Discussion between Jamal Hamzeh, project coordinator and Mediterranean Partners in the Monitoring and Community Exchange (MCE) & Midterm Evaluation(MTE) Meeting in Morocco
The project entitled “Building the ecologic and socio-economic resilience of the Shouf Mountain Landscape by restoring and strengthening the socio-cultural fabric which sustains its biodiversity and cultural values” (2017-2022), is one of only four pilot projects that comprise the Fondation MAVA ‘M6’ programme working to conserve Mediterranean Cultural Landscapes in collaboration with 15 partners from around the Mediterranean.
SPNL is joining forces with Al Shouf Cedar Society- ACS to implement the project.
The Shouf Mountain Landscape comprises the southern half of Mount Lebanon and the adjacent West Beqaa foothills that represent one of the richest areas for biodiversity in Lebanon.
Four municipalities in West Bekaa are engaged in this project, namely Kherbet Kanafar, Ain Zebdeh, Aitanit, and Qaraoun; all declared as Hima sites and located in the middle of the Shouf Biosphere reserve, Ammiq wetlands, and Qaraoun lake all of which are declared as important bird areas (IBAs) and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs).
The Shouf landscape represents a genuine mosaic agro-silvo-pastoral landscape with high biodiversity and unique cultural heritage exemplified by several traditional and cultural practices, such as harvesting and processing of medicinal/edible plants, the traditional transhumant grazing, and the practice of agriculture production in dry stonewall terraces.
Nowadays, the cultural landscape and its associated traditional practices are impacted by various ecological, socio-economic and cultural threats and alterations exacerbated by climate change which have dramatically increased the vulnerability of the landscape.
The project aims to:
Increase the understanding and recognition of the links between the traditional practices that constitute the cultural heritage of the landscape and its biodiversity
Stop and reverse the major threats impacting the landscape
Adapt the cultural practices to current socio-economic context and environmental constraints – with special focus to climate change trends- through innovations in sustainable management and the restoration of optimal conditions
Ensure the economic sustainability of the goods and services resulting from the cultural practices, with a green growth approach
Create enabling conditions through the improvement of policy, governance, and the capacity of all concerned stakeholders, so as to secure the up scaling and replication of best practices in Mount Lebanon and in the other cultural landscapes.
This ambitious project will require the forging of a wide range of partnerships, including the national and local authorities (Ministries, Municipalities), universities and research institutions, land owners, local communities, the private sector (entrepreneurs, producers, shepherds, nursery managers etc.), local development and environmental groups, the media and international NGOs and relevant regional networks.
Project Manager: Jamal Hamzeh