May 29th-30th, 2012, the West Asia – North Africa (WANA) Forum on “The Human Integrated Management Approach (HIMA) Global Initiative: HIMA’s Role in Conflict Resolution and Peace-Building” was held at the Kempinski Hotel in Amman. The forum was opened by His Royal Highness El Hassan bin Talal and Her Royal Highness Sumaya bint El Hassan. FoEME staff attended this seminal event.
This forum was attended by members of think tanks, researchers and academics from all over the region, notably from Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan, India, the UAE, and many North African countries. The theme discussed was the “identity” of the Middle East and how to use this conception of identity to promote regional cooperation on issues pertaining to the environment, social cohesion, green economy, and reconstruction and recovery from Arab Spring.
Our FoEME staff members were focused primarily on the discussions on HIMA that occurred during the environmental and green economy sessions. “HIMA – Arabic for ‘protected area’ is a land-zoning concept.” The HIMA concept emphasizes that to reduce conflict, it is important for conservation and policies to be discussed and implemented on a community level, rather just from policy makers in the government. Additionally, for long term sustainability, a HIMA approach highlights the necessity of protecting certain resources, whether an animal species, water, trees, or minerals, for a certain amount of time to allow for re-population. For example, Islamic texts say that it is haram, or forbidden, to hunt birds in the springtime (4 holy months), as this is when they give birth to a new generation of birds, and they need to be allowed to repopulate their species. FoEME believes in the importance of HIMA, and supports this method of cooperating on solutions towards environmental sustainability.
Similar to FoEME’s community based Good Water Neighbors approach to community based development, FoEME aims to contribute to the revival of the HIMA concept of resource management, and is taking steps to declare the SHE EcoPark as a HIMA, community based managed land. This would encourage ownership of the beauty of the park by local community members, and thus would lead to stronger conservation efforts. Ultimately, the Lower Jordan River could, perhaps, be declared as a HIMA to encourage transparency and cooperation in its use.
FoEME continues to explore the idea of HIMA, and thanks the WANA Forum for supporting a discussion about this innovative method of environmental stewardship.
This post was contributed by FoEME intern and Social Media Coordinator, Luca Winer. Luca is based in FoEME‘s Amman office.