Hima Kfarmatta in Madrid Roundtable

A roundtable was held in Madrid on environmental management as a vector for reconciliation in Lebanon. A key participant was Raghida Haddad, editor-in-chief of SPNL’s Al-Hima magazine and member of the Municipality of Kfarmatta, invited by the Faculty of International Relations at the University of Alfonso X El Sabio and the Toledo International Centre for Peace. She presented her personal experience in environmental action, highlighting Hima Kfarmatta and cooperation with SPNL. Among the attendees were Lebanese Ambassador to Spain Hala Kayrouz, former Ambassador Charbel Aoun, the university President, the college Dean, professors and students.

Haddad’s presentation focused on what Kfarmatta Municipality has done in this regard in cooperation with national and international organizations. This included digging an artesian well for deep groundwater, a solar energy project to pump water to the reservoirs, solar street lights, establishing Hima Kfarmatta in cooperation with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL), and opening trails and fire breaks in the Hima forest and the river bank. The focus of the presentation was on the importance of such activities in bringing local families together, strengthening ties among them, and contributing to improve the quality of life and support stability.

In 2019, the municipal council in Kfarmatta approved the establishment of a Hima (protected land) in the village commons, to regulate sustainable uses of the land and preserve its natural resources. This is one of 30 Hima sites in Lebanon created in partnership with SPNL. A team of local university students and graduates worked with SPNL to develop the Hima Management Plan.

The Hima Peace Trail was mapped, passing through the forest and overlooking the entire Shouf region and the Mediterranean Sea on two levels: the educational trail and the full hiking trail that reaches an altitude of 900 meters. It is now an attractive section of SPNL’s Hima Trails for Peace (Doroob Al Hima) which SPNL connecting the Hima sites across Lebanon.