We’re delighted to be supporting award-winning environmentalist Assad Serhal in his efforts to spread Hima, an Arabic 1500 year old community based approach for the conservation of species, habitats, and people that differs significantly from the Western ‘nature reserve’ model.
Wildlife and biodiversity worldwide are under great pressure. Early in his career, Assad, a founder of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL), realised that North American or Western European models for nature conservation and management did not resonate with local communities in the Middle East. So he reached back into the deep past for an answer to the conservation challenges of the future. Hima is a community based approach used for the conservation of species, habitats, and people. It means protected area in Arabic. It helps achieve the sustainable use of natural resources whilst helping local communities. Originating more than 1,500 years ago, it spread along the Arab Peninsula, evolving with Islam, and marrying ecosystems and local practices for the good of all. Hima management and decisions are made by the local communities themselves.
You can read more about Hima here.
But Himas themselves have struggled recently. And Assad wants to turn the tide. He is inspirational, and the impact of Assad and SPNL is being recognised internationally.
This video says more about Assad and fellow recipients of the prestigious 2018 Midori prize.
SPNL is a great organisation, but small and needs help, friends and supporters.
So here’s the ask:
- Assad wants to start a business arm for SPNL to generate the funds to enable the promotion and implementation of Himas. For that they need people with ideas and experience, including setting up certification programmes (the intent is that Himas can be certified and supported).
- They need partners who like the idea of supporting Himas and the wildlife and communities that will be working together. Partners can be commercial or NGO’s.
- They have a particular project to create a walk-in aviary to enable the children of Lebanon to get a closer experience of the wildlife – and that requires specialist knowledge for the design and operation.
You may be able to help directly. You may know someone that can – six degrees of separation and all that.
Assad will shortly be in the UK. We want to make the most of the opportunity. On December 4th. Common Purpose have very kindly made available their offices at 38 Artillery Lane, London E1 7LS (very near Liverpool Street station). We’re gathering between 16.00 and 17.30. Assad will be sharing the story, there will be space for Q&A, and we’ll find out how collectively we can help.