Biodiversity and Land Use Project

The Biodiversity and Land Use Project was initiated in 2015 to support municipalities in effectively regulating land use to ensure that biodiversity continues to provide essential ecosystem services to municipal residents. The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) is currently implementing the project, together with its partners, with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) though the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

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The overarching objective of the project is to:

Minimise the multiple threats to biodiversity by increasing the capabilities of authorities and land owners to regulate land use and manage biodiversity in threatened ecosystems at the municipal scale.

Component 1: Land-use regulation and environmental management

The first component of the Project deals with land-use management, regulation, compliance and enforcement. The Project aims to encourage the uptake of biodiversity considerations into municipal planning and decision-making, with an emphasis on strengthening biodiversity content in Integrated Development Plans and Spatial Development Frameworks. In addition to land-use regulation, the Project aims to work with relevant government departments to develop and implement other environmental management tools in support of improved biodiversity mainstreaming. It also aims to increase the capacity of regulatory authorities to carry out their functions more effectively with regard to biodiversity. The Project will illustrate the possible financial gains from incorporating ecosystem services into municipal planning, which will ultimately promote increased budget allocation for investments in ecological infrastructure within municipalities.

Component 2: Incentives on private and communal land

The second component of the Project focuses on improving the management of land and natural resources, to ensure that priority biodiversity is able to persist in a healthy functioning state. Most of the biodiversity priority areas in the target districts are on land that is either privately or communally owned. Thus, the Project will involve the implementation of biodiversity stewardship agreements on private and communal land. Biodiversity stewardship is an approach to entering into agreements with private and communal landowners to protect and manage land in biodiversity priority areas. Biodiversity stewardship programmes are currently underfunded. Through this Project, private and communal landowners will be empowered to become custodians of important biodiversity on their land.

What we do

Mainstreaming biodiversity into land-use planning at municipal level.

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Where we work

The Biodiversity and Land Use Project is being implemented in four districts and their local municipalities. These municipalities occur in global biodiversity hotspots and national biodiversity priority areas.

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Who to contact

For more information on the Biodiversity and Land-Use Project, please email

Independent Midterm Review 

At the end of November 2017, the UNDP concluded its midterm review on the project.  Please click here to access the Independent Midterm Review report.

Last updated on 01 March 2018
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