A Celebration of Commitments to Biodiversity and World Environment Day in Namaqualand

nambaf gala evening eventWorld Environment Day is an annual event celebrated on the 5th of June. This year the Northern Cape Provincial Department of Environment and Nature Conservation (DENC), in partnership with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Conservation South Africa (CSA), and the Namakwa District Municipality (NDM) celebrated World Environment Day in Springbok with a full day programme and a Gala Evening.

Master of Ceremonies at the Gala Evening was Madeleinne Brandt, municipal manager of the NDM at the Police Clubhouse in Springbok with over 70 delegates in attendance.

Underpinned by the 2012 World Environment Day theme: Green Economy: Does it include you?, celebrations at the Gala Evening included the Inauguration of the Northern Cape Provincial Coastal Committee Members; the Signing of the NAMBAF Statement of Intent; the Signing of Three Peaks Voluntary Conservancy Agreement, and the Signing of Intent to Declare the Orange River Mouth as a Nature Reserve in terms of the National Environmental Management: Protected areas Act, 2003 (NEMPA).

Twelve signatories signed the NAMBAF Statement of Intent (SoI) to indicate their commitment towards a collaborative and partnership driven stakeholder forum aimed at realizing the SKEP vision of grounding conservation efforts and programmes within the initiatives taken by the people of the Succulent Karoo.

Merriment ensued as SKEP programme developer Lubabalo Ntsholo spoke about consolidation efforts of the 10 year SKEP partnership and the participatory conservation efforts in Namaqualand, all of which have  lead up to the establishment of NAMBAF as a vibrant platform for promoting better coordination between stakeholders to help build on the work done by SKEP in the region.   On behalf of DENC MEC Sylvia Lucas, Head of Department at DENC Denver van Heerden inaugurated 39 persons to serve as members on the Northern Cape Provincial Coastal Committee (NC PCC). Julius Koen from DENC spoke about the important role the NC PCC has to play towards providing a platform for dialogue, co-operation and co-ordained action between the key organs of state and other structures involved in coastal and marine management in the Northern Cape Province.  Prior to the Signing of the Three Peaks Voluntary Conservancy Agreement, Malinda Gardiner of CSA spoke to delegates about the value of biodiversity stewardship and being a model for conserving the Kamiesberg Uplands. Katriena Schwartz and Jennifer Cloete of the Biodiversity and Red Meat Initiative (BRI), and Mervin Cloete from the Kamiesberg Local Municipality were in attendance to sign the Three Peaks Voluntary Conservation Agreement.

Richtersveld ward councillour Leon Ambrosini and Richtersveld Community Property Association (CPA) representative Willem Diergaardt signed the Intent to Declare the Orange River Mouth as a Nature Reserve.

The Gala Evening was highly successful. It enabled SKEP partners to display their commitment towards biodiversity conservation in Namaqualand.

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