by Hana Namrouqa | May 30,2012 | 23:23

AMMAN — The Hima global initiative was launched on Wednesday to promote sustainable livelihoods, resource conservation and environmental protection for human well-being.

Hima, which stands for Human Integrated Management Approach and also means “protected area” in Arabic, is a community-based natural resources management system that seeks to preserve natural resources and the environment for future generations, according to organisers.

The global initiative was launched at the West Asia and North Africa (WANA) Forum, which opened on Tuesday and concluded on Wednesday. The forum brought together more than 150 participants from the WANA region to discuss the concept of “identity” and ways to utilise diversity and shared values to create better social cohesion instead of dividing the region.

Hima, a land-use zoning concept, is a practice that dates back to the pre-Islamic era of the Arabian Peninsula and was further shaped by the Prophet Mohammad, who combined it with Islamic principles of social justice, said Walid Saleh, regional coordinator of the Middle East North Africa region at the Institute for Water, Environment and Health, affiliated with the United Nations University in the United Arab Emirates.

Highlighting the role of the Hima initiative in building peace and proposing solutions to conflict areas such as Sudan’s Darfur region, Saleh said that the initiative’s objectives included building confidence among parties in conflict by promoting social justice, equality, social responsibility and the rule of law.

Hima’s governance framework is based on a set of environmental principles and a human development model, which stipulates that humans are trustees for the environment’s protection and need to be accountable, Saleh highlighted.

Promoting respect of biodiversity, the initiative also calls for protecting nature and avoiding excessive use of its resources. It focuses on forests and water, calling for the protection of forests from deliberate misuse, fire and damage and the protection of water resources from pollution, overuse and misuse.

The Hima Global Initiative will be led by an executive board to be formed and chaired by HRH Prince Hassan, chairman of the WANA Forum.

The executive board will be supported by a technical secretariat, a team of experts with varying backgrounds, which will prepare the activities of the initiative, such as meetings and conferences, as well as reports and documents, according to WANA Forum literature.