On the Move is set to make its fourth stop in Byblos Cultural Center from 10 to 14 December 2014, in collaboration with the Municipality of Byblos, funded by the European Union (EU), CEPF and UN Women Fund for Gender Equality. With more than 50,000 visitors in the last five months, and after successful tours in Tunisia, Paris and Geneva, On the Move promises to reach a large Lebanese and international audience in the historic city of Byblos.
On the Move is an exhibition of professional photography commissioned by the Mediterranean Consortium for Nature and Culture, a coalition of several NGOs including the Society for Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL).
Established in 1984, SPNL has widely contributed to both raising awareness on environmental issues and concretely protecting natural areas in Lebanon. Being Lebanon’s BirdLife International partner, it considers birds as entry points for the conservation of wider natural resources. In addition SPNL is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
On the Move Exhibition celebrates the lives, challenges and ecological knowledge of transhumant shepherds and nomadic pastoralists in the Mediterranean region. From North Africa to the Middle East, from the Iberian Peninsula to Turkey, Greece and the Balkans, the work of professional photographers from each sub-region will be featured in this unique traveling exhibition.
The exhibition will include an overview of environmental, agricultural and educational projects implemented by SPNL in regions of Lebanon in order to increase awareness about the important areas for birds and biodiversity, in addition to the identification of endangered species and ecosystems through educational activities, funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).
The exhibition will also display handicrafts linked to Lebanese Heritage made by women from the Hima areas in Lebanon. Carpet weaving was one of the skills specific to Al-Fakiha that was highlighted with the aim of economic empowerment and achieving gender equality. Women’s empowerment is part of the project titled “Promoting Hima Women Empowerment for Conservation and Livelihood” funded by UN Women Fund for Gender Equality.
SPNL in currently implementing a project titled “Assessing and Supporting Cultural Conservation Practices in the Mediterranean” funded by MAVA Foundation.
Grazing was put forward in the project to be one of the main practices in the Mediterranean basin that has a direct link with nature conservation. Presenting Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, SPNL made an assessment and gathered information on the current status of grazing, related policies, grazing areas, and grazing corridors between the three countries.
SPNL is focusing on the deep link between Transhumance and the Hima community-based approach. In Lebanon, the word Hima resonates more positively in people’s ears than the word Mahmiyah, which is used to describe the conventional protected area. This may be because the word Hima is deeply rooted in people’s collective memory, and is associated with a way of life without which survival would not have been possible.
People are therefore conscious of the hima’s focus on human wellbeing, rather than the exclusionary wildlife conservation approach adopted by mahmiyah.
Hima approach is a traditional community-based approach used for managing natural resources, and it depends on the involvement of local communities in decision-making, including women. Since 2004, SPNL has established 15 Himas in collaboration with municipalities, in key biodiversity areas; namely Ebel es-Saqi in South Lebanon, Anjar and Kfar Zabad wetland in the Bekaa region, Qoleileh and Mansouri in the southern coast, Maabour Abiad, Andket, Menjez and Charbein in Upper Akkar-North Lebanon, Jdeidet El-Fakiha in Bekaa, Roum and Qaytouli in Jezzine, Ain Zebdeh, Kherbet Anafar and Qaroun in West Bekaa.
SPNL has been engaged for the last two years in the promotion and revival of traditional handcrafts that are directly related to Lebanese culture and nature. Souk AlHima program has been established by SPNL to answer to the needs of the local community in having their products marketed.