The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) have been strategic partners since both organisations were established in 1913. There is a long history of collaboration and mutual support between the two organisations, which has been well documented over the past 110 years.
SANBI and BotSoc strengthened the relationship between the organisations through signing a Collaboration Agreement in December 2019. This is reviewed every two years, in accordance with the agreed terms. During 2022, part of the review was to amend the access arrangement to national botanical gardens for different types of BotSoc memberships.
The revision of the free access arrangement was concluded following an extensive and mutual process of negotiation led by SANBI Executive Management and the BotSoc Council which is a leadership structure appointed by BotSoc members. The process considered multiple factors from both parties and explored various options to come to an agreement that would enable a sustainable partnership for continuation of current and future collaborations in areas of mutual interest.
While negotiations on most matters have been finalised, the parties are finalising arrangements on free entry through existing BotSoc Life Membership beyond 31 March 2024 and aim to conclude this aspect shortly.
SANBI and BotSoc value each other as strategic partners and will continue their ongoing collaboration as they move forward together under revised terms and conditions, all in the name of safeguarding South Africa’s indigenous plant life and associated biodiversity, which faces extreme threat.
The two organisations remain committed to working towards the sustainable use of and safeguarding the nation’s unique natural heritage, so that future generations across South Africa may enjoy nature’s contribution to people.
The two organisations work on various initiatives that will continue. These include:
- Plant conservation and support of the Citizen Science and Threatened Species programmes, such as the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) programme.
- Implementation of the national strategy on succulent poaching.
- Youth development through human capital development in the Green Economy.
- Volunteer support for SANBI through collaboration between BotSoc Branches and NBG Curators/Garden Managers.
- Joint fundraising projects which meet the mandate of both organisations will be identified for the duration of the Collaboration Agreement
According to BotSoc General Manager, Antonia de Barros, “Our role as BotSoc is to inspire a South Africa where people love, protect and are custodians of indigenous plants. This work will require collaboration with many partners, especially SANBI, and all our members and the broader public who will be integral to growing our legacy for many generations to come.”