Assad Serhal Awarded Honorary Membership of IUCN
Assad Serhal, the Director General of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL),and BirdLife Partner Lebanon, was awarded the IUCN Honorary Membership Award at the council meeting of the World Conservation Congress 2020, which explored, this year, the link between biodiversity and human and economic wellbeing.
The Global Nature Conservation Community stood today to applaud Serhal’s outstanding contributions to the conservation of nature and natural resources in Lebanon and West Asia and to further the goals of IUCN.
The hunter-turned-conservationist has realized the need for community-based action to conserve the rich biodiversity of the region. Also winner of the 2018 MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity, Serhal has led the revival of the ancient Hima approach in Lebanon and catalysed its spread across the region, along with a network of partners and donors. In practice, the Hima empowers people to participate and develop leadership in decision making, enables them to protect their own natural and cultural heritage and brings them sustainable livelihoods, facilitating their co-existence with nature.
The Birdlife International Global Councillor has deliberately translated the region’s particular reality, challenges, and needs in the context of biodiversity to the international community, bringing more understanding to the systems of protection and conservation in West Asia. Realizing the effectiveness of community-based approach to nature conservation and community development, Assaad and his team, along with prominent actors, has established 25 Himas, covering 6% of the Lebanese territory, and succeeded in setting Hima as 4th category to the Protected Areas of Lebanon.
This award fuels Serhal’s 40-year journey and battle to spread the values, principles and consciousness needed for a sustainable and healthy future. SPNL Director will continue to inspire and influence activists, practitioners and decision-makers to deliver aligned and effective conservation outcomes.