Biodiversity and Land Use Project (BLU) shares biodiversity mainstreaming lessons in Africa

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) through the Biodiversity and Land Use Project (BLU) has successfully participated in a Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) Project Formulation Workshop in Uganda from 26-28 February 2020.

The purpose of the workshop was to collectively work with scientists and decision-makers who have submitted MRV pre-proposals to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in order to share their experiences and knowledge, and further refine their projects. The MRV is an approach for translating scientific data into measurable biodiversity indicators which is necessary in the monitoring of implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans.

This approach is fundamental in the presentation of status and trends of biodiversity particularly within the context of the convention on biological diversity. SANBI was specifically invited to attend this workshop to share lessons from biodiversity mainstreaming in relation to monitoring and indicator development and uptake in the environmental management and land use planning sectors. This was a particular topic of interest for many participants in the workshop.

The workshop was organised by The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) through its Capacities for Biodiversity and Sustainable Development Programme (CEBioS) which works with its partners to enhance knowledge on the MRV on policy choices and activities linked to biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The workshop was attended by participants from South Africa, Palestinian Territory, Tanzania, Uganda and various local and international representatives of academia, government and the private sector. Mrs Abigail Bahindwa and Mr Mthobisi Nzimande represented SANBI on behalf of South Africa.

Participants at the workshop engaged on the importance of the MRV approach in biodiversity conservation and to the science and policy interface. This included presentation of cases from the development and monitoring of indicators drawn from practice and successful reporting on the state of biodiversity such as the National Biodiversity Assessment.

The workshop also covered biodiversity governance to provide an opportunity for academia, private sector and the government inclusive of SANBI to share their approaches on this topic. SANBI outlined the process followed in the development of headline indicators used in the National Biodiversity Assessment which is released every 5 years.

Primary to this was an opportunity for SANBI to unpack how the BLU is mainstreaming these indicators through products such as the National Spatial Development Framework and Land Use Scheme Guidelines into the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, and Strategic Water Source Areas, National Web Based Environmental Screening Tool and the biodiversity protocols into the National Environmental Management Act.

SANBI also shared lessons from the BLU project with the potential applicants for the 2020 call for the proposal of MRV projects through a session co-facilitated with the University of Makerere where each applicant received inputs and recommendations on their proposals. Applicants valued the contribution made by SANBI to various sessions and the workshop as whole; this was reflected through the workshop evaluation forms completed at the end of the workshop.

This was a great opportunity for SANBI staff to expand their professional networks and to learn from other countries on how they are approaching biodiversity mainstreaming. It was also an opportunity to showcase the biodiversity mainstreaming work of the SANBI’s BLU and assisting other African nations by sharing of lessons learnt. SANBI would like to acknowledge CEBioS for offering the BLU an opportunity to expand their professional network in such a manner and share our lessons amongst peers.


Abigail Bahindwa

Mthobisi Nzimande

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