On the 22nd of July 2014 the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) invited members of the Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Programme (SKEP) partnership to attend a strategic planning session at Kirstenbosch.
Popularly known as the SKEP Indaba, the strategic planning session served as a decision making platform for the SKEP partners regarding the future of the programme.
The Indaba assessed the current status of the SKEP as a partnership programme and collectively planned future implementation to realise the achievement of the SKEP vision and objectives. Under consideration were SKEP governance mechanisms and coordination arrangements, resource mobilisation for programme development as well as refining the SKEP vision and the meaning of being a SKEP partner.
Collectively the partners agreed to the following way forward for future SKEP coordination and governance:
• An Interim Steering Committee and interim secretariat were elected and will serve for two years.
• SANBI is the host organisation and SANBI’s Hantam National Botanical Garden will serve as the interim secretariat.
• A decentralised model of governance is envisaged for SKEP, with recognition that the highest authority should be the SKEP membership.
• The Interim Steering Committee will secure resources and engage with the SKEP membership to ensure their contribution and support for any new structural arrangements.
The following members serve on the SKEP Interim Steering Committee:
1. Chairperson: Noel Oettle - Environmental Monitoring Group
2. Vice Chairperson: Shahieda Davids - SANBI
3. Francois van der Merwe - Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust
4. Natasha Wilson - World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa
5. Ralph van der Poll (alternate Mandy Schumann) – Northern Cape Department of Environment and Nature Conservation
6. Ronnie Newman - Conservation South Africa
7. Jennifer Gouza (alternate Lee Sauls) - CapeNature
8. Marie Parramon-Gurney (alternate Guy Brouck) – International Union for Conservation of Nature
9. Jeanette du Toit - Conservation Business Africa
The Steering Committee Secretariat is represented by Eugene Marinus of SANBI at the Hantam National Botanical Garden.
The SKEP Interim Steering Committee has adopted a Terms of Reference and developed a set of objectives for the interim two year period which include::
- Establishing an effective governance structure for SKEP within the Interim Steering Committee’s two year mandate
- Consulting and obtaining buy-in for the long term decentralised governance structure for SKEP
- Exercising oversight and ensuring that the SKEP 20 Year Strategy is being implemented appropriately by the SKEP partners
- Mobilising adequate resources to enable the Interim Steering Committee to fulfil its mandate within the two year period and through the transition into a long term structure
- Promoting and facilitating learning within the SKEP partnership and communities of practice
- Creating an enabling environment for research within the Succulent Karoo through collaboration and networking with relevant role players including research institutions and networks
- Contributing to raising awareness the significance of the Succulent Karoo
The SKEP Interim Steering Committee will next meet on 2nd March 2015 at the Hantam National Botanical Garden in Nieuwoudtville. Members of the SKEP partnership are welcome to contribute any comments, questions or suggestions for consideration by the Interim Steering Committee.
The SKEP Interim Steering Committee is committed to the task assigned to them and look forward to making significant progress in the next two years with the support of the broader SKEP community.