CAPE is a 20 year partnership of government and civil society aimed at conserving and restoring the biodiversity of the Cape Floristic Region (CFR) and the adjacent marine environment, while delivering significant benefits to the people of the region.

What we do

The rationale of the CAPE partnership is to create linkages between government, the private sector and civil society so that we all work together with a common strategy for the conservation of the CFR, avoiding duplication, addressing gaps and uniting to leverage resources and to tackle agreed common priorities in terms of a shared vision.

The CAPE partnership was formed in 2001 in response to the challenges facing the CFR and envisioned that ‘by the year 2020, the co-operation of capable institutions ensures that the biodiversity of the CFR is conserved, restored, effectively managed and sustainably utilised, delivering significant benefits to the people of the region in a way that is embraced by local communities, endorsed by government and recognised internationally’.

The CAPE programme is co-ordinated by SANBI. SANBI convenes the partnership and supports the governance and co-ordination structures which provide strategic direction to the work of the 38 CAPE signatory partners; which consists of non-governmental organisations, municipalities, national and provincial government departments and conservation agencies. In doing so, SANBI provides opportunities for sharing; learning and working together and thereby breaking down institutional silos.

Over the first ten years of implementation the CAPE partnership has achieved much; including raising over $45 million of international donor funding for conservation which has been matched by partner contributions valued at over US$ 193 million. The partnership has facilitated co-operation between and across spheres of government; and supported the establishment of nine landscape initiatives across the region. Through the Table Mountain Fund and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, the partnership has also supported over 200 civil society led projects, and built the capacity of scores of young people who are emerging as tomorrow’s leaders.

Where we work

The geographic area of the CAPE partnership focuses on the CFR, which stretches from the Cederberg in the north-west, around the Western Cape coast and into the Eastern Cape up to the Nelson Mandela Metropole. As one of only six floral kingdoms in the world and with 9 600 recorded plant species, 70% of them found nowhere else on the planet, the region is a globally recognised biodiversity hotspot. With 80% of the region in private hands, it is imperative that any action for the conservation of the CFR would need to involve the people of the region.

During the first phase of implementation (2001 – 2010), the CAPE programme has enabled donor funding to be channelled into new areas of work and exciting new approaches to conservation including landscape initiatives, conservation stewardship, business and biodiversity, fine-scale planning, catchment management, conservation education and strengthening institutions.

During 2011, the programme undertook a review of the CAPE strategy which resulted in a revised strategy being formulated for the period 2011-2020.

Contact info

The co-ordination team is housed at the Rufford Maurice Laing Centre for Biodiversity Conservation, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town.

Tel: +27 (0)21 799 8863

Our Partnership

In the late 1990’s government and civil society organisations involved with biodiversity conservation tended to work in isolation from each other. The CAPE partnership was formed in 2001 in response to these and other challenges facing the Cape Floristic Region (CFR). Fourteen original parties to the CAPE Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) came together in support of a common vision and strategy. Since then the number of signatory partners to the MoU has grown to 38, all committed to working together towards a common strategy, avoiding duplication, addressing gaps and uniting to leverage resources and to tackle agreed common priorities in terms of the shared CAPE vision.

Current signatory partners are:

  • Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative
  • Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve
  • BirdLife South Africa
  • Botanical Society of South Africa
  • Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve Company
  • Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve Company
  • CapeNature
  • City of Cape Town
  • Conservation South Africa
  • Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries
  • Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
  • Department of Water and Sanitation
  • Development Bank of South Africa ·
  • Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism
  • Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform
  • Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency
  • Environmental Monitoring Group·
  • Fauna and Flora International
  • Flower Valley Conservation Trust·
  • Garden Route Biosphere Reserve
  • Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve
  • Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor
  • Indigo Development and Change
  • Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve Company
  • Living Lands
  • Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality
  • Open Africa
  • South African National Biodiversity Institute
  • South African National Parks
  • Table Mountain Fund
  • Upper Breede Collaborative Extension Group
  • Western Cape Stewardship and Protected Areas Expansion  Reference Group
  • Western Cape Department of Agriculture
  • Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning
  • Western Cape Biodiversity Planning and Implementation Forum
  • Wilderness Foundation
  • Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa
  • World Wide Fund for Nature -South Africa (WWF-SA)

Our Strategy

The original strategy, published in 2000 as the Cape Action Plan for the Environment, is a systematic plan to conserve the biodiversity of the Cape Floristic Region and the adjacent marine environment for the benefit of its people. The strategy was agreed on through a consultative process. Government and civil society partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing themselves to implementing the strategy. Over time, the goal and strategic objectives have been further developed.

The revised strategy for the second decade of the CAPE partnership builds on the original CAPE 20 year strategy, and incorporates emerging insights, opportunities and challenges from the first decade of implementation. The strategy aims to focus the efforts of the partnership, measuring the progress of the programme and enabling adaptive management through a monitoring and evaluation framework that supports the strategy. Eight strategic objectives guide the work of the partnership, and assist with both planning and tracking progress around:

  1. Strengthening institutional capacity, governance and communication for co-ordinated action.
  2. Enabling local level engagement and co-ordination through landscape initiatives.
  3. Integrating biodiversity into land-use planning and environmental management.
  4. Securing biodiversity through protected areas including biodiversity stewardship.
  5. Protecting biodiversity through sustainable production initiatives.
  6. Promoting ecosystem based adaptation to climate change through integrated catchment management.
  7. Delivering sustainable socio-economic and cultural benefits to local communities.
  8. Developing innovative approaches through research and knowledge networks.


Since its inception the CAPE partnership has developed a suite of resources, publications and tools. Please browse the selection below:

Programme documents

CAPE brochure: Sustaining Life in the Fynbos CAPE Memorandum of Understanding
Monitoring and Evaluation framework 2008 CAPE Strategy: 2000 & 2011


Biodiversity for Development Book – Primer Biodiversity Business: Biodiversity working for people & the environment
Biodiversity, Climate Change & Sustainable Development Conservation Education
Growing Together: Thinking & Practice of Urban Nature Conservators Invasive Alien Species Strategy – Greater Cape Floristic Region
Case studies


Biodiversity Briefing Series


 E-news Fynbos Fynmense Book: People making biodiversity work
Handprint materials  Mentoring to support work integrated learning
Methods and Processes to support change oriented learning Stewardship: operational procedures manual
Making the Case for Biodiversity resources

Project Development Handbooks


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