SPNL’S 10 Year Strategy

By Maya Badran |  Head of Organisational Development Dept. and HR & Bassima Khatib | Head of Conservation Dept | SPNL ANNUAL REPORT 2022

Organizational Development

Maya BadranHead of Organisational Development Dept. and HR

Maya Badran
Head of Organisational Development Dept. and HR

In recent years, SPNL has grown its operations, while building its profile and reputation. Equally, our external operating context is changing. Therefore, from September 2019, we have developed our new strategy for 10 years, 2020–2030 Development Strategy that is implemented now in 2022 and we are working on it to generate increased impacts and successes. To strengthen its position amidst the global environmental challenges in addition to local political and economic instability. The Strategy had been discussed across all levels of the organization to ensure an inclusive and consultative process, collective consensus, and smooth implementation.

Additionally, many aspects of SPNL operating structures have been reviewed to ensure stability and resilience of its operation. Following the revision of its strategic functions, SPNL has adopted a new organizational chart where departments and teams’ high-level activities as well as individual staff roles and responsibilities were clearly outlined and adopted.

To address gaps in Human Resources Management (HRM), SPNL is establishing an HRM system with functional procedures that support the organization and staff. In an initial step, a new salary scale has been set to provide an objective determination of staff compensation, based on position level, years of experience and academic qualifications. Additionally, a Personal Review Talks (PRT) process has been adopted and implemented to track the personal and professional development of staff and in the long term engage them, accelerate their performance and retain them. Last but not least, SPNL’s Employee Handbook which details all the policies and procedures and clarifies the rights and responsibilities relevant to personnel employment at SPNL.

Our main goal for the next three years is to have support for two important projects that focus on the local community in Lebanon by resolving potential conflicts over the sustainable use of natural resources and promoting the revival of the Hima system to develop community-based protected areas, ensuring direct measurable benefits for both communities and nature.

The two projects we are aiming to focus on are “Hima for Peace” funded by Robert Bosch Stiftung and “Hima Revival” by Hans Wilsdorf Foundation

Conservation Capacity

Bassima KhatibHead of Conservation Dept.

Bassima Khatib
Head of Conservation Dept.

SPNL 2030 Strategy has fixated Nature Conservation at the core of its operation, building on its long and successful track record in this work area.

In 2022, SPNL’s conservation department continues to undertake biodiversity assessments at its priority Hima sites to research and monitor new species and threats like the wild cat and Rock Hynax in Ras el Matn, and implement new management plans to further build SPNL Biodiversity Database.

A pillar to our conservation work is embracing citizen science to ensure the sustainability of our current projects and activities. Ultimately, SPNL’s conservation work at its Hima sites contributes to enhancing connectivity between the protected areas of Lebanon whereby new Himas were located in Mansourah, Beib Mereh, and Chekif Sour.

SPNL team is working closely with local community members especially students from 8 to 13 years old to raise their knowledge in nature and build pro-environmental behaviors in a fun and educative way through SNOW Program (School with no Walls) and SPNL was able to target more than 1500 students all over Lebanon.

The Conservation team is also gaining capacities in diversity monitoring in order to be more efficient and hire consultants only for analytical tasks. In addition to that several proposals have been submitted by the team to cover several strategic goals.

Financial Viability

A main concern for SPNL was the phase-out of a key funder of global conservation, which at years covered over 70% of SPNL’s budget. MAVA is an exceptional donor which values and carefully understands the needs of partners, beneficiaries, and the natural ecosystem. As a noble partner, MAVA did help with open hands at crisis times through several emergency funds. Despite this record of partnership and connection to MAVA, SPNL has been able to secure its future plans with new projects and donor relationships.

With the anticipated closure of MAVA Autumn 2022, SPNL has sought a proactive approach towards financial sustainability on different levels. Since 2020, SPNL has been focusing on enhancing its fundraising effectiveness to fuel the delivery of its Strategy.

Proudly, by late 2021, SPNL has secured two new mega projects with the EU, detailed below, and targeting the areas of biodiversity conservation and climate change. The two awarded contracts create a record in grant-based income to the organization, increasing its annual turnover rate well above the previous years.

The first is a 6-million euros project, which aims at measurably increasing climate mitigation, adaptation, and quality of life in four municipalities, in Lebanon through implementing their existing sustainable energy action plans (SEAPs/SECAPs) with a focus on community-based urban ecosystem approach for local management of natural resources. The 3-year project will be implemented with IUCN ROWA and SCF along with local actors. As a leading partner, SPNL is awarded a $1.5M contract with an additional 0.5M as co-funding. The second is a 4.5-million euros project, which targets promoting the conservation of biodiversity through enhancing the management and governance of ecologically important areas in Southern Lebanon as well as for the establishment of new protected areas. As a co-partner, SPNL was awarded a $800,000 contract, with a small amount as co-funding to implement this 45-month project.

Additionally, SPNL secured several projects with some in the pipeline. Below we have listed the main ones.

SPNL’s Achievements

SPNL is an independent CSO that has completed >120 projects to conserve biodiversity in Lebanon. We have experience in biodiversity research, protected areas management, participatory planning, and building understanding and individual capacity.

We value our strong working links with ministries, municipalities, universities and CSOs, and vital donor relationships with EU, CEPF, Foundation MAVA, UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality, USAID, and UNDP amongst others.

Our notable achievements include:

◊ Helping develop Lebanon’s first biodiversity project (‘Protected Areas Project’) ◊ Identifying 15 ‘Important Bird Areas’
◊ Advocating to establish the Ministry of Environment and 15 State Protected Areas ◊ Thought Leadership in reviving the ancient Hima system of community management to protect natural resources ◊ Advocating so Hima became the fourth management category under national law for Protected Areas 130

◊ Devising methodologies to assist communities and municipalities to establish 25 Himas covering >8% of Lebanon ◊ Empowering >500 young adults from rural communities as Homat Al Hima young leaders, helping support rural economies through training and livelihoods ◊ Training in leadership, collective working and microenterprise to >100 women in 5 Himas

◊ Cooperating with hunting organizations, promoting responsible hunting, and representing CSOs on the governing Hunting Higher Council

◊ At IUCN’s 2012 World Conservation Congress, SPNL and Government of Austria co-sponsored Motion 122 promoting community-based resource management & conservation (e.g. Hima) ◊ In 2018 SPNL General Director received the Midori Prize, and Lebanese President Michel Aoun honored Assad Serhal with the Silver Order of Merit Medal in recognition of his contribution to the environment through Hima

◊ As sole Lebanon Partner of BirdLife International providing invaluable data on birds, migration, flyways, and community-based conservation

◊ The Advanced Renewable Energy Training for Women Empowerment from 2 to 5 August 2022, This Training for Women Empowerment covered the Renewable Energy status in Lebanon, the key policies for promoting RE projects, the financial and fiscal incentive mechanisms, and the gender dimensions in the energy sector with a special focus on the Lebanese case.

◊ SPNL General Director Assad Serhal was awarded an Honorary Membership by BirdLife International in September 2022 for Enduring commitment to reviving, practicing and spreading the traditional Hima conservation approach locally, nationally and globally, and being a strong champion and advocate for the BirdLife Partnership in the Middle East and globally, and contributing to the advancement of BirdLife programmes in Lebanon.

◊ Under Hima for Peace project two gardens were inaugurated; “the Quranic Garden” in Keyfoun and “Biblical Garden” in Shemlan; this event strengthens the concept of Hima for peace and the treasure of balance between people and nature”.