The Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded Biodiversity and Land Use (BLU) Project, implemented by SANBI has initiated a fund to support a community conservation site with fulfilling some of their key management plan actions.
Management plans are required to ensure compliance with the NEMPAA and any other relevant legislation for biodiversity stewardship sites declared as protected areas. They provide tools for protected area management authorities and their partners in strategic planning and management of protected areas.
The purpose of management plans is to serve as the primary tool to assist management authorities (landowners) and partners in strategic planning and management of a biodiversity stewardship site, identify costs and motivate for finances for management interventions, build accountability into management and provide for capacity building, continuity in management and future thinking.
The BLU project looks to support communal landowners who form part of the biodiversity stewardship programme of work. Through this fund, the BLU project seeks to facilitate biodiversity gains while supporting post-COVID-19 relief efforts for communities. As some job opportunities are created and, in turn, supports the biodiversity economy in the identified landscapes by stimulating local, rural economic activity.
The fund will be implemented through an existing partnership agreement between SANBI and the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve (K2C). This non-profit organisation implements community conservation and biodiversity stewardship in the Ehlanzeni district area in Mpumalanga. The Ehlanzeni District Municipality is one of the four areas that form part of the BLU project footprint.
The funds will support community conservation and biodiversity stewardship project that is owned by previously disadvantaged communities where good governance measures are in place. The aim is to achieve biodiversity and socio-economic gains through the creation of job opportunities under the ‘Restoration Champions’ programme.
This program will employ eight young NRM practitioners known as Restoration Champions; who will be working in the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve clearing alien invasive plants. This programme will assist in improving the ecosystem functions of the nature reserve and improving water security for the communities around the nature reserve and beyond.