This year’s Cape Partners’ Conference celebrated biodiversity conservation work in the Cape Floristic Region under the theme Transcending Boundaries. It was held the 22nd of October, at the Kenilworth Race Course, and was hosted by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) with the CAPE partners.
Lesley Richardson from the Flower Valley Conservation Trust opened the conference, emphasizing that the purpose of the day was to network, connect, and inspire. Carmel Mbizvo, the Deputy Director General at SANBI gave the welcoming address. She said “SANBI could not have reached its ten year milestone without its partners. SANBI has been inclusive in its approach to innovate and to make an impact” and added “CAPE now has 36 partners whose contributions can be seen at national and international levels”.
A reflection on CAPE was presented by CAPE Programme Developer at SANBI, Azisa Parker. This included CAPE’s investment trajectory, lessons from coordination, lessons learned, plans for 2011 till 2020, consolidating the work completed as well as moving into new areas of work.
Professor Ralph Hamman, the Research Chair in Climate and Development at UCT’s Graduate School of Business and is closely associated with the African Climate and Development Initiative, based at UCT, delivered the keynote address. Hamman focused on the nature of the CAPE partnership, the tensions it holds, and how this has given rise to many developmental and conservation innovations.
Many of the achievements of CAPE were highlighted, such as how biodiversity stewardship was first tested within the CAPE partnership and is now being mainstreamed internationally. Presentations of the day centred on developing a shared vision for collaboration in the Fynbos region; natural solutions- adapting to climate change; investing in our ecological infrastructure and sustaining our living landscapes.
This conference brought focus to the value of working with and learning from other sectors in order to reach biodiversity conservation targets. It looked at the important relationship between research and implementation and how collaboration can help the CAPE partnership solve complex problems. The conference attracted 62 attendees representing various conservation agencies, NGOs, government departments, municipalities, research and tertiary institutions.