• Keywords: Kuwait, Cultural Landscape, Hima, traditional system of resource tenure, protected areas.

1. OFFICIAL CLASSIFICATIONS AND CATEGORIES

1.1 National and International Classification Lists

The Arabic word “hima” literally means “a protected place” or “protected area.” The importance of the hima’s system is recorded in “Al-Hima: A way of life” (Kilani, Hala, Assaad Serhal, Othman Llewlyn, IUCN West Asia regional Office, Amman Jordan – SPNL Beirut, Lebanon, 2007).

  • Others

1.2. Cultural Landscape Category/Tipology

Organically evolved landscapes
Relict (or fossil) landscape

1.3. Description and Justification by Med-O-Med

Description

The hima is a traditional system of resource tenure that has been practiced for more than 1400 years in the Arabian Peninsula. It predates Islam, not necessarily in its existing form or after the introduction of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. In any case, the hima is the most widespread and longstanding indigenous / traditional conservation institution in the Middle East, and perhaps on Earth. This interaction between human being and nature constitutes an excellent example of Cultural Landscape (Continuing Landscape), so Med-O-Med has considered appropiated to include a file that comprises all the himas of Saudi Arabia. The Arabian Peninsula is the birthplace of the hima and the region where the hima has been most widespread. While some himas were established and managed directly by central governments for their cavalries or for other purposes, most of them were established and managed by local communities but recognized by the central governments. Most functioned as grazing reserves for restricted use by a village community, clan or tribe, which were set aside to allow regeneration as part of a grazing management strategy. In many cases, they provided sedentary agriculturalists with pastures that were insured against overexploitation by nomadic herders. In the 1960’s it was estimated that there were about 3,000 himas in Saudi Arabia. Nearly every village in the southwestern mountains of the country was associated with one or more himas. Other himas were in the northern and central regions. They varied from 10 to well over 1,000 hectares. Traditional himas made up a vast area of land under conservation and sustainable use, and, on the whole, they became the best-managed rangelands in the Arabian Peninsula. In recognition of people’s rights in traditional knowledge, cultural values and ethics in the development process, the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), the United Nations University (UNU), and Newcastle Institute for Research on Environmental Sustainability (NIReS) have jointly proposed implementing the Hima system, as an alternative response, and a community-based natural resources management and conservation system. HIMA seeks to protect areas of land by encouraging local stewardship and integrating social and environmental priorities.

2. NAME / LOCATION / ACCESSIBILITY

  • Current denomination Hima.
  • Current denomination Hima.
  • Original denomination Hima.
  • Popular denomination Hima.

3. LEGAL ISSUES

Property regime
  • Public
  • Owner: Traditional himas are managed by and for a particular village, clan or tribe.
  • Body responsible for the maintenance: Traditional himas are managed by and for a particular village, clan or tribe.
  • Legal protection: In contrast with governmental himas, traditional himas were governed according to customary management practices. Most were managed by and for a particular village, clan or tribe. Local communities, whether tribal or not, governed land use through consensus rather than prescribed legislative or institutional control. They had well-established hierarchal governance systems led by the shaykh or chieftain, which ensured representation of kin-groups through commissions, committees and councils. This allowed proper environmental management as each group held well-defined responsibilities for rainwater runoff, grazing, etc.- The customary management of traditional himas has proven highly adaptive to the characteristics of the land and the needs of the local people. Researchers working in Saudi Arabia have recorded the following types of traditional himas: 1. Grazing is prohibited, but grass is harvested by hand at designated times and places during years of drought, the cut fodder is taken outside the hima to feed the livestock. (Typically, the tribal council specifies the number of people from each family allowed to do the cutting, and specifies the trails to be used in order to prevent erosion of the soil). 2. Protected woodlands within which the cutting of trees (e.g. Juniperus procera, Acacia spp., Haloxylon persicum) or their branches is either prohibited or regulated, the cutting of trees is generally not allowed except for great emergencies or acute needs. 3. Managed rangelands within which a) grazing and cutting of grass are permitted on a seasonal basis to allow natural regeneration, after the grasses and other plants have grown out, flowered and borne fruit, b) in which grazing is permitted year-round but is restricted to specified kinds and numbers of livestock such as milk cattle or draft animals, or c) in which a limited number of livestock may be grazed for a specified time during periods of drought. 4. Reserves for bee-keeping, within which grazing is prohibited seasonally or is excluded altogether (seasonal reserves are commonly closed for five months of the year including the spring months, grazing being allowed only after the flowering season).
  • Public or private organizations working in the site: Newcastle Institute for Research on Environmental Sustainability’s (NIReS) and the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences have been involved in developing innovative methodologies for institutional analysis, which have previously been applied in the land and water policy process in India, Vietnam, Spain and Iran. Pioneering work was developed by Hashemi (2012) towards the implementation of IWRM as well as the Hima Governance legal framework. The work on Hima governance was linked to international and regional initiatives including:

4. HISTORY

History of the Hima: It is unclear to what extent, if any, the hima served as an instrument of conservation in pre-Islamic times. The ruler, individual or group who owned the hima would declare access to it forbidden. Ash-Shafi‘i, one of Islam’s main theologists, reported that when a nomadic tribe came into a new area, it had been customary for the tribal leader to ascend an eminence and make his dog bark, and that all the land as far as the sound could be heard would be reserved for his exclusive use, as his hima. In the lands outside the hima he would graze his herds along with those of his people, whom he would exclude from the hima, within it he would graze his weaker animals and those of anyone else whom he chose to offer the privilege of sharing it with him. The institution was at times regarded as a tool of oppression, as powerful nomadic lords would monopolize grazing and watering rights to themselves. The prophet Muhammad transformed the hima, laying down the rules by which it came to be one of the essential instruments of conservation in Islamic law. In declaring that “There shall be no hima except for God and His Messenger” he abolished the pre-Islamic practice of making private reserves for the exclusive use of powerful individuals, and ruled that a hima could be established only for the public welfare. He established the hima of an-Naqi‘, to the south of Al-Madinah, for the cavalry. He also made a hima surrounding the Haram of Al-Madinah, in which he instituted a kind of zonation, forbidding hunting within a radius of four miles and the destruction of trees and shrubs within twelve. The hima thus became a symbol of social equity, redress, justice and an instrument of environmental conservation. The early caliphs established additional himas for the cavalry, the camels allocated for charity, and the livestock of the poor. Their concern for the needy is eloquently expressed in ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab’s (one of the first caliphs) instructions to the manager of Hima ar-Rabadhah: “Take care, O Hunayy! Lower your wing over the people! Beware the prayer of the oppressed for it will be answered. Let enter those who depend on their camels and sheep, and turn away the livestock of Ibn ‘Awf and Ibn ‘Affan (both companions of the Prophet), for they, if their livestock should perish, will fall back on their palms and fields, whereas the needy one, if his livestock perish, will come to me crying ‘O Commander of the Faithful…!’ It is easier for me to provide them with pasture than to spend on them gold or silver. Indeed it is their land, for which they fought in the time of ignorance and upon which they embraced Islam.” In Islamic law, to be legally valid a hima has to meet four conditions, derived from the rulings of the prophet Muhammad and the early caliphs: 1. It should be constituted by the “imam” – the legitimate governing authority, 2. it should be established in the Way of God, for purposes pertaining to the publicwelfare, 3. it should not cause undue hardship to the local people – it should not deprive them of resources that are indispensable to their subsistence, and 4. it should realize greater actual benefits to society than detriments. This accords closely with current thinking on equity in the planning and management of protected areas. Himas continued to exist both near settlements and in rural nomadic areas throughout the Middle Ages. They varied in size from a few hectares to hundreds of square kilometers. Tribes were delegated authority by the governing authorities to be the custodians of their himas and to control them on behalf of the central government. For centuries, local inhabitants of the rural and nomadic lands successfully established environmental planning and management strategies that balanced the growth of settlements and the use of natural resources according to Islamic law and tribal self-government. Local communities continued to manage the himas through the first half of the twentieth century. This was the case in the Ottoman dominions, which at various times included what is now Jordan, Syria, and parts of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It served both cultural and spiritual ends to pursue sound environmental management of livelihood resources.

5. GENERAL DESCRIPTION

5.1. Natural heritage

  • Heritage: Rural
  • Geography: High Mountain
  • Site topography: Natural
Land uses and economical activities:
Agriculture. Shepherding.
Summary of Landscapes values and characteristics:

The hima is a traditional system of resource tenure that has been practiced for more than 1400 years in the Arabian Peninsula. It predates Islam, not necessarily in its existing form or after the introduction of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. In any case, the hima is the most widespread and longstanding indigenous / traditional conservation institution in the Middle East, and perhaps on Earth.

5.2. Cultural Heritage

A) Related to current constructions, buildings and art pieces in general

In the case of gardens: original and current style:
It is not the case.
B) Related to ancient remains

  • Traces in the environment of human activity: Agriculture.
C) Related to intangible, social and spiritual values

  • Languages and dialects: Arabic
  • Lifestyle, believing, cults, traditional rites: Traditional lifestyle.

5.3. Quality

Condition: environmental/ cultural heritage degradation:
During the twentieth century, political and socio-economic changes in the region led to the deterioration of the hima system. The fall of the Ottoman Empire resulted in stronger control by the smaller states that emerged from its ruins. Tribal land was nationalized and higher demand for rural products, especially meat, led to overgrazing. Sustainable systems of land use declined and so did the diversity of habitats.

6. VALUES

Tangible

  • Ethnological
  • Living heritage
  • Maintenance quality
The main tangible values of "Traditional Himas in Kuwait" are: -Ecological/Maintenance quality: Increasingly, contemporary conservationists have seen in the hima an important link between conservation of renewable resources and sustainable development. Some of the relatively recent conservation systems such as parks, nature reserves and protected areas have led to detriments in the Middle East and elsewhere, including the displacement of indigenous people and impoverishment of local communities that have been denied access to the natural resources on which they have depended for their livelihoods. A number of consultants to Arab governments have advocated the renewed use of this indigenous traditional institution and the application of knowledge and practices derived from the hima to protected areas in general. -Living heritage/Ethnological: Most of the himas functioned as grazing reserves for restricted use by a village community, clan or tribe, which were set aside to allow regeneration as part of a grazing management strategy. In many cases, they provided sedentary agriculturalists with pastures that were insured against overexploitation by nomadic herders, showing in any case an specific way of interaction between humann being and nature.

Intangible

  • Historical
The main intangible values of "Traditional Himas in Kuwait" are: -Historical: The hima is a traditional system of resource tenure that has been practiced for more than 1400 years in the Arabian Peninsula. It predates Islam, not necessarily in its existing form or after the introduction of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. In any case, the hima is the most widespread and longstanding indigenous / traditional conservation institution in the Middle East, and perhaps on Earth. -Cultural: The hima system is based in principles of community-conservation that include empowerment of local communities, increasing public participation, equitable use and sharing of natural resources, preservation of indigenous knowledge and local customs, recognition of indigenous customary rights, and show a traditional way of living which is still alive.
Authenticity:
The hima is not a panacea, himas have faced the same kinds of conflicts that other protected areas have faced, and will continue to face them. But the hima concept does introduce a normative element that is absent from the value-neutral designation of the words “protected area.” The hima should be understood not only in terms of the tribal links and customary practices that have characterized traditional himas, but also in terms of the broad ethical principles. It is not a separate category of protected area, indeed, the full spectrum of IUCN protected area categories is applicable to the hima, provided that the protected area in question meet the four normative criteria mentioned above. To be a hima, a protected area should: • be constituted by a legitimate governing authority, • be established in the Way of God, for purposes pertaining to public welfare, • not cause undue hardship to the local people – it should not deprive them of resources that are indispensable to their subsistence, • realize greater actual benefits to society than detriments.
Universality:
*General overview: The hima is a traditional system of resource tenure that has been practiced for more than 1400 years in the Arabian Peninsula. It predates Islam, not necessarily in its existing form or after the introduction of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. In any case, the hima is the most widespread and longstanding indigenous / traditional conservation institution in the Middle East, and perhaps on Earth. The Arabic word “hima” literally means “a protected place” or “protected area.” A hima may be established for any purpose that pertains to the common good, so it could be managed for either conservation of biodiversity or sustainable use of natural resources. In practice, traditional himas in Saudi Arabia have achieved both aims In contrast with governmental himas, traditional himas were governed according to customary management practices. Most were managed by and for a particular village, clan or tribe. Hima's management is culturally and environmentaly interesting because of: -Most traditional himas are managed locally through processes involving consultation and consensus, so individuals in the community are able to influence management decisions. -Customary management of himas has proven pragmatic and flexible. -Few established systems of protected areas are known to have a history comparable in length with traditional himas. -Himas are still regarded as an essential source of fodder, thus they continue to play a role in times of drought and poor seasons. -They provide a potential for ecological and socio-economic research, they are national gems of which a great deal of knowledge and understanding can be derived. *Significance of the Hima: The hima is of particular interest in light of emerging conservation trends, as nature conservation paradigms shift away from the establishment of “mighty parks” toward the emergence of community-based conservation, community conserved areas and co-managed areas. Principles of community-based conservation include empowerment of local communities, increasing public participation, equitable use and sharing of natural resources, preservation of indigenous knowledge and local customs, and recognition of indigenous customary rights. The himas that remain should be used actively as instruments for conservation. Many are located in areas of high species diversity, and many support key biological habitats, such as juniper, olive, and Ziziphus woodlands. Their role as seedbanks to rehabilitate the surrounding rangelands is valuable and will become increasingly important as grazing and development pressures increase. They can play a role in halting and reversing desertification and sand dune encroachment. As they represent a range of areas that have been managed under a type of protection for long periods of time, they provide an indicator of range health and potential under particular environmental conditions, and should be utilized for ecological research.
Values linked to the Islamic culture and civilisation:
The hima predates Islam, not necessarily in its existing form or after the introduction of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. The Arabic word “hima” literally means “a protected place” or “protected area.” In pre-Islamic times, access to this place was declared forbidden by the individual or group who owned it. Later its meaning evolved to signify a rangeland reserve, a piece of land set aside seasonally to allow regeneration. In Islamic law, to be legally valid a hima has to meet four conditions, derived from the rulings of the prophet Muhammad and the early caliphs: 1. It should be constituted by the “imam” – the legitimate governing authority, 2. it should be established in the Way of God, for purposes pertaining to the publicwelfare, 3. it should not cause undue hardship to the local people – it should not deprive them of resources that are indispensable to their subsistence, and 4. it should realize greater actual benefits to society than detriments. This accords closely with current thinking on equity in the planning and management of protected areas. Himas continued to exist both near settlements and in rural nomadic areas throughout the Middle Ages. They varied in size from a few hectares to hundreds of square kilometers. Tribes were delegated authority by the governing authorities to be the custodians of their himas and to control them on behalf of the central government. For centuries, local inhabitants of the rural and nomadic lands successfully established environmental planning and management strategies that balanced the growth of settlements and the use of natural resources according to Islamic law and tribal self-government.

7. ENCLOSURES

Historical and graphical data (drawings, paintings, engravings, photographs, literary items…):

Traditional Himas in Kuwait is one of all of the cultural landscapes of Morocco which is included in The Cultural Landscape inventory runned by Med-O-Med.

Bibliography:

http://hima.kisr.edu.kw/main/ http://www.kisr.edu.kw/Data/Site1/pdf/HIMA_Workshop_Program_2.pdf http://whc.unesco.org/venice2002 http://www.greenprophet.com/2010/09/examples-of-hima/ http://muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=916 http://hima.kisr.edu.kw/main/assets/publications/HIMA%20International%20Workshop%20Program.pdf http://medwet.org/2013/02/international-workshop-in-kuwait-towards-an-implementation-strategy-for-the-hima-governance-system-summary/ http://www.egfar.org/events/towards-implementation-strategy-hima-governance-system-theories-concepts-methodologies-case-s http://www.iucn.org/es/noticias/noticias_por_fecha/2012/?10129/Hima-Opening-Ceremony -Draz, O. (1969). The Hema System of Range Reserves in the Arabian Peninsula: Its Possibilities in Range Improvement and Conservation Projects in the Middle East, FAO/PL:PFC/13.11, FAO (Rome, 1969). -Fazlun, K. (2003). The Application of Islamic Environmental Ethics to Promote Marine Conservation in Zanzibar, a Case Study. -Kilani, H. et al. (2007). Al-Hima: A way of life, IUCN West Asia regional Office, Amman Jordan – SPNL Beirut, Lebanon, 2007. -Lutfallah, G. (2006). A History of the Hima Conservation System. Environment and History, -Othman, A. (1992). “Conservation in Islamic Law” in National Legal Strategies for Protected Areas Conservation and Management, Fourth World Congress on National Parks and Protected Areas, Caracas, 45–46. -Othman, A. (2003). The Basis for a Discipline of Islamic Environmental Law, in Islam and Ecology: A Bestowed Trust, edited by Richard C. Foltz et al. (Cambridge, Mass.: Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University Press, 2003), 185–247. -SPNL publications on hima (Hima Ebel es Saqi, Hima Qoleileh, Hima, Important Bird Areas, and Site Support Groups). -UNESCO. (2001). Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage. World Heritage Committee. 25 session. Helsinki, Finland. -UNESCO. (2002). Cultural Landscapes: the Challenges of Conservation. Associated Workshops, World Heritage. Ferrara, Italy.

Compiler Data: Sara Martínez Frías.