The Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor (GCBC), one of the C.A.P.E landscape initiatives recently celebrated a decade of partnerships working together in the Greater Cederberg Area. The celebration took place at the Citrusdal Country Lodge, and was partly sponsored by the West Coast District Municipality on the 6th of February.
The celebration intended to reflect and celebrate the achievements of the GCBC with all partners involved. A presentation by Azisa Parker, Programme Developer with the CAPE Coordination Unit at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) reflected on how the landscape scale approach put forward by the CAPE 2000 Strategy saw the establishment of the GCBC and other landscape initiatives across the Cape Floristic Region. Parker also reflected on the role that landscape initiatives continue to play in encouraging collaborative governance and implementation at the landscape level.
Noel Oettle of Environmental Monitoring Group, and Deputy Chair of the GCBC steering committee since its inception, reflected on the early days of the steering committee, and in particular to the on- the- ground mobilisation of the GCBC. Johan Burger, Coordinator of the GCBC, presented on the past, current and future projects in the region; while Jenifer Gouza of Cape Nature provided input on institutional change with a specific focus on beyond pilot projects: institutional arrangements to embed sustainability.
The GCBC has created a neutral space where stakeholders can come together, share achievements, frustrations, inspirations and gather energy for the next phase as well as to strengthen the understanding of the environment and the power of cooperative governance. It serves as a platform for all tiers of Government, NGOs, communities and landowners to learn and share ideas around projects that work towards implementing the GCBC Strategy. This is the only forum in the region where all these groupings can get together.
Notable achievements include: 33% of the GCBC planning domain of 1, 8 million hectares is now under some form of better environmental management through the implementation of innovative mechanisms including biodiversity stewardship.
R 11, 5 million has been spent on the rehabilitation of the Verlorenvlei wetland and its catchment to clear alien invasive plants and build structures to stop further erosion. Eighty per cent of this system has been cleared to date, offering job opportunities to 53 people from identified poverty nodes along the West Coast. Eleven farm workers from biodiversity stewardships sites were able to attend an introductory course in nature conservation. Five went on to do Nature Guardianship training with the Nature College, of with three of these farm workers successfully completed the course and received a certificate in Nature Guardianship.
Many individuals and organisations have contributed their time and resources towards a common effort to conserve this unique environment for future generations. Currently, R 11 million per annum is directly invested by the GCBC partners within this living landscape.
CapeNature, which coordinates the GCBC, has successfully “held the process” of engaging a diverse range of stakeholders and creating a platform for collective action. A key point going forward will be in engaging community stakeholders more effectively in all processes.
In closing, CapeNature CEO, Dr Razeena Omar stated that ”The work that GCBC together with its partners is doing is encouraging and inspiring and these achievements need to be shared.”