water scarcity, competition and misuse, a painstaking participatory approach to hima – which means ‘protected place’ in Arabic – has re-awakened connection to the land. Once disaffected groups have developed a shared sense of ownership and responsibility, becoming ambassadors for better stewardship. “We’ve reached a lot of disempowered people and given them a voice. Initial hesitancy has become belief, and women and youth are now at the heart of building consensus and understanding around the true value of our natural resources.”
CHILDHOOD DREAMLAND, SHARED RESPONSIBILITY
As a twelve-year old growing up in a village on the outskirts of Beirut surrounded by fields of walnut and olive, Dalia was deeply affected by the experience of an old woman who tended an olive grove where she used to play. “Nature was her joy and her remedy – until her son sold the land for development. Her dreamland was taken from her and she was broken – and I lost part of my childhood. I think it shaped what I do today as a woman and environmentalist.” Working in a country riven with power struggles and in conservative communities where men make the decisions is not easy but, with hope, science and youth on her side, Dalia embodies the professionalism and resilience so critical for the future of the region.