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ARIJ inaugurates project “Palestinian Forests Sustainability and Rehabilitation”

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Bethlehem-Palestine, November 29, 2011- The Applied Research Institute –Jerusalem (ARIJ), conducted a coordination meeting to announce the starting of the project " Palestinian Forests Sustainability and Rehabilitation: Al Qarin Protected Areas in Southern West Bank and Umm at Tut Protected Area in the Northern West Bank within the Mediterranean Eco-system". The project is funded by GEF / SGP and will be implemented in both Al Qarin and Um at Tut protected areas in Hebron and Jenin Governorates respectively and comes in partnership with the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).

Representatives of 8 different stakeholder organizations representing both GOs and NGOs organizations attended the workshop including: the Global Environment Facility (GEF)/project donor, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environmental Affairs, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Palestinian Water Authority, Land Authority, Land Research Center, and An-Najah National University.

Discussion was opened during the workshop highlighting the necessary networking and partnerships of relevant stakeholders along the project implementation and a set of recommendations were concluded.

Preparation of a management plan; targeting the selected protected areas at the end of the project and as a result of the research that was conducted was one of the three components fruits of this meeting. Following up and networking with the stakeholders along the implementation of the project, came also as an agreed upon component.

Nevertheless a study the history of legislation of regulation development for the forestry sector in Palestine as an initiative to understand the status of current legislations towards uncovering the gaps for effective regulations of enforcement of law, was the third and component. Aiming at improving the sector.

The meeting was opened by Eng. Nader Hrimat, ARIJ Deputy Director, welcomed the project donor, GEF /SGP represented by Mrs. Nadia Al Khoudary, the project partner; the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the attendees. Eng. Basem Hammad - Director of the Forestry Department / MoA has also welcomed the attendees, and thanked ARIJ on behalf of the ministry for hosting the meeting.

Following Mrs. Roubina Ghattas - Head of Biodiversity and Food Security at ARIJ, introduced the project highlighting its objectives, activities, and results. Special attention was given to describe the selected protected areas and the suggested rehabilitation program. Landscape and land Use/Land cover analysis was also described as a project essential activity by Mr. Saher Khouri and Miss Hiyam Hazineh.

Both described the utilizations of the GIS, RS, aerial photos and software that will be utilized for assessing forests’ degradation and its causes. ARIJs web based Forestry database and the specialized manual for the sustainability of the Palestinian forest resources were also of the narrated outcomes.

The project is going to be conducted during the year 2012 and 2013 in partnership with all stakeholders and local communities surrounding the targeted protected areas. The project is was named as the “Learning Project for IUCN / MAVA”.

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