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.

The Western Cape Biosphere Reserve Research Workshop Report 2019 can be viewed here.

This workshop took place on 19th June 2019 and was hosted by the Sustainability Research Unit at Nelson Mandela University, George Campus.

Responding to the challenges brought to light in the 2018 workshop, the SRU hosted a second one-day workshop aimed at developing an inter and transdisciplinary network of working groups for research in the Western Cape biosphere reserves. The 2019 workshop provided a space and process for the coordinated organisation of research working groups, based on, but not limited to the themes that emerged last year. The workshop also provided an opportunity for stakeholders at multiple levels, sectors, and disciplines to engage and communicate with one another and to overcome communication challenges across levels, sectors and fields.

In an attempt to build on the results of the 2018 workshop the desired outcomes of the 2019 workshop were to fertilise a collaborative research network for the biosphere reserves in the Western Cape. Primarily the workshop sets out to 1) encourage the formulation of a network of research working groups by bringing together interested and affected parties to form working groups for each theme; 2) elect co-chairs / champions for each working group; 3) facilitate working group dialogues to determine the scope of each working group; 4) provide a space for the development of Terms of Reference (ToR) for the working group and; 5) Nurture a biosphere-based collaborative research network that will be able to source new funding in the years to come.

Participants in the 2019 workshop reflected on the 2018 themes and pointed out that the themes did not include a space for marine and coastal research. Participants also felt that it was a bit premature to establish formalized working groups. Instead participants engaged around what research working groups could contribute to biosphere reserves and what steps need to take place to establish them.

This report provides a record of the 2019 workshop process and outcomes. It seeks to capture and document the small group dialogue feedback sessions and the participants’ contribution to the outputs of the workshops.

View WCBR Research Workshop Report (19 June 2019)