On the 20 and 21st of November 2013, CapeNature’s Stewardship programme hosted a two day peer learning workshop at Ganzekral Coast Resort along the Atlantic West Coast. ‘Sharing lessons and exploring the Dassenberg Coastal Catchment partnership’
was the theme of the workshop that attracted 60 conservation agencies and partners. The get-together was set in motion with a warm welcome by Chris Martens of CapeNature who delivered an insightful presentation about the value and benefits of Stewardship which is now being implemented in seven of South Africa’s provinces.
Kerry Purnell, who is the biodiversity stewardship programme manager at CapeNature who has been the key driver of CapeNature’s biodiversity stewardship programme reflected on the past ten years and shared many of the lessons learnt of stewardship in the Western Cape.
A Table Mountain Fund (TMF) grant that was allocated to the City of Cape Town’s Biodiversity Branch with the aim of testing biodiversity stewardship in the City of Cape Town is what resulted in the proposed Dassenberg Coastal Catchment Partnership (DCCP). Exploring the DCCP was the focus of the workshop and participants were thus treated to an afternoon field trip to obtain a sense of the area and proposed project ideas of the DCCP such as water security, socio-economic upliftment, climate resilience, climate adaptation and the conservation of natural and cultural heritage.
Further interesting talks and presentations focused on biodiversity offsets; exploring alternative management models; NGO experiences of declaring a Protected Environment; community survey results of the DCCP; biodiversity stewardship and land reform; lessons in legal processes; wind farms and stewardship and innovative land transactions.
Some of the key highlights and learnings which emerged from the workshop are that implementing biodiversity stewardship requires innovation and can be challenging as landowners are more willing now than ever before to enter into biodiversity stewardship agreements; the Western Cape has been influential in trend setting especially to other provinces; biodiversity stewardship is a national programme now which is a major accomplishment; implementation requires collaboration, caring, passion and commitment; the landscape is ever-changing and it’s important to not take too much on in light of resource and capacity constraints.