The Cape Action for People and the Environment (CAPE) Landscape Initiatives held a learning exchange in Arniston on 27 and 28 August 2019 to focus on the ongoing CAPE Legacy Project which involves facilitating and documenting a participant-driven evaluation of CAPE. The learning exchange facilitation process involved the presence of CAPE landscape members as the primary project informants, core stakeholders and the main source for inputs, insights, and information regarding the CAPE Legacy Project.

This knowledge exchange was facilitated by the CAPE Legacy Project team using a social learning process to draw lessons through reflection from practice and achievements in order to further synthesise CAPE Legacy implications towards rethinking CAPE’s future goals.

The landscape initiatives reflected on the CAPE legacy by recalling lessons learnt and achievements over the past 19   years. This process was designed to pose CAPE legacy questions in a participatory manner where each of the landscape initiatives were able to reconnect and recollect the arrangements or areas that warrant a change, as well as those that must be kept for the future.

This learning exchange was parallel to the consultation of various key informants, the CAPE Signatories to reflect on their experiences of CAPE. This process calls for engagement with CAPE communities and landscape initiatives to establish a discussion to generate constructive recommendations for the future of CAPE.

The CAPE Legacy Project has concluded the engagements with landscape initiatives. Moving forward, CAPE as a collective has a responsibility of scanning and tabling data from multiple sources which might populate indicators. As a result, the CAPE Legacy Project will be consulting with the CAPE Executive Committee (EXCO) to identify both meaningful and feasible indicators, along with following up on data sources.

To share some of the rich storytelling, individuals were invited to have an informal conversation between the proceedings. Those conversations included the engagement with dynamic institutional governance in the entire Cape Floristic Region (CFR), its historic conservation management intentions, its prospects as well as the contemporary drivers of change. This moment of reflection enabled the participants to think and identify some of the moments concerning conservation governance and management roles at a landscape level.

Initial CAPE Legacy Project findings

Initial findings revealed that CAPE has offered significant innovations, especially with regards to its challenge to traditional nature conservation in its intention to bring people, and the benefit they might gain, into play with nature. CAPE has further offered a unique breadth of approach, viewing conservation as happening most effectively at a landscape, and not only species level. Furthermore, CAPE has been determined to build innovative institutional presence and capacity on its goals, particularly through collective partnerships across different sectors such as landscape initiatives, local communities, government departments from all three spheres of government.

What the Legacy Project is doing with these findings

Broadly, the approach of the CAPE Legacy Project ensures that there are learning and development prospects for the entire CAPE community and its partners by enabling reflection on previous failures, capabilities, and successes. In the end, CAPE partnership will draw learning to guide new thinking for the partnership and further synthesise insights on what it takes to work collaboratively in the dynamic conservation era where funding and investments are consistently dwindling.

This CAPE Landscape Initiative Knowledge Exchange (LIKE) engaged with preliminary findings to strategically reflect on past and present CAPE work to inform its next steps going into the future by employing a social process learning to draw lessons and stories from the Cape Floristic Region landscape initiatives who have been through CAPE. These insights are key in engaging the leadership of CAPE affiliated organisations to initiate necessary and strategic conversations regarding the coordination and future of CAPE.

The CAPE Legacy Project continuously engages with the CAPE audience through writing in the form of brief reflections on CAPE stakeholder experiences and thinking. These contributions will be essential in informing the evaluation process and beyond. The decision was reached that the CAPE Legacy Project would be available for partners to share a selection of quantitative indicators from the original framework, where data is available among the partners in an accessible, analysed and reportable format.

For more information about the CAPE Legacy Project, or to share your CAPE reflections, inputs, insights please contact Malukhanye Mbopha, tel: 021 799 8404 or email: m.mbopha@sanbi.org.za or Sue Soal (for Singizi team) sue@theprocess.org.za.

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