ABI lauded for conservation models
The Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) has been lauded for testing new models of conservation beyond protected areas, in a book launched at the Rio+20 Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June.
The book, called ‘From Rio to Rio: A 20-Year Journey to Green the World’s Economies’, looks at 20 initiatives that were funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) over the past 20 years.
A chapter in the book assesses the work done by ABI during its first phase from 2003 to 2010. It highlights the development of the Sustainable Harvesting Programme, driven by Flower Valley Conservation Trust, and the steps towards a biodiversity economy through the creation of the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area. The authors write that ABI helped secure the protection of 102,000 hectares, or 37 percent of the Agulhas Plain, in the Western Cape of South Africa.
They write, “The partners of ABI continue to work on ways to address the troubling question of how to make biodiversity part of the economic foundation for the Cape and indeed all of South Africa.” But the development of stakeholder driven collective action, as set up under ABI, “is a new form of conservation in South Africa. Devolved, collective landholder conservation is a powerful idea.”
In June, ABI launched its second phase of operations. This will continue to encourage partners to work together to achieve triple bottom line outcomes – environmental, social and economic. ABI aims to serve as a coordination hub for partners involved in conservation across the Overberg.
The Rio+20 Summit, hosted by the United Nations, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first Earth Summit in Rio.