A Milestone Strategic Achivement

By Bassima Khatib | Head of Conservation Dept | SPNL ANNUAL REPORT 2022

Bassima Khatib Head of Conservation Dept.

Bassima Khatib
Head of Conservation Dept.

SPNL has been established 40 years ago to address the impact of humans as a result of war situation – Israeli invasion in 1982 – on nature. SPNL establishment was based on two pillars: promotion of protected areas concept in Lebanon, and contribution to hunting management in the country.
For forty years, SPNL work was the culmination of common vision and strategic decisions from its founders. All this was built on discussions and brainstorming, but never well documented.
With the support of BirdLife Hatch programme funded by MAVA, a milestone achievement was realized. A 10 year strategy for the period 2020 – 2030 was developed coupled with a three years operational plan in spite of all the challenging circumstances in the country: political, security, monetary and economic.
The strategy was the result of internal facilitated workshops that firstly reviewed the operating context of SPNL, then identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of our organisation. As SPNL is evolving and growing, workshop participants then reflected on and refined our Vision, Mission, and Values. Participants identified high-level Strategic Development Goals in the themes of Nature Conservation and Community Based Sustainable Development and underpinning both, Organisational Development. Within each strategic development goal, participants then determined medium to long-term objectives. 

Bird monitoring at Hima Kfar Zabad

Bird monitoring at Hima Kfar Zabad

Nature Conservation

Nature Conservation has been the basis of SPNL work since its inception. It has helped in the development of main nature reserves with the Ministry of Environment. Since 2004, SPNL is using Hima community based approach for conservation of IBBAs/ KBAs in collaboration with municipalities. SPNL concentrates on conservation and monitoring of both species and habitat. SPNL targets the conservation of terrestrial and freshwater species, on national basis with priority work around Hima sites. Special focus targets species threatened by unsustainable cultural or economic practices. SPNL will continue to work on reducing threats to birds, especially migratory soaring birds, from illegal hunting and various sectors to ensure their safe passage over Lebanon’s strategic flyway.

Strategic Goal A

Enable conservation action for terrestrial and freshwater species focusing on those for which Lebanon is globally responsible that are threatened by unsustainable cul- tural or economic practices

Strategic Goal B

Strengthen conservation and restoration of priority natural habitats and High Na- ture Value agricultural land within Leb- anon’s Hima

Community-Based Sustainable Development
SPNL experience made us learn that best approach for conservation is through community involvement which ensures its sustainability and ownership. The three distinct workstreams of community-based sustainable development are Hima Revival; capacity building and experiential learning as well as nature-friendly microenterprise products and services.

Hima Revival: After twenty years of experience working with nature reserves through government agencies, SPNL is now reviving and advocating the Hima community-based conservation approach that has been prevalent in the Arabic region for more than 1500 years. This approach concentrates on the involvement of local communities in decision-making, promotes sustainable use of natural resources, and supports poverty alleviation through pro- viding alternatives for income generation.

Herpetofauna Monitoring (Led by Dr. Riyad Sadek)

Strategic Goal C

Advance and promote the revival of the Hima system to develop community-based protected areas, ensuring direct measurable benefits for both communities and nature

Capacity Building and Experiential Learning: Awareness and education are important pillars towards developing positive attitude and behavior towards nature.

Strategic Goal D

Build a community of environmentally aware citizens through capacity building and experiential learning to develop attitudes and behaviours that support nature conservation

Nature-friendly Microenterprise Products and Services: SPNL concentrates on preserving cultural practices and upgrading livelihood in parallel to conservation; thus the support for local microenterprises and their products and services.

Strategic Goal E

Support identification, development, production and marketing of nature-friendly microenterprise products and services to strengthen livelihoods in Hima communities

Strategic Goal F

Launch and implement the Hima Village model around Hima sites, in partnership with the private sector, to build sustainable communities through addressing pillars that are core to nature conservation and community-based sustainable development

Organisational Development
In order to achieve the above goals, it is important to raise the capacity of the organization. The different workstreams to deliver core organizational development are defined as Operating Structures, Technical Expertise, Development Structures and Carbon Neutrality.

Operating Structures: SPNL aims at revising and updating its governance and management structure to ensure sustainability and resilience of its operation.

Strategic Goal G

Review and strengthen all aspects of the governance, management, operations, and financing of SPNL to ensure that it is a robust, resilient, and sustainable organization
Technical Expertise: To ensure proper de- livery of strategic goals, it is crucial to raise capacity and skills of SPNL employees.

Strategic Goal H

Acquire and apply essential technical skills in Nature Conservation and Community Based Sustainable Development to facilitate effective delivery of the Organisational Development Strategy Development Structures: To fuel the delivery of key focus areas, SPNL aims at strengthening its profile, branding, and fundraising efforts, supporting its operation, growth and sustainability.

Strategic Goal I

Strengthen the brand, profile and fundraising effectiveness of SPNL to maintain SPNL’s recognition and access, and fuel the delivery of Nature Conservation and Community Based Sustainable Development priorities
Carbon Neutrality: SPNL realizes the impact of climate changes, thus takes decision to establish climate change department.

Strategic Goal J

Create a measurable carbon footprint baseline for SPNL and develop SPNL Climate Action Plan to reduce Carbon Emissions to achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2030
All high level objectives complement each other to achieve SPNL set strategic development goals. The operational plan high- lights Key performance Indicators-KPI for progress and achievements.