Minister Manuel praises SANBI at COP17 Living Beehive Launch

07 December 2011

On 30 November 2011, the Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Rejoice Mabudhafasi, unveiled the Living Beehive, an art installation which was commissioned as a UNFCCC Conference of Parties 17 (COP 17) legacy project at the Durban Botanical Gardens.

At the same event, Minister in the Presidency: National Planning Commission, Mr Trevor Manuel announced SANBI's accreditation as the National Implementing Entity (NIE) for the recently established Adaptation Fund of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In this announcement, Manuel underscored  the unambiguous link between funding, biodiversity and human well-being saying: "You abandon the source of funding and you weaken SANBI, you weaken SANBI, you weaken our ability to reclaim our biodiversity and as you do that you also take food off the tables of the poor".

Manuel went on to commend SANBI for building the LIving Beehive saying: "It (the Beehive) is about what we're capable of being...and what we need to be capable of, is living at one with our environment".

Structure of the Beehive

9 m High and 17 m in diameter, the Living Beehive offers South Africa a unique opportunity to showcase its rich blend of natural, cultural and mineral wealth.

Drawing on the traditional architecture of Zulu Beehive huts, iQukwane, the Living Beehive is built with high technology steel frames, covered with a living roof and walls.

Deputy President stresses Importance of Healthy Ecosystems

Beehive unveiled in Durban Garden

In his keynote address at the opening of the COP 17 Expo on 27 November, the Deputy President of South Africa, His Excellency Kgalema Motlanthe acknowledged the role of healthy ecosystems as a natural solution to buffer us against the effects of climate change, saying: "While engineering solutions have provided us with great improvements in development and human well-being, they alone are unlikely to help us deal with climate change. Healthy intact ecosystems - dependent on our rich biodiversity - provide society with food, water, grazing and biomass, an important source of energy and building material".

Beehive's Living Walls represent Healthy Ecosystems

The Beehive's living walls represent the importance of these healthy ecosystems, which are populated with indigenous grasses, forbs and bulbs typical of the rolling hills of the grasslands in KwaZulu-Natal. Such grasslands provide grazing for cattle, habitat for medicinal plants, prevent soil erosion and ensure clean water provisioning for South Africa's major urban centres and the millions of people who inhabit them. Ecosystems such as wetlands, grassy mountain catchments, forests and mangroves also store carbon (providing the most cost effective means of reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere).

'Beehive Thinking'

The Living Beehive brings together people, engineering and biodiversity and shows that when these elements work in tandem, solutions to major challenges such as climate change can be found. This is 'Beehive Thinking'.

Beehive Designers & Partners

Beehive Design

Designed by internationally acclaimed designer David Davidson - who has won over a dozen gold medals for South Africa at the Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower show - and Leon Kluge, a specialist in Living Wall design, the Beehive is a place of beauty and tranquillity. A place where visitors are invited to be still, breathe, and enjoy a quiet moment reverence.

The Beehive is a joint project, funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, and implemented by the South African National Biodiversity Institute, eThekwini Municipality and the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust.

See a videomontage of the building of the Beehive

See a video of the opening ceremony

See a video of  Mr Trevor Manuel's speech at the opening.

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