In Kuwait, from 9 – 11 September 2019, under the patronage of the State Minister of Economic Affairs Mariam Al Aqeel, IUCN opened the 9th Regional Conservation Forum (RCF) in the presence of Sheikh Abdulla Ahmad, IUCN President Mr. Zhang Xinshering, IUCN Acting Director Dr. Grethel Aguilar, H.E. Princess Basma Bin Ali, H.E. Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri-Abu Dhabi Environment Agency Secretary-General, H.E. Ibrahim Al Shahahdeh, Minister of Agriculture and Environment.
West Asia region covers 16 countries, 77 government & NGO members, and 326 commission members. ROWA members, representing government and NGOs – gathered in the RCF in order to exchange experiences and prepare for the upcoming international Congress in June 2020, Marseille, France.
Officials opened the ROWA members’ exhibition where SPNL participated at the Water and Climate Change Booth highlighting our experience in the field and the Hima community-based approach.
The sessions of the First two days covered important topics such as Post 2020 Biodiversity Framework, Draft Intersessional IUCN Programme 2021 – 2024; IUCN Congress 2020, IPBES & Synthetic Biology, Membership and Commissions main achievements.
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The participating members commented on the sessions as related to studies, data availability & accessibility, setting achievable goals, ensuring continuous monitoring, governance and bottom-up approach, focusing on conflict resolution, …. SPNL represented by Assistant Director-General Ms. Bassima Khatib had an intervention on governance and the importance of supporting the revival of the Hima approach as an important case study from our region that is accepted by our community as bottom-up approach ensuring the rights of the local community, role in conflict resolution, and resilience in war times.
Awards were distributed to 4 protected areas winners of Green List; including Ajloun & Azraq Nature Reserves from Jordan, Wetland reserve from Abu Dhabi, and Al Chouf Nature Reserve from Lebanon. Additional 7 – 8 candidate sites are under study. It is expected to open this Green List to “Protected & Conserved sites” which includes Hima sites in the coming period.
The Third day was allocated for 2 parallel thematic sessions: Nature-Based Solutions for Water Management and Climate Change Resilience; and Protected Areas Management. Ms. Khatib had an intervention during the first thematic session linking SPNL collaboration with IUCN ROWA, work on water conservation, revival of the Hima approach and achievements on national, regional and international levels. The presentation also explained the 5 sub-programs developed by SPNL under the Hima approach, namely: Hima School, Homat Al Hima, Souk Al Hima, Hima to Hima, and Hima Farm.
The Final session was for IUCN ROWA members Plenary Meeting. It included presentations from IUCN National Committees highlighting their achievements and plans for the congress. It also included announcements for nominations for President and Regional Councilors for the next 4 years from West Asia region. The potential president from our region is Dr. Razan Al Mobarak from Environment Agency – UAE. Four people are running for the 3 regional Councilors’ positions, namely:
- Dr. Saeed Dammourieh – Jordan
- Dr. Sheikha Dhaheri – UAE.
- Dr. Ayman Rabi – Palestine.
- Zaher Radwan – Lebanon.
The RCF ended by a visit to the “Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center” which has been launched in year 2018. The RCF meeting was important for networking, building partnerships, and common voice for our region.