Municipalities, conservation meet to find common goals
Conservation organisations can work closely with municipalities, but they must ensure they’re included in the Municipal Integrated Development Planning. It’s also up to the conservation groups to align their biodiversity goals with those objectives highlighted by their municipalities.
That’s the message from the Cape Action for People and the Environment(C.A.P.E.) Landscape Initiative Knowledge Exchange, held in March in the Baviaanskloof in the Eastern Cape. The Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative interim coordinator, Lesley Richardson, attended the conference.
The Exchange was themed ‘10 years of engagement with municipalities at the landscape level’. It was part of the celebration of the C.A.P.E. partnership, which has been in existence for 10 years.
The conference stressed the need for conservation organisations to show the relevance of their projects to municipalities. This is partly achieved by determining the common goals of each, and by working closely to tackle the common challenges. Landscape initiatives also need to time their funding requests to fit the municipal budget cycles. Submissions may be requested by municipalities as early as November, in order for them to be included in the following budget year, which starts in July.
Municipal officials at the event said that municipalities were grappling with the costs associated with climate change. Municipalities had to bear the costs of a higher frequency of floods and droughts. The importance of the health of communities, as provided by functioning ecosystems such as water and wetlands, was also gaining traction across local government spheres.
According to Richardson, the Exchange offered a vital platform to engage with municipalities, to better understand their processes. “Municipalities work according to strict budget cycles and objectives. It’s up to us, as landscape initiatives, to work with municipalities in order to achieve our common deliverables. And such opportunities are available now, particularly with the emphasis on the Green Economy.”