ABI partners meet for launch
Partners in the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) will meet on Thursday, 7 June, to officially launch the second phase of ABI. The meeting takes place in Baarskeerdersbos, with land users, conservation groups, municipalities and relevant government departments due to attend.
ABI was first launched in 2003, under the overarching fynbos conservation and development programme, Cape Action for People and the Environment (C.A.P.E.). At the time, ABI sought to address the threats to biodiversity on the Agulhas Plain. The first phase ended in 2010, and received a 'satisfactory' rating from the United Nations Development Programme.
The second phase of this landscape initiative aims to strengthen the partnerships that were created during phase one. ABI will also focus on working throughout the broader Overberg region. It focused on the Agulhas Plain, an area of around 270 000 hectares around the southern tip of Africa, during its early years. The current goal, chosen by ABI partners, is: 'Working together to secure a healthy natural environment to provide benefits for all, forever, within the Overberg'.
According to Lesley Richardson, of ABI's interim coordination office, the overarching focus in the initiative's activities will be to enhance sustainability, institutionalisation and long term viability. She says, "Key to the success of the next phase of ABI will be to ensure that good use is made of enabling legislation, structures and resources and to ensure that a good business case is developed which supports and engages the agricultural and private sectors. The ABI Partnership will continue to play a leading role in co-ordinating public-private sector engagement and to try to ensure cooperation to benefit the region as a whole."