Hima for Peace Summary Report: Extensive Community Engagement through Droub El Hima for Peace

The Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) has marked substantial achievements within the Hima for Peace project, underscoring its unwavering commitment to environmental conservation, community engagement, and the pursuit of peace. The organization’s tireless efforts have led to the expansion of the project, with notable milestones in various municipalities. Notably, the successful implementation of the Hima for Peace has transcended its initial goal of promoting harmony between Kayfoun and Chemlan. The impact has now rippled outward, creating a broader resonance of peace and environmental consciousness across various municipalities in the region. This achievement underscores the transformative power of SPNL’s initiatives in bringing communities together for a shared cause.

The cornerstone of our recent achievements lies in the historic Hima Charter signed by eight municipalities in the Mount Lebanon region and the steps towards linking them all through “Droub el Hima for Peace” trail. This charter serves as a testament to the collective commitment of these municipalities toward fostering environmental conservation, community engagement, and sustainable development. The significance of this collaborative effort is profound, laying the foundation for a unified approach to nature preservation and peacebuilding.

In Baysour, the announcement of Hima Baysour was met with proactive engagement from the municipality, exemplifying a collaborative approach toward trimming trees and cleaning trails. This demonstrates not only the commitment of local authorities but also the successful integration of Hima for Peace‘s vision within the community. Similarly, Souk el Gharib Municipality’s support for the Droub el Hima for Peace and plans for a new Hima signify a shared goal of fostering peace and ecological conservation. Furthermore, Ain Sayde Municipality’s commitment to initiating a Hima and organizing community workshops aligns seamlessly with the broader objective of connecting communities and promoting peace through nature conservation. On a larger scale, the fruitful meeting with Aley District’s kaem makam, Bader Zaydan, further strengthens SPNL’s collaborative network, emphasizing the importance of working hand in hand with local authorities to achieve common conservation goals.

To add on, the extensive community engagement through hiking activities is a testament to our success in involving diverse members of society in the cause of nature conservation and peace. With several groups embarking on unique journeys, Droub el Hima for Peace reached a remarkable milestone of welcoming 6,400 hikers this year, including 2,200 individuals with special needs. This inclusive approach not only promotes environmental awareness but also establishes a sense of solidarity within the community. Exploration of the natural wonders of Mount Lebanon through the Droub el Hima for Peace trail further deepened community connections. Engaging with women, children, and business leaders, these hikes provided a platform for diverse groups to appreciate the rich heritage and biodiversity of the region. The positive feedback from participants underscores the significance of such initiatives in bridging the gap between communities and their natural heritage. The promotion of sustainable ecotourism, and exploration of culture and biodiversity exemplify the multifaceted impact of Hima for Peace‘s initiatives on both the environment and societal well-being.

SPNL’s dedication to environmental monitoring and conservation is evident in the bird monitoring initiatives in Hima Kayfoun – Chemlan. The comprehensive bird inventory, showcasing migratory and local species, highlights the ecological importance of the region. This commitment to preserving biodiversity aligns with SPNL’s broader mission and emphasizes the need for ongoing conservation efforts.

Educational empowerment remains a key focus for SPNL, with workshops for school representatives nurturing a generation passionate about nature, conservation and peace. The collaboration with the Modern University for Business and Science (MUBS) to develop a web application signifies a forward-looking approach, aiming to digitize and promote Mount-Lebanon’s rich natural heritage.

SPNL’s achievements within Hima for Peace in the recent months reflect a holistic and impactful approach to environmental conservation, community engagement, and peacebuilding. The organization’s ability to foster collaborations with municipalities, religious leaders, schools, businesses, and governmental authorities demonstrates its multifaceted impact and positions SPNL as a driving force in Lebanon’s sustainable development.

SPNL’s Call to Action for Nature Conservation Amidst Regional Struggles

In the face of the commendable achievements and ongoing initiatives undertaken by SPNL’s Hima for Peace program, it is crucial to acknowledge the challenges and pressing needs that persist in the region. The looming risk of escalating security and war, coupled with the continuous economic decline and rising poverty levels, poses a significant threat to the communities SPNL serves, particularly in rural areas. The additional strain from an influx of Syrian and Palestinian refugees exacerbates the pressure on natural resources, leading to challenges such as increased harvesting of edible and medicinal plants, wildlife trade, illegal hunting, logging, and forest fires.

SPNL’s dedicated teams, notably the Anti-Poaching Unit and Fish and Wildlife Unit, work tirelessly to document and combat violations. However, they face mounting challenges, especially in remote areas where collaboration with Lebanese Internal Forces becomes essential. The lack of funding for patrol vehicle maintenance, inadequate equipment, and the need for operational resources, including medications for rescued wildlife, underscore the urgent need for support.

To address these unforeseen circumstances, SPNL is embarking on a special fundraising campaign. The initiative aims to garner support for crucial needs such as vehicle maintenance, fuel, equipment, and medical expenses for rescued birds and wildlife. SPNL’s rescue centers, situated in various locations, play a pivotal role in caring for and rehabilitating wildlife until they can be released back into the wild or returned to their country of origin.

As part of SPNL’s commitment to transparency and accountability, the organization is engaging in a fundraising campaign. The Adopt/Donate initiative invites individuals, public school children, households, and businesses to contribute by adopting a Hima trails, supporting students/classes or schools under the SNOW program, and adopting a Homat el Hima (Guardians of the Hima) and rescue and adopt an injured wildlife to ensure the financial sustainability of various programs, especially those directly impacted by the ongoing war.

Support Homat eL HIMA can be found at: https://www.spnl.org/campaigns/support-homat-al-hima/

We invite you to consider sharing our ongoing fundraising campaign on your website, social media accounts or through your networks, amplifying our collective impact. Together, we can make a meaningful difference in safeguarding Lebanon’s precious ecosystems and supporting the communities striving for peace and sustainability in these trying times.