A Land Reform and Biodiversity Stewardship Initiative (LRBSI) learning exchange was held from the 10th – 12th of February, at Ascot Conference Centre in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. The theme of the learning exchange was Building Capacity to catalyse a Biodiversity based Economy in Land Reform.
The event attracted 170 delegates including over 50 community members from across the country. The event was convened by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife.
The main objective of the learning exchange was to investigate ways to optimise the return on investment on natural resources management and the wildlife economy. Other objectives included strengthening partnerships to maximise benefits and build capacity.
The event was set in motion by a very engaging programme that focused on sharing practical case studies of LRBSI work related to ecosystem restoration, natural resource management, wildlife economy, tourism and emerging models. The event also offered updates on land reform and biodiversity stewardship from eight of the provinces, as well as an interactive panel discussion
The event succeeded in its mission in identifying how to unlock more benefits from fostering stronger links between natural resource management, the wildlife economy and biodiversity stewardship. It was particularly encouraging to see the new links being made directly between communities and some of the funding and partnership opportunities that were presented.
The learning exchange afforded the LRBSI project implementers and provincial biodiversity stewardship officials an opportunity to represent and report about their projects’ successes, challenges, and gave them the chance to identify common opportunities. Government officials and the private sector participants were also provided with the opportunity to share lessons and experiences from land reform sites located in areas of rich biodiversity.
Lessons shared will prove to be useful to the new land reform beneficiaries who are located in biodiversity rich landscapes and provide important prospects to strengthen the LRBSI partnership endeavours and capacity building. The proceedings from the February 2015
LRBSI Learning Exchange are available for download, print and saving on the SANBI Biodiversity Advisor site at