SANBI hosts a global biodiversity mainstreaming workshop

29 October 2013

Biodiversity Workshop

 

 

 

 

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) is proud to have been the host of a successful global workshop on biodiversity mainstreaming held at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden from 30 September to 3 October 2013. The workshop was convened by the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and follows on from a seminal biodiversity mainstreaming workshop held in South Africa in 2004.

The theme of this year’s workshop was “Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation in Production Sectors” and was attended by more than 30 delegates who represented biodiversity mainstreaming practitioners from across the world. The workshop aimed to strengthen the performance of the mainstreaming projects, and to achieve an enhanced understanding of successes and failures in employing mainstreaming approaches.

In this year’s meeting, SANBI and the Grasslands Programme had an opportunity to participate in discussions to reflect on and shape the biodiversity mainstreaming strategies of the GEF. Biodiversity mainstreaming has been a strategic objective of the GEF Biodiversity Focal Area since 2002 with subsequent refinements built on the advice of the GEF’s STAP. The GEF funds mainstreaming projects globally, including SANBI-led C.A.P.E. and Grasslands Programmes.

The STAP is an advisory body of the GEF mandated to provide objective, strategic scientific and technical advice on GEF policies, operational strategies, programmes and projects and on programmatic approaches and priorities for GEF funding.

Notable achievements

SANBI hosted participants on a one day field trip around the Cape Peninsula to showcase the impacts of GEF investments in conserving the biodiversity of the Cape Floristic Region through mainstreaming. The workshop began in earnest after that, with presentations and discussions on biodiversity mainstreaming experiences from around the world. Anthea Stephens, Director of the Grasslands Programme, said of the workshop, “the value of bringing mainstreaming experiences together helps us grow, improve and build on this global body of practice and better understand the role of mainstreaming in addressing the Aichi Targets”.

SANBI made significant contributions to the discussions. Kristal Maze, Chief Director: Biodiversity Planning and Policy Advice, gave a presentation on “Lessons learnt from policy and planning mainstreaming approaches implemented since 2004 in South Africa” followed by a presentation from Mandy Driver, Director: Biodiversity Policy Advice, on “Mobilising finance for managing biodiversity assets and ecological infrastructure in South Africa” and finally, Anthea Stephens, Director of the Grasslands Programme presented “At the coal face: mainstreaming biodiversity into forestry, mining and agriculture in South African grasslands”. Her presentation shared the approach to mainstreaming used by the Grasslands Programme, its experiences of mainstreaming in forestry, mining and agriculture, the lessons learnt over the five years, and foundations laid for ensuring returns on the catalytic investment of the GEF.

In the Grasslands Programme’s five years of implementation, notable achievements have been made in securing areas important for biodiversity conservation, influencing policies and regulations, strengthening institutional capacity and catalysing pilot projects that demonstrate biodiversity gains across sectors. The Grasslands Programme has identified that these achievements were evident when six key ‘ingredients’ or principles for mainstreaming biodiversity were applied. The principles are also showcased in a short booklet which is available online at www.grasslands.org.za.

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