Garden Route Biosphere 2022 AGM

30 November 2022

12:00 to 13:30


You are cordially invited to the Garden Route Biosphere Reserves Non-Profit Company’s 2022 Annual General Meeting. The meeting will take place virtually using the Microsoft Teams platform from 12h00 on the 30th of November 2022. The programme will include a statement made by the Garden Route Biosphere chair and chief executive providing feedback on their various activities over the past year and a presentation of the financial statement. The programme will further include the presentation of the proposed updates to the Garden Route Biosphere constitution.

Please RSVP before 28 November 2022 at to receive a link to join the meeting.

For any further information please feel free to email Ms Aneri Roos at


We look forward to your participation at the event.


Garden Route Biosphere Reserve

Facilitation team


Karoo to Coast Biosphere Route Developer

Closing date 15 July 2022

The Garden Route and Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserves are seeking an individual with strong communication and stakeholder engagement skills who can take the first steps to initiate the development of the Karoo to Coast Biosphere Route, a walking trail focused on delivering human wellness benefits.


Responsibilities and key activities:

  • Formulate the Karoo to Coast Biosphere Route by identifying and nurturing relationships through meetings and workshops with key stakeholders for the purposes of facilitating the public-private-citizen partnership.
  •  Map a viable route and sites of interest along the route which crosses both the Gouritz Cluster and Garden Route Biosphere Reserves.
  •  Pursue funding for the future development of the Karoo to Coast Biosphere Route in collaboration with the Chief Executive and Chair of the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve.
  • Introduce the language of nature allied wellbeing by assisting with the generation of content for digital media.

Key outcomes

Through the appointment of a route developer the following outcomes are expected:

  • A mapped, proposed Karoo to Coast Biosphere Route indicating sites of interest.
  • Established relationships and the foundations for public-private-citizen partnerships with communities associated with the route.
  •  Project reports.
  • A digital presence for nature-allied well-being and the Karoo to Coast Biosphere Route.
  • Contributions to a funding proposal for future development of the Karoo to Coast Biosphere Route.


The following skills would be an advantage for successful applicants:

  • Good communication and collaboration skills for stakeholder engagement.
  • Project management skills.
  • Good writing skills.
  • Mapping skills.

Forward your application with a motivational letter, CV, relevant copies of qualification and identification to Ms Aneri Roos – by the 15th of July 2022.

Employment equity is important to the biosphere reserves and preference will be given to equity candidates. If you have not been responded to within 21 days after the closing date, do note that your application has been unsuccessful.



11 May 2022
10:00 to 15:00

Dear valued Stakeholder,

It is with great pleasure that we invite you to the 2nd Strategic Water Source Areas (SWSA) Network engagement. The SWSA Network engagements are designed to be collective learning events that bring together stakeholders from across the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve (GRBR), to share knowledge and information about key aspects of our SWSAs and related projects in the landscape.

In the first network engagement a strong call for information related to the SWSAs in the Garden Route was made.  The biosphere reserve and WWF have responded to the call and established a State of Knowledge project for the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma SWSAs, which will be introduced at the engagement. Furthermore, we will present feedback from the SWSA Network stakeholder analysis, where we hope to get your input on who else we should be engaging with. We will also provide feedback about the establishment of the SWSA Working Group, which is designed to be a higher level landscape decision-making and co-management platform for the GRBR.

The engagement will take place virtually using Microsoft Teams from 10h00 to 15h00 on the 11th of May 2022. The programme for the event will further include presentations and discussions around four key topics: 1) Water and human well-being, 2) Water and risk, 3) Water and economy, and 4) Water rights and responsibilities. Click here for the detailed programme.

Please register your interest here by 9 May 2022.

We look forward to your participation at the event.

Garden Route Biosphere Reserve
Facilitation team


Our AGM was held online 1st December during which the current GRBR Chair – Prof. Robert Fincham – and the GRBR Chief Executive  – Dr. Bianca Currie – presented their annual statements and annual reports respectively.

These can downloaded here and read at your leisure:

Chairperson’s Statement AGM 2021

Chief Executive’s Annual Report 2021

We welcome feedback and comments can be emailed to

Thank you and best wishes for the season.

Dear Garden Route Biosphere Reserve Stakeholders, 

You are kindly invited to join the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve 2021 Annual General Meeting to be held online via Microsoft Teams. 

Date: Wednesday, 1st of December 2021 

Time: 11h00 – 12h30 

RSVP: Ms. Luzanne Visagie at before 29 November to receive a link to join the meeting. 


Connecting to TEAMS 

Please note that you will need to either

(1) download the TEAMS App to your device ( ) or

(2) you can join via (2) the web browser (link provided when you rsvp and receive meeting invite link) to access the platform. 

The meeting documents and a link to join the meeting will be sent to you when you RSVP. 

How to join a TEAMS meeting 

(1) Join a Teams meeting from the app ( ): From your Calendar, select Join on an in-progress meeting. Choose the audio and video settings you want. Select Join now. OR 

(2) Join a Teams meeting on the web: In your email invite, select Join Microsoft Teams Meeting. Type in your name. Choose the audio and video settings you want. Select Join now. Depending on meeting settings, you will get in right away, or go to a lobby where someone in the meeting can admit you. 

You can also view an instructional video here: 


Online Meeting Etiquette 

To ensure that our session runs as efficiently as possible we ask that you take note of the following online meeting etiquette: 

  • Please note that the session will be recorded and your participation in the meeting indicates acknowledgement of this. 
  • When joining the meeting please have you microphone on mute to cut out any background noise, you can enable it when you need to speak. 
  • To get the Chair’s attention we ask that you put your camera on (if you wish to do so) or raise your hand or ask to be addressed in the comments. The Chair will acknowledge your request and invite you to enable your camera and or microphone. 
  • When it is your turn to speak, please announce your name before speaking. 
  • You may wish to use the conversation chats on the side to send a message. Please also introduce yourself when commenting in the chat. 

We look forward to seeing you there. 

Best wishes, 

Robert Fincham 

Chair, Garden Route Biosphere Reserve 

AGM 2021 – Website Notice.pdf

Save the Date: 15 September, 2021

Dear valued stakeholder,

Water is linked to nearly all aspects of our economy, human health and well-being, and is tied to nearly every Sustainable Development Goal we seek to achieve.

Water is related to much of what we all do in the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve and therefore requires an integrated approach where a diversity of stakeholders can come together to learn and co-ordinate for the sustainable management of water resources in the area. Click here for more background information. 

The Garden Route Biosphere Reserve and WWF South Africa is therefore excited to invite you to the first Strategic Water Source Areas (SWSAs) Network Engagement.

15 September 2021 (online)
10:00 to 15:00 

Register your interest here

The SWSAs network engagement will be a virtual event primarily structured around three important conversations. Ten-minute pre-recorded presentations will be distributed before the event to catalyse the conversations on the day of the network engagement. With climate change as a cross cutting theme, we will have the following conversations:
  • Conversation 1: Water & economy
  • Conversation 2: Water & fire risk 
  • Conversation 3: Water & human well-being
The Social Learning Network Engagement will commence at 10:00 and the dialogues will follow from 11:00 onwards and will not overlap so that participants can attend one, two or all three of the dialogue sessions, depending on their interests. We would appreciate your contribution and participation in the conversations that take place so we can get the necessary diversity of views, perspectives and opinions so that we can improve security of the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma SWSAs.
Please register your interest here by 6 September for attending this SWSAs network engagement event. You will be asked to provide us with your email address so that we may further communicate with you directly and send you the programme and links to access the presentations, and to connect with us on the day.
We look forward to engaging with you!

Kind regards,
Garden Route Biosphere Reserve

The Garden Route Biosphere Reserve (GRBR) has initiated a regional project focused on Strategic Water Source Areas (SWSAs) in the biosphere reserve domain.

Water resource management within the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Strategic Water Source Areas is complex and requires a landscape level approach involving the collaboration of a great diversity of stakeholders from multiple sectors (e.g., agriculture, farming, government sector, non-governmental organisations), and from multiple levels (e.g., local, district, provincial, national).

With the support of the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa the GRBR is initiating the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Water Source Partnership project. The project aims to capacitate the GRBR to manage and coordinate partnership activities at a landscape scale, to ensure better water security of the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Strategic Water Source Areas, through the establishment of a Strategic Water Source Areas network and working group, which can facilitate social learning and adaptive management of water resources in the region.

Dr. Bianca Currie introduces the project, its purpose and status in the short video update below.


Dr. Bianca Currie, Chair of the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve, prepared this report as a yearly review for the Annual General Meeting held online in December 2020. The Report has since undergone some minor modifications to reflect recent updates and news. It can also be viewed here as a pdf document.

Chairs Report

Garden Route Biosphere Reserve

Annual General Meeting (online), 3rd December 2020

The COVID-19 global pandemic was the great 2020 disrupter, changing our world as we know it, turning our lives upside down, and disrupting our “normal”. It impacted on how we work, live, and engage with one another in fundamental ways. The pandemic has presented itself not only as a serious health issue, but also a wider societal one which has revealed deep social chasms across the world. In South Africa, it has brought our vulnerabilities into stark light, especially inequality and food insecurity, as our government attempts to balance the economic impacts with the ongoing health risks the pandemic poses.

Although the pandemic can be viewed as a significant disrupter to our social-ecological systems, it can also be seen as an opportunity.  There are several scenarios, all dependent on how leaders, governments and society respond to the virus and its economic aftermath. I believe the pandemic provides us with a window of opportunity to reflect on our world and to refocus our attention on what we value. We can choose to use this crisis to reimagine our futures and create a more humane, equitable and better world.

So, in our rush to return to “normal”, I hope we consider what it is we wish to rush back to: Will we take the chance to change some of what we do, and how we do it?

1. Impact on the GRBR

 During 2020, the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve (GRBR) and its activities were severely impacted by the pandemic.

Strategy Development Workshops

 We were in the midst of a large-scale participatory strategy development process when the country went into a national lockdown. The reports from the two workshops we managed to conduct before March can be found on our website. However, the numerous workshops scheduled during the months of May and June, as part of this process were cancelled, as the preferred in-person methods of engagement were inappropriate for these times.  A fully inclusive participatory process still seems distant, given ongoing trends. ,

Changing GRBR Landscape

 Furthermore, the regional social landscape is changing in light of the pandemic and what we were planning for then, is no longer the world we find now, or will find post-COVID. With this in mind, the GRBR chose to put our collaborative strategy development process on hold until such time we can fully engage and reassess what a post COVID-19 world may look like.

2. Opportunities for the GRBR

Despite the setbacks, we nonetheless choose to seize the window of opportunity to reflect, reprioritise, and refocus toward being responsive to the immediate needs of our stakeholders during these times. While staying true to our focus areas, we chose to prioritise fundraising for food security, water, sanitation and employment.  We believe these focus areas respond to the immediate needs in the landscape and works toward making the GRBR more adaptive and resilient going forward. We spent time finding ways to support our stakeholders in COVID recovery strategies and working with others in leveraging and applying for funding.

 Strategic Water Source Areas

 One of the wins from these efforts has been working with the WWF to secure funding for landscape coordination in the Strategic Water Source Areas in the GRBR over the next two years.  This funding will provide the GRBR with much needed capacity on the ground which we have sorely needed. The focus will be on securing the environmental integrity of these strategic areas to deliver ecosystem services to the important economies, and over 500 000 people living in the GRBR.

Stakeholder Engagement

Further enhancing our capacity on the ground, and thanks to additional funding from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning we are now also a position to employ a stakeholder engagement officer on a three-month contract to specifically engage with municipalities on behalf of the GRBR, to help them work with us in terms of spatial development planning and sustainable development projects. The position of Land-Use Engagement Officer was recently advertised and can be found on the GRBR website.

Keurbooms River Catchment

The GRBR has now also joined the “Keurbooms Catchment Ecological Infrastructure Investment Work Group”which has been established to act as a platform for collaboration between ecological infrastructure role-players in the Keurbooms River catchment, including those that supply and those that use key ecosystem goods and services.  The aim of the working group is to promote and facilitate enhanced investment in ecological infrastructure restoration and management.

Crèches Project & Youth Leadership

In an effort to help our younger communities to be more sustainable and resilient during these times, the GRBR is currently developing a proposal to support the collaboration between the Landmark Foundation and the George Municipality for a Crèches Project. The Landmark Foundation project focuses on encouraging new attitudes toward the environment and instilling sound values in society that will benefit the community. In its two-phased approach, food gardening and recycling are coupled to promote sustainability and resilient communities.  The project is set to be introduced in all municipal creches in the Garden Route.  Furthermore, together with the Sustainability Research Unit at the Nelson Mandela University, South African National Parks and the Knysna Municipality, the GRBR applied for funding from V.Kann Rassmussen Foundation for a youth leadership project. Unfortunately, this proposal was not successful but alternative funders are being sought.

Freshwater & Terrestrial Observation

 One of the more significant proposals the GRBR has been working on this year was the nomination of the GRBR and Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR) domain as an EFTEON (Expanded Freshwater and Terrestrial Environmental Observation Network) instrumented landscape.  This means that EFTEON aims to provide and operate a network of instrumented landscapes (i.e. areas equipped environmental monitoring capabilities) for the South African environmental research community, gathering socially relevant data on ecological and hydrological systems.

Garden Route Gateway Site Proposal

The GRBR together with the GCBR, Nelson Mandela University, SANParks, Living Lands and Land Care proposed the Garden Route Gateway site.  If successful, it will hopefully result in a substantial investment in research instrumentation and infrastructure in the region and will generate social and ecological data to help us better understand the anthropogenic influence on our environment in the face of climate change. Excitingly, the data will be Open Source and available to all stakeholders in the country. Operations within the landscape will also strengthen our relationship and collaboration with our neighbours, the GCBR. The proposal has been submitted and we eagerly await news which should come soon.

Eastern Cape Engagement

 Another progress area is our reach in the Eastern Cape.  Until now, we have had limited reach in these eastern regions of the GRBR, but this is changing as Wentzel Coetzer drives more activity and involvement in the area. There has been engagement with the Kouga Local Municipality on numerous occasions throughout the past quarter to find ways to secure a number of municipal properties in the Cape St Francis area for conservation.

Stakeholder Communications

 Although we would like to do much more, we have nevertheless made strides in communicating more frequently with you, our stakeholders. In 2020, we revised our website, posted materials relevant to our activities, and released interim newsletter updates.

3. Summary

Despite our world being turned upside down by the pandemic, and the deviations we have had to make from our collaborative strategy development process, we are hopeful that we can recommence the process sometime in soon this year, although the exact timing remains uncertain.

I am pleased with the progress and achievements we have made this past year and feel our effort will lead to a better 2021, where we will have more capacity and funding to play a role in the landscape.

Although we have strengthened our capacity for stakeholder engagement and coordination in the GRBR, we are still limited in our ability to be an implementing agent in the landscape, and rather see our strength in collaborating with our stakeholders on the ground.  I believe our achievements in 2020 are testament to that.  We would not have achieved what we did without the efforts of many and the willingness to work together.

I thank you all.

 Dr Bianca Currie

3rd December, 2020

GRBR Chair Report 2020 (pdf)