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)

We are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty remains as to when the GRBR collaborative strategy development process can be resumed.  Despite this we have not been idle – retaining our overall vision for the process, and instead looking for ways to support our stakeholders in COVID recovery strategies in the interim.

Our focus during this difficult time has been on working with others in leveraging and applying for funding.

Our progress to date is provided in this update.

Landscape Coordination in Strategic Water Source Areas

Strategic Water Source Areas (SWSA) are those areas that supply a disproportionate amount of mean annual runoff to a geographical region of interest, often supplying substantial downstream economies and urban centres which are vital to the economy. These WSAs are strategically important areas for sustainable development, and especially so in the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve.

Working with the WWF and the Nedbank Green Trust Fund, the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve (GRBR) has managed to secure funding for landscape coordination in the GRBR for the next two years, which will provide the reserve with much needed capacity on the ground.   The focus is on securing the environmental integrity of these areas to deliver ecosystem services to the important economies and over 500 000 people living in the Biosphere Reserve.

Research Infrastructure

One of the more significant proposals the GRBR has been working on was the nomination of the Garden Route and Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR) domain as an Expanded Freshwater and Terrestrial Environmental Observation Network (EFTEON) instrumented landscape.  The EFTEON is research infrastructure developed under the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR) program of the Department of Science and Innovation (https://efteon.saeon.ac.za/).  EFTEON aims to provide and operate a network of instrumented landscape-level platforms for the South African environmental research community, focused on socially relevant terrestrial landscapes and their coupled hydrological systems.

The GRBR together with the GCBR, Nelson Mandela University, South African National Parks, Living Lands and Land Care have proposed the footprint of the Garden Route and Gouritiz Cluster Biosphere Reserves as an EFTEON landscape, namely the Garden Route Gateway site.  The nomination proposes a network of sites, with a core site located at the Nelson Mandela University (NMU – George Campus), where the significant research infrastructure and facilities are located in the landscape. The network of sites would include satellite sites at Prince Albert – with a field office at Wolwekraal; the Duiwenhoeks catchment – with a field office at the GCBR in Riversdale; Baviaanskloof – with a field office at Living Lands in Studtis; and the Kromme River catchment – with a field office at Living Lands in Joubertina.

Should this nomination be successful it will hopefully result in a substantial investment in research instrumentation and infrastructure in the region.  It will provide a suite of relevant long-term environmental observational and data management infrastructure to add value to existing research efforts within the landscape and facilitate further ecological and socio-ecological research. The instrumentation will generate significant open source data made available for all stakeholders in the domain. This data will help us better understand anthropogenic influence on our environment. We eagerly await the selection decision from EFTEON and believe the Garden Route Gateway Site to be a strong nomination.

Western Cape Ecological Infrastructure Investment Framework (EIIF)

Under the Western Cape Ecological Infrastructure Investment Framework (EIIF), the Keurbooms River Catchment was identified as a priority area in which investments in ecological infrastructure could reduce critical water security challenges, wildfire risks and biodiversity losses. The Western Cape Government has spearheaded the development of an initiative aimed at enhancing investment in ecological infrastructure management and restoration in this catchment area.

After consulting with key stakeholders in Keurbooms River catchment, the “Keurbooms Catchment Ecological Infrastructure Investment Work Group” 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. The GRBR has become a member of the Work Group and we look forward to the work it will do.

Youth Leadership

The Garden Route Biosphere Reserve is a high value biodiversity asset, but with numerous ecological and social drivers threatening the GRBR region such as climate change, increasing urbanisation, spread of invasive alien species, and unsustainable harvesting of natural resources.  At the same time there are enormous challenges to meet the needs of a growing population with high levels of inequality and unemployment. These social and ecological drivers threaten the sustainability of the region as do (sub-)cultures (e.g. consumption and un/sustainable practices), poor leadership and governance practices.  The environmental breakdown is being accelerated by COVID-19, a phenomenon simulating future climate change perturbations.  The need for alternative leadership is required to reverse these trends.

Together with the Sustainability Research Unit at the Nelson Mandela University, South African National Parks and the Knysna Municipality the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve applied for funding from V. Kann Rassmussen Foundation within their Cultural Resilience and Global Leadership under the Conditions of Environmental Breakdown programme for youth leadership for resilient environment and communities. We proposed developing and testing a youth-led resilience that will challenge the existing paradigm, and that can be upscaled to other locations.  Unfortunately, this proposal was not successful but alternative funders are being sought.

Crèches Project

In an effort to help our younger communities be sustainable and resilient during these times, the GRBR is currently developing a proposal to support the collaboration between the George Municipality and Landmark Foundation in their Crèches Project.  The 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.

Food Security and Sustainability

The GRBR has been in support of the Sustainable Cities Forum (SCF), newly established in 2019 to champion long-term social and ecological well-being in the Garden Route by promoting sustainability and action based on research and partnership with communities. Part funding has been received by the SCF to provide a standalone situation report on the current efforts by a range of groups in the George area to address local food security and sustainability. The outcome of this report will assist decision-makers and funders to determine how best to align and optimise efforts aimed at addressing food security in the Garden Route.

Activities in the Eastern Cape

Until recently, the GRBR had limited influence or reach in the eastern regions of the Biosphere, but this is changing as we drive more activity and involvement in the area. Through the Kouga Local Municipality Spatial Development Framework (SDF) review it was noted that a significant portion of the Biosphere Reserve which falls within the Kouga Local Municipality was not recognised in the SDF.  Comments were submitted to Kouga Local Municipality in September 2020 to address this.  It is hoped that putting the Biosphere Reserve on the SDF map will foster greater recognition and collaboration with the municipality.

Furthermore, 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.  A total of 402 flora species have been recorded in the area, 31 of which are recognized as species of special conservation concern and about 40% of the flora species are endemic to the Cape Floristic Region (CFR), making it a high priority for conservation and the GRBR.

Garden Route Biosphere Reserve AGM

Another year has passed, and it is also time for our Annual General Meeting (AGM). However, with the dramatic increase of infections in the Eastern Cape and with a cluster outbreak in the Garden Route we have decided to avoid putting any of our stakeholders at risk and have opted to hold our AGM virtually on the 4th of December at 10h00.

We have emailed our stakeholders an invitation but if you have not received one it means your contact details may not be updated on our database.  You can find the details of the invitation on the GRBR website and we would appreciate you notifying us (admin@gardenroutebiosphere.org.za) of your most recent contact details for any future correspondence.

Sincerely,

Dr. Bianca Currie

Chair

Notice: Annual General Meeting GRBR 

4th of December 2020, 10h00 – 11h30

Dear Garden Route Biosphere Reserve stakeholders,

With COVID-19 still very much with us and the need to avoid public gatherings, we are holding the forthcoming AGM online.

You are cordially invited to join the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve 2020 Annual General Meeting to be held via Microsoft Teams.   (View AGM invitation as pdf)

Please RSVP Ms Luzanne Visagie at admin@gardenroutebiosphere.org.za before 1 December to receive a link to join the meeting.

AGENDA

 1. Welcome 

2. Introduction of board members present 

3. Apologies 

4. Ratification of previous minutes 

5. Matters arising 

6. Chairman’s statement 

7. Presentation of the financial statements 

8. Questions and answers 

9. Closing 

 

Connecting to TEAMS

Please note that you will need to either (1) download the TEAMS App to your device (https://www.microsoft.com/en-za/microsoft-365/microsoft-teams/downlaod-app) or 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 (https://www.microsoft.com/en-za/microsoft-365/microsoft-teams/download-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’ll 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH6bSIwR0-4

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 chairperson’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 hope you can join us and look forward to seeing you there.

Luzanne Visagie

Administrator

Garden Route Biosphere Reserve

AGM invite 2020

For this mid-year update, I was hoping to address you as our stakeholders on a more positive note. However, the COVID-19 global pandemic has indeed changed the world as we know it, turning our lifestyles upside down and disrupting our ‘normal’. The pandemic is impacting on how we work, live, and engage with one another in fundamental ways. It has presented itself not only as a serious health issue, but also a 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 (in)security as our leaders attempt to do their best 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. 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 and better world.  So, in our rush to return to ‘normal’, we should be considering what it is we wish to rush back to. Will we take the chance to change how and what we do?

The Garden Route Biosphere Reserve and its activities have naturally been severely impacted.  We were in the midst of a participatory collaborative strategy development process when the country went into a national lockdown.  The many workshops scheduled during the months of May and June as part of this process have been halted as the methods of engagement are inappropriate for our current times.  Furthermore, the landscape is changing in light of the pandemic and what we were planning for may no longer be the world we find post-COVID.

We considered taking the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve (GRBR) collaborative strategy development process online, as so many engagements have done, but we fear this approach would further marginalise those we so desperately seek to involve.  It seemingly perpetuates the inequalities in our country, favouring those with the ability and access to online engagements and leave the silent voices out of the planning for the future. With this in mind, the GRBR has chosen to put our collaborative strategy development process on hold until such time we can fully engage better reassess what a post COVID-19 world looks like.

Despite the setbacks to our collaborative strategy development process, we nonetheless choose to seize the window of opportunity to reflect, reprioritise and focus on being responsive to the immediate needs of our stakeholders during these tumultuous times.  We are therefore investing our efforts into fundraising for urban food and water security, sanitation and other relevant job creation projects.

We believe our temporary deviation in focus responds to some of the pressing needs in the landscape and works toward making the GRBR more adaptive and resilient going forward.

Sincerely,

Dr Bianca Currie

Chair, Garden Route Biosphere Reserve

The Environmental Education Strategic Planning Workshop Report is now available for download.

This report is focused on the outcomes of the first Youth Environmental Education Workshop held at the Environmental Education Centre at the Garden Route Botanical Gardens on the 26th of February 2020. These notes document the outcomes of the workshop which was primarily aimed at mapping the ‘education landscape’ and identifying gaps and needs in youth environmental education in the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve domain.

The first workshop invited participants to introduce their organisation and briefly share with the group their education focus  current activities. A second open discussion was facilitated around the gaps and needs in youth environmental education in the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve.

A post-workshop survey eliciting participants’ feedback on the workshop yielded positive responses. Comments included:

• Informative, inspiring and “eye opening” • Good, necessary and important! • Productive • Well-structured and well conducted.

Many participants commented on the fair and open discussion where the diverse stakeholders were given a platform to share their programs and exchange ideas. However, one participant offered constructive criticism and wrote, “some key players were absent” and added that some topics were somewhat broad and irrelevant. The participant stated that for future discussions it would be best to narrow the focus in order to be more productive. Other participants highlighted the need to get teachers involved and that the time-slot for the workshop inhibited their participation.

Workshop outcomes – including opportunities and challenges – will need to be revisited given the COVID-19 impacts on education spaces.

VIEW THE OUTCOMES REPORT HERE

The final report for the Strategic Planning Workshop:

“Identifying and addressing drivers of urbanisation, land use and land use change and capacity building in the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve” is now available. 

DOWNLOAD / VIEW HERE

This report comes to you in the light of COVID-19 and as the Country remains in lockdown as a result of efforts to stem the impact of the virus on the healthcare system, and inevitably, on the population. In reviewing the report, please also note the following two quotes, the one from our President, Cyril Ramaphosa and the other from Arundhti Roy, author of the book ‘The God of small things’ (1997).

For billions across the world, and for us here in South Africa, the coronavirus pandemic has changed everything.  We can no longer work in the way we have before…as South Africans we will need to adapt to a new reality.  As we emerge from this crisis, our country will need to undergo a process of fundamental reconstruction.

~ President Ramaphosa, April 2020, second address to the nation regarding COVID-19 impacts.

…coronavirus had made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are racing back and forth, longing for a return to ‘normality’, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worst than a return to normality…. Pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice…our dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.

~ Arundhti Roy, April 2020 (Author of the book ‘The God of small things’ (1997)).

We thank you for post workshop comments which we have hopefully captured successfully in this final report.

We ask that you re-read it in the light of COVID-19. We cannot resume the process of looking at the Garden Route without thinking of a new reality and how we must contribute to it. Please consider how we can prepare to engage the process of land use and land use change and capacity building in the terribly unequal world we are now leaving as we step through the portal Arundhti Roy talks of.

Kind Regards
Robert Fincham
Project Leader

In light of the Corona virus / Covid-19 threat and ensuing advice arising from the President’s address (15 March 2020), we regret to inform you that all the workshops (all focus areas) for the GRBR collaborative strategy development process will be cancelled until further notice.

These scheduled workshops include:

Town and land Use Planning
3 April 2020 (Knysna)
15 May 2020 (Jeffreys Bay)

Water pollution
24 March 2020 (Knysna)
8 May 2020 (George)

Education
18 March 2020 (George)
8 April 2020 (George)

We will communicate new dates once the threat has passed and apologize for the inconvenience.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Bianca Currie
Chair
UNESCO Garden Route Biosphere Reserve

Invitation to address water quality issues in the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve

Date: Tuesday 24th March 2020
Venue: Knysna Log-Inn Hotel, 16 Gray St, Knysna Central, South Africa
Link to venue: https://goo.gl/maps/gs7x3REvce29wWdr5 

Workshop Overview
The Garden Route Biosphere Reserve (GRBR) is undergoing a collaborative strategy development process, and as part of this process interested individuals and organisation are cordially invited to attend the first of two workshops to identify and contribute to tackling water quality issues within the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve. We hope that our approach will lead to a strong sense of action required at the landscape level, while learning from and working with specific project level work already underway. We are looking for tangible actions that can be taken to conserve our valuable water resources.

The purpose of the first workshop is to:
1. Identify and discuss major threats to water quality in the GRBR domain,
2. Identify existing water quality initiatives, where we invite participants with existing initiatives to give a short (5 minutes) introduction.
3. Ask how we as a community can come together to tackle some of the identified threats and to support existing successful initiatives.

The key outcomes of both workshops are to establish a working group to develop a programme to tackle Water Pollution, which the GRBR will ratify into a proposal document by June 2020.  The proposal will be used to leverage the GRBR as an overarching mechanism to raise funds for coordinated actions by stakeholders in the landscape which are aligned with the vision and mission of the GRBR.

Participants are encouraged to commit to and attend both workshops to ensure continuity and consistency in the development of ideas, knowledge and outcomes.  The workshops will be held on Tuesday 24th of March in Knysna and Friday 8th of May in George.

Registration for the Workshops
Please express your interest in attending as soon as possible, but not later than 19th of March 2020.

 RSVP email to Luzanne Visagie at admin@gardenroutebiosphere.org.za  (or Luzanne.visagie@mandela.ac.za)

Contact Person: Dr Louw Claassens
Email Address: kyss.louw@gmail.com

Please let us know if you would like to occupy a 5-minute slot to introduce your initiative.

Project Team: Bianca Currie, Louw Claassens and Ntombi Vundla