Consultation workshop on the project “A Blue Green Economy” sponsored by His Eminence Sheikh Abilmuna in Kayfoun
An event was launched in the presence and under the high patronage of the Sheikh Aql of the druze faith his Eminence Sheikh Sami Abilmuna by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) and the Lebanese Environment Forum (LEF). The project “Blue Green Economy- towards a hima for peace, combating climate change and conserving biodiversity”, is part of the project entitled Hima for peace, which is funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation. The event was launched on Friday, January 6,2023 at LUC HOFFMAN HIMA HOME (Mount Lebanon Hima Center)- Kayfoun.
Sheikh Imad Faraj (representative of Sheikh Abilmuna) and sheikh kamal Abilmuna in addition to Clerics, mayors, NGOs and others attended the event.
The event began with a speech from the head of the education faculty at the Lebanese University, Dr Imad Ghamloush who discussed the importance of environmental protection and raising awareness on the benefits of agriculture. He also displayed a program they are working on in the university concerning the environment.
Afterwards, Sheikh Hussain Harake on the pulpit of Kaifoun Mosque, highlighted on the religious role in preserving the environment, the Islamic sharia’s concern for the environment, and how it urged its preservation and terminated all acts and manifestations that might lead to its harm or disturbance of its regime. The environment is all of man’s natural ingredients, such as air, water, land and plant, and the imbalance and corruption that may affect the environment is caused by man.
The speech of Kayfoun Mayor, Mr Bilal Saad stressed the importance of establishing a hima in Kayfoun in Mount Lebanon, stressing the importance of appropriately exploiting green spaces and parks, promoting agriculture, afforestation, protecting the environment, preserving water resources and emphasizing clean, sustainable and renewable energy and good governance to ensure harmony between human needs and resource sustainability.
In her speech, Ms. Dalia Malaeb, Hima for peace project manager, introduced the environmental project in Kayfoun and Shemlan to enable the community to properly manage natural resources, especially as the problem of climate change worsens, by increasing their expertise in this area and thereby operationalizing their role in projects for self-sufficiency in their town. The project aims to increase knowledge about the sustainable management of natural resources and the impacts of climate change on society, improve attitudes and capacity for intercommunity cooperation, empower community relations and directly engage community members in natural resource use management. The project’s plan of action includes communicating with specialists in the areas of climate change and natural resources management to meet with the children and women of the towns of Kayfoun and Shemlan, and subsequently to establish a “hima” protection group and train them in the topics raised through workshops, conducting university meetings for the towns in the Quranic and evangelical gardens, developing technical options to solve the water problem, and developing investment projects to encourage tourism and agriculture. She pointed out that the implemented steps of the project included reaching out to specialists in the areas of climate change and natural resource management, meetings between the neighboring towns, following up on the development of work in the Quranic Park in Kayfoun and the Evangelical Park in Shemlan, and liaising with communities and SPNL.
Mr. Ali Reslan, representative of Kayfoun Charitable Association, started his speech by thanking SPNL in general and Mr. Asaad Serhal for their dedication and hard work toward the environment and the species. He also discussed the importance of creating a committee to protect the forests (trees) and prevent their destruction especially during the winter. He also pointed out that forests cover an important part of the town, despite the decline in green space due to fires and urbanization and the storage of large amounts of carbon, which is a shelter to the biodiversity.
To add, Mr. Malik Ghandour, head of the Lebanese Assembly for the environment drew attention to the importance of holding a workshop that represents an important gesture for various environmental associations in Lebanon in order to cooperate and work together on the various projects implemented, in particular the Mediterranean Marine Reserves Network Project, which effectively contributes to the preservation of Lebanese beach environment, which has lost many features.
Mr. Asaad Serhal, director general of SPNL, emphasized in his speech the significance of revitalizing the Hima system of environmental protection and the effective role played by SPNL in sustaining and advancing this idea through the declaration of twenty-eight Hima zones in various parts of Lebanon. He also discussed the importance of preventing human resources exploitation.
“Deforestation and land degradation, together with the loss of biodiversity, are destroying our ecosystems. This must change and stop. ” As specified in the Declaration on the Conservation of Forests, forests and trees must be considered a key part of the solution. There are only seven more years left to reach the 2030 agenda and achieve the goals of sustainable development, stressing that we now need to implement, scale up and accelerate actions. We need a will and multiple solutions. One of the goals of the “hima” is to plant trees, restore productive capacities and improve the ecosystem’s resilience. This can increase tree cover and thus increase economic sustainability, which is necessary to increase productivity and thus meet the increasing needs.
Also, “Al Hima” Magazine was presented by its editor in Chief, Ms. Ragheda Haddad who explained about the magazine. It is a semi-periodic publication issued by SPNL and provides a comprehensive account of the “Hima” that SPNL has contributed to its revival, the activities organized in all these reserves and future projects intended to be implemented, the reflection of these projects on local development and the contribution to reducing the effects of climate change.
Lastly, Sheikh Imad Faraj, representative of Sheikh Al Aql of Druze Community his eminence Sheikh Sami Abilmuna, discussed the importance of the environment and the urgency to protect it. This issue is a priority for the Council of the Druze Community and for His Eminence Sheikh Abilmuna.
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