Inception workshop for securing multiple ecosystem benefits through Sustainable Land Management (SLM) Project

Mar 24, 2017

UNDP Staff members at the SLM workshop

On 2-3 March 2017, the GEF-funded “Securing multiple ecosystems benefit through Sustainable Land Management (SLM) in the productive but degraded landscapes of South Africa” project had a very successful Inception Workshop at the Burgerspark Hotel in Pretoria. In addition to the following three responsible parties for this project; Rhodes University, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), provincial and national departments from mainly Agriculture, were also actively present.

The Acting Director for Biodiversity and Conservation in the Department of Environmental Affairs, Ms Thizwi Rambau, presented the opening address. She highlighted the importance of the project for addressing land degradation issues.

“This project is very important as it addresses land degradation issues in different landscapes of South Africa in general. But also, the project contributes towards the country’s obligations under the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the related Land Degradation Neutrality Targets 2030 initiative,” said Rambau

UNDP South Africa Environment Programme Manager, Dr Janice Golding, who served as workshop chair stated in her opening remarks that the long and somewhat frustrating project delays have in fact been helpful, and that it now enables stakeholders to “hit the ground running” as soon as the funding is mobilised.

South Africa’s long-term vision is to establish a green economy underpinned by healthy, functioning ecosystems. Addressing land degradation and achieving SLM is essential for achieving this. The long-term preferred solution is to reduce the costs of ecological restoration in South Africa and increase land productivity. This requires an innovative SLM approach and this is exactly what this project is all about.

Mr. Lehman Lindeque, the UNDP Project Manager responsible for SLM, indicated that this project will address in principle two barriers to attaining the long-term preferred solution.

“Firstly, the necessary capacity to generate and monitor successful examples of SLM practices will be built. Secondly, an integrated and coherent framework to strategically finance, implement and govern the application of SLM best practices to achieve landscape-level results will be attained,” said Lindeque.

The SLM project has four very specific outcomes and during the next five years, the project partnerships will deliver the following objectives: (i) Improved natural resource management in four degraded landscapes of the country; (ii) Increase the technical capacity for the management of land degradation risks and uncertainties; (iii) Create an enabling environment and facilitate access to carbon markets as an incentive for the adoption of SLM; and (iv) Establish or strengthen financial and governance frameworks at landscape, provincial and national levels to ensure the adoption of SLM best practices.

A highlight of the workshop was the eagerness of provincial and national government departments to get involved in project activities. Also exciting was the need expressed by participants to ensure linkages with existing initiatives like the LandCare and Working for Programmes from Government. Overall, the sense is to strengthen existing structures and projects to ensure the country-wide adoption of SLM.

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