ARIJ has joined the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) ‘Nurturing NGO Capacity to Engage in Biodiversity Conservation in the Eastern Mediterranean’ project. The program involves the institutional capacity building of 26 varied NGOs, involved in biodiversity research and programming across Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Syria.
During December 2012, a complete capacity assessment for the 26 regional partners was conducted by IUCN, through questionnaire filling and participation in a capacity workshop conducted with the support of two experts from Bird Wildlife International/RSPB-UK and SPEA-Portugal. During this workshop ARIJ was identified as one of the strongest and largest NGOs in the region working in the field of nature conservation:
‘ARIJ is one of the strongest organizations within the project, so we strongly suggest that their experts are used as regional experts to cover some of the mentoring-twinning schemes included in this project’ (Final Report for the International Union for Conservation of Nature – ROWA/Amman. December 2012.)
As a result of the assessment, IUCN offered ARIJ to conduct a learning project for Palestinian IUCN partners. This is in order to raise local NGOs’ awareness of Biodiversity issues. Accordingly, ARIJ is hosting a learning project entitled: “Palestinian Forests Sustainability and Rehabilitation: Al Qarin Protected Area in the Southern West Bank and Umm at Tut Protected Area in the Northern West Bank within the Mediterranean Eco-system” .
As a result of this project, local Palestinian partners will exchange experience in the field of nature conservation and will be introduced to various International criteria and standards for forests and protected areas’ restoration and management. This will include endangered species identification according to the IUCN Red List, green corridors setting and management plans for protected areas according to IUCN and other International criteria.
During April 2013, two experts in the field of Protected Area Management, Dr. Luis Costa and Dr. Jose Tavares, will be invited through IUCN to conduct a training workshop at ARIJ premises, in addition to field visits to the target protected area. This workshop will generate knowledge and know how on best tools and methods to manage protected areas and to initiate an action plan for managing these areas.
IUCN has further suggested that ARIJ experts visit three organizations in Jordan (Arab Group for the Protection of Nature, Jordan Environment Society and Jordan Society for Organic Farming) to discuss their sustainable agriculture and forest inventory priorities and project portfolio, and therefore identify new opportunities and transfer expertise-know-how. It is further advised that ARIJ experts do the same to the Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UWAC).
It is noted that this project is generously sponsored by the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Small Grant Projects (SGP) under the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).