Mr. Assad Serhal, SPNL Director General, and Mr. Andre Bechara SPNL Board member met today with the Polish Ambassador to Lebanon Przemyslaw Niesiolowski, to coordinate projects and activities for storks and soaring birds and reforestation at Hima in Lebanon and mainstreaming conservation to productive sectors especially tourism.
Mr. Serhal handed Ambassador Niesiolowski a letter of support from Birdlife Poland.
Dr Jarosław Krogulec Head of Conservation in Birdlife Poland wrote: “In the name of the Polish Society for Protection of Birds (OTOP/BirdLife Poland ) we would like to express a great commitment in cooperation with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL/BirdLife Lebanon) on the area of protection of birds. One of the most important issue within our cooperation is illegal killing of birds (IKB) – one of the major problem the BirdLife International is working just now. Considering that the education of the young generation is the important step to tackle the IKB problem we invite SPNL to join the Spring Alive (SA) program linking education on migratory birds protection over 57 countries from Europe, Middle East, and Africa. We are ready also to work together on the protection of the species that connect Poland and Lebanon spending much time of the year in our countries – the White Stork. Education and awareness rising on the protection of this charismatic bird and the practical conservation measures can be one of the starting points of our fruitful cooperation.
“On behalf the Society for the Protection of Nature of Lebanon (SPNL) I very much welcome your Excellency’s interest in our work and how the SPNL could help to protect migratory birds flying through Lebanon – especially the White Storks which are of great cultural and natural value to the Polish people. Serhal said.
The SPNL is in close contact with the Polish BirdLife Partner organization based in Marki near Warsaw. The Ogólnopolskie Towarzystwo Ochrony Ptaków (OTOP) has good links with the Grupa EkoLogiczna (small Polish organization) which was funded in the past by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to hold sessions for teaching school children in Lebanon on the need to look after migrating storks in our country. This work needs to be extended to supporting teachers who can train other teachers and therefore spread the knowledge of birds much more widely. In other words an education program across the country.
The SPNL is ready to prepare a program to help migratory birds and to link up with the OTOP to use their expertise from existing BirdLife projects such as Spring Alive. Serhal added.
The Rift Valley/Red Sea flyway is the second most important flyway for migratory soaring birds (raptors, storks, pelicans, and some ibis) in the world, with 37 different soaring bird species, including five, globally threatened species. The Migratory Soaring Birds project aims to mainstream migratory soaring bird considerations into the productive sectors along the flyway that pose the greatest risk to the safe migration of these birds – principally hunting, energy, agriculture, and waste management – while promoting activities in sectors which could benefit from these birds, such as ecotourism.