The beginning of a new year is always an exciting time of reflection on the previous year, looking at the team’s collective impact and planning and strategising for the year ahead. In the first quarter of the year, the K2C develops an Impact Report reflecting on the team’s cumulative impact over the previous financial year. This has been amplified this year with the K2C due for our 10 year periodic review for UNESCO. The infographic below depicts the team’s achievements in the landscape over the last 5 years – something we (and our funders and partners) should all be very proud of!
Three months into the new year and we are full-steam ahead with all of our projects and future plans – from investiaging the informal wood market, World Water Day Celebrations and learning exchanges for farmers and working on declaring new protected areas in the region. Read on to see the team’s insights into what we’ve all been up to in order to maintain our impact in the region into the future.
The K2C Team
Embracing our 2023 Periodic Review!
~Marie-Tinka Uys, COO K2C BR
2023 is an important year for the K2C BR. The Statutory Framework of the World Network of Biosphere stipulates the obligation to provide a periodic review of the status of each biosphere region every ten years. The Periodic Review is a useful tool to inspire biosphere region stakeholders to engage more deeply in the activities of a biosphere region.
The K2C Team embraced the following Stakeholder Consultation process and are on track to deliver on it:
The Network Meeting (link to report) set the scene for information gathering and invite responses. Presentations at our District Municipalities’ Forum Meetings was an opportunity that the K2C Team is immensely grateful for.
The four Community Consultation Meetings in the K2C BR’s four cluster provided great feedback and acknowledgement for the K2C BR Work.
The UNESCO’s MaB Periodic Review form gave the Team the opportunity to reflect on where we came from in 2013 and what impact we had over the last decade. Please see the K2C BR 2023 Impact Report here (link to report).
K2C BR’s approach to completing the UNESCO MaB form is to acknowledge the enormous contribution by landscape partners towards collective impact. The K2C BR landscape is indeed worthy of its international designation!
If the readers of this Newsletter have not yet filled in the Form, you are welcome to do so here (Link to Google Form).
Informal Wood Economy Survey
~Dimakatso Nonyane, Restoration Project Manager (AFR100)
The K2C recently undertook an informal woody economy survey for the first time within the landscape. This kind of investigation has not been undertaken before in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region and as far as we are aware has not specifically been focused on in other parts of South Africa. The objective of this study was to undertake a scoping and preliminary assessment to better understand how alien invasive plant (AIP) biomass is utilized within the informal economy.
The Citizen Science Monitors carried out this investigation around the Acornhoek communities that they have been working in for many months, collecting data that is very crucial to inform projects and studies within the Biosphere. With their experience they identified 18 wood harvesters, who were then approached at their homes to take part in a questionnaire that was developed with the help of a reference group made up of relevant stakeholders. The questions asked to the harvesters were mostly on how and where they operate, what they use the wood for and what happens to the wood that does not get sold.
During the interview their willingness to join a focus group discussion was ascertained and on 24 February 2023 a session was hosted with 7 harvesters to further understand and clarify information collected by questionnaire.
We believe this is a crucial gap in efforts to explore the development of an AIP value chain and links well with some of the objectives for the current AFR 100 project.
Information gathered will be used to inform existing restoration projects being implemented by the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere NPC (K2C) and other partners. This study is also relevant within the context of the K2C Catchment Investment Programme (K2C CIP) as we seek to enable financing mechanisms that support AIP clearing and other Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to be implemented in the catchment.
FUNDERS/PARTNERS: DFFE- OPS LUI; AFR 100; AWARD; University of the Western Cape; Conservation South Africa; TASC
Lessons learnt at the Indalo Inclusive Symposium
~ Cindy Koen
Indalo Inclusive is a non-profit organisation that was established in 2017, they focus on supporting and promoting social, green, inclusive, and responsible entrepreneurs. Every year, they host a symposium that focuses on celebrating the great entrepreneurial achievements for the year and offering various panel discussions on relevant topics.
On the 16th and 17th of March, this year’s symposium focused on celebrating innovative entrepreneurs and we had great discussion on Just Transitions.
Just transition – is the movement towards zero-carbon economy while ensuring that the benefits are distributed equally to employees and communities.
It was very interesting to hear the different perspectives on just transitions from local and national government, all the way through to global organisations and the SMMEs on the ground. Just Transition as most other methodologies are seen and experienced differently by the various sectors and stakeholders. It is important to grow towards a collective understanding in order to effectively implement Just Transition on the ground. People need to have the resources and understanding in order to achieve the true meaning.
One of the important factors that stood out was that without collaboration and support networks, very little impact or slow impact would be achieved.
We were also very proud to see that one of our local SMMEs, Bennedicter, was a recipient for the Indalopreneur awards for his innovative and ground moving agriculture activities. We wish him very well and look forward to further supporting and collaborating with him into the future.
Gender mainstreaming for climate change adaptation in the K2C Biosphere Region
-Itumeleng Selebalo, Catchment project coordinators.
On the 8 and 9 of March 2023 the K2C team joined the Climate Change Adaptation and Gender Mainstreaming Dialogue hosted by SANBI and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, with support from the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities. The goal of this dialogue is to create a lively forum for discussion of the relationship between gender and climate change, with a focus on how it affects women. We acknowledge that different actors are involved in these issues to varying degrees. While some actors are experienced and have already focused on changing practices to be more gender-sensitive, for others this is a new issue about which awareness-building is necessary.
This workshop has a connection to the K2C BR’s implementation of the Climate Risk-based Decision Analysis (CRIDA) tool. In this context, the CRIDA has been presented as a five-step procedure that uses a bottom-up, participatory approach to identify water security risks related to hydro-climatic events, is considerate of the water vulnerabilities of indigenous populations, and is motivated by a gender perspective.
The lives and livelihoods of millions of people, particularly the marginalised, are impacted by disasters and climate change. In terms of rights, control over productive resources, services, and decision-making, women and men frequently differ. They have their own needs and priorities, as well as different ways of allocating time. Women and men frequently have gender-specific knowledge about climate risk stressors and performance thresholds due to differences in roles and responsibilities. Thus, during the research, analysis, and planning stages of a climate risk decision analysis, gender differences must be acknowledged and addressed.
This underlines the importance of proactive gender and ensuring gender equality when determining climate risk responses in target communities to ensure that we can effectively reduce vulnerabilities to climate risks in our landscape. Empowering women and addressing their needs are crucial for achieving gender equality. As a result, gender must be mainstreamed in the K2C Biosphere Region’s initiation, planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation steps of the CRIDA tool.
FUNDERS/PARTNERS: SANBI, Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities; UNESCO (BeResilient Project)
Cover Crop Demonstration
~Zodwa Maphanga (Site coordinator)
The implementation of regenerative grazing techniques using cattle and climate suited cover crops is a fast-growing practice in the agricultural sector. Many efforts are being done to reduce climate change impacts and still maintain food production for both humans and cattle. When fields are left bare, weeds quickly grow and take over the space. The Ecosystem Custodians led by Conservation South Africa use cattle as a tool to plant and to assist with breaking down the soil and adding their manure to fertilise the soil. The ECs are using a once cultivated land so that we get better results. The process started with fixing the soil by introducing cattle to graze in field, through grouping them by using a smart fence and putting in grass bales to encourage the animals to stay in demarcated areas.
Through the cover crop project, we are aiming to encourage farmers to utilise unused land to plant crops that will be beneficial to their animals and act as a relief for their livestock during dry seasons, improving soil health and learning site for other farmers.
To better understand this process, the Dinkwanyane Water Smart project arranged for farmers in the Phiring community who have signed a conservation agreement to be part of a learning exchange excursion at Bush Willow creek. Here the farmers visited sites that were more advanced in their cover crop journey so that they could start imagining the end result of what is being demonstrated in their own community.
This demonstration will truly cement all the rangeland management activities that took place in the duration of the project, with the hope that the local farmers will continue the work that will help them with their cattle in the long term.
FUNDERS/PARTNERS: Government of Flanders: Conservation South Africa; Hoedspruit Hub
Corporate governance training for the Gadifeli Waste Recycling Centre Trust
~ Lethabo Rasakanya, Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region
Waste management is one of the biggest environmental challenges we face today, and effective governance is essential for ensuring that resources are used efficiently and sustainably. That is why many waste recycling cooperatives are turning to governance training to help them navigate the complex legal and regulatory landscape of waste management.
By focusing on the Gadifeli waste reclaimers at the London Landfill Site, within the Maruleng Municipality, the Employment Skills Development in Africa (E4D) project and Norton Rose Fulbright recently provided an insightful governance training titled, ‘Corporate governance for trusts with a focus on the Gadifeli Waste Recycling Centre Trust deed’ to the Gadifeli waste reclaimers.
The governance training was facilitated by attorneys Candice Pillay and Nicola Irving, who explored the importance of good governance for trusts; the characteristics of good governance; how significant it is for the Gadifeli waste reclaimers to understand their trust deed to ensure that the trust structure operates responsibly; and how the effective application of good governance can ensure sustainable waste management practices within the K2C Biosphere Region.
A trust is governed by the Trust Property Control Act 57 of 1988, as a legal arrangement between a trustee and beneficiaries, and requires a trust deed, which is a legal document that sets out the rules and instructions for managing the trust. Achieving good governance principles and practices requires trustees to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and follow the trust deed’s rules and instructions.
The governance training was focused on the specific characteristics of good governance for the Gadifeli Trust deed. These characteristics include disciplined governance that helps to ensure efficient resource use, and that the trust structure achieves objective decision-making. Transparency in governance means that decision-making processes and the management of resources should be open, clear, and accessible to all stakeholders. Independence ensures that the trustees should be free from undue influence or interference in their decision-making processes. Accountability in governance means trustees should be responsible for their actions and decisions. Responsibility requires the trustees to take ownership of their responsibilities and duties. Fairness in governance means that decisions should be made based on objective criteria and that stakeholders should be treated fairly and equally. Social responsibility in governance means trustees should consider the broader social, environmental, and economic impacts of their decisions and actions.
In addition, the training emphasised the different provisions of the Gadifeli Trust Deed, to ensure that the waste reclaimers are aware of their rights and obligations as beneficiaries and the trustee’s responsibilities towards them. By understanding the trust deed, the waste reclaimers can meaningfully participate in decision-making processes and hold the trustees accountable for their actions. Overall, emphasising the trust deed to the waste reclaimers promotes a better understanding of the trust business enterprise’s operations and contributes to its sustainable management.
Ultimately, the training has capacitated the waste reclaimers to better understand their roles and responsibilities in waste management and how their work impacts the environment and society. By improving their knowledge of good corporate governance and trust management, the waste reclaimers are now better equipped to manage waste (as well as their business) effectively and sustainably and be in alignment with the objectives of the National Environmental Management Waste Act 59 of 2008, as amended. The governance training for the Gadifeli waste reclaimers was the last step towards unlocking the full potential of a sustainable and successful waste buy-back centre that benefits everyone involved, including the K2C Biosphere Region. Investing in good governance for the Gadifeli waste reclaimers is ’not just about managing waste – it’s about building sustainable and resilient communities that will be more financially independent and better equipped towards protecting the environment in which they operate.
We applaud Norton Rose Fulbright, the Gadifeli waste reclaimers, and the K2C Biosphere Region for their efforts in promoting sustainable waste management practices and empowering those waste reclaimers who work in the recycling industry. We hope that this partnership will inspire other organisations to collaborate and share their knowledge and resources to create a more sustainable future.
FUNDERS/PARTNERS: Employment, Skills for development in Africa (E4D), The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), from the Region for the Region (fRfR), Maruleng Municipality, Gadifeli Waste Recycling Centre, Norton Rose Fulbright.
World Water Day Celebration in the K2C BR
~ Itumeleng Selebalo, Catchment Project Coordinators.
As part of the K2C creating awareness on the 22 March 2023, the K2C team hosted a World water day at the Thorometsane Primary School in Phiring. The World Water Day celebration was attended by the school children, ecosystem custodiams and Our water screeners. The celebration aimed to raise public awareness of the critical importance of freshwater and to promote sustainable water management practises. Access to and management of water are vital for human survival and success because “WATER” is one of the most valuable resources on our planet. The theme for this year’s World Water Day, “Accelerating Change,” is significant because it emphasises how urgent it is to take immediate action to address the water and sanitation crisis. On a global level, it motivates people to change how they use and manage water in their daily lives. This includes people, their families, communities, and educational institutions. The subject emphasizes how important it is for people to take ownership of the sustainable management of water and put forth significant effort to preserve and maintain this priceless resource. In order to address the water stress issues that humanity is currently facing, the topic emphasizes how important it is to act quickly and pro-actively. The K2C BR has implemented multiple project that aim to bring home the significance of water resources, restoring catchment areas and ensuring that water resources are managed effectively to improve climate resilience and water security in our landscape. This year’s event was held with the support and participation of Our water screeners who have played a significant part in information sharing and learning from local communities about water resources. The “Our Water” documentary’s goal was to present various people’s perspectives on how they view water (commercial, smallholder farmers, traditional healers, community members, youth, women, ecological infrastructure practitioners, etc). The video was used to facilitate screenings with 64 communities in mid-2022 to engage different communities on water issues, to further drive home the urgency for them to create action plans, and to serve as a tool for empowerment and accelerating change in the K2C BR.
The primary school students were given the opportunity to hear from our water screeners as they shared their knowledge and insights from the screening process. In addition, the children were able to emphasise the value of water in their community and the potential contribution of the region’s agroecology project to World Water Day action plans. The following World Water Day actions plans were pledged to by the students at Thorometsane Primary School, Ecosystem custodians and the Screeners :
- through the participation in the agroecological practices in the school garden and their home gardens can allow for the community to reduce their water foot print in the their agricultural activities.
- Support pipe and tape monitoring intintives in the village to prevent water loss through leaks.
- To support small scale farmer in the village by consuming locally produced meat, fruits and vegetable.
- Participate in the local youth environmental awareness programme so that they can learn more about water resources.
MAKE IT EQUAL:
- Ensuring that everyone understands that water is a shared resources and that everyone has the responsibility to protect and to use its sustainably.
PROTECTED NATURE and STOP POLLUTING:
- To protect the local river from pollution by promoting awareness at home with their parents and peers in the village to reduce the pollution (littering, putting harmful chemical in the river
FUNDERS/PARTNERS: UNESCO Be-Resilient programme, Hoedspruit HUB
Working to Declare New Protected Areas
~ Romy Antrobus-Wuth, Conservation Science and Data Manager
Legally securing key properties in the K2C landscape under the Protected Areas Act (Act No.57of 2003) as Nature Reserves is one of the primary objectives of the K2C’s Conservation Corridor Initiative. Creating ecologically intact and well managed corridors that link the Greater Kruger region and the escarpment (strategic water source area).
Two such properties are Cape Vulture Lodge and Rietspruit Game Reserve (inlcuding Khaya Ndlovu Safari Manor , Leadwood Big Game Estate and Bloubank), which have begun the process of formalising their protected area status as Nature Reserves under the Act. The Limpopo Department of Economic development, environment & Tourism (LEDET) recently published their intention to declare these two new protected areas in our region, thus officially launching the declaration process and 60 days of public consultation.
The K2C Conservation Team has been facilitating the process and are grateful to landowners such as these that are serious about conserving the unique land and biodiversity they are the stewards of. For more information about these sites or the declaration process, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
FUNDERS/PARTNERS: The Nature Conservancy