The green economy was the key theme at the recent Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) AGM. The meeting was held in September outside Napier, and brought together land users, conservationists, government officials and entrepreneurs.

GreenCape’s economist, Pieter Janse van Vuuren discussed the green economy concept, and offered some practical tips learned from the ‘green economy’ projects GreenCape is currently supporting. The meeting also discussed ways for the Overberg to tap into this economy.

GreenCape is an NGO started by the Western Cape Government that supports the business of green in the province and works towards making the Western Cape a green hub for the future. Van Vuuren recommended that business and individuals create synergies amongst companies to support one another.

Louise Wessels from the Greater Overberg Fire Protection Association provided advice on how land users can be prepared for the upcoming fire season with a number of easy steps. Flower Valley Conservation Trust’s Lesley Richardson also presented on the ABI Small Grants Programme and its successes and challenges over the past three years. The programme is supported by the Table Mountain Fund, an associated Trust of WWF-SA. The ABI meeting participants recommended that the Programme be renewed for the next three years.

Roger Bailey, also from Flower Valley, discussed the ABI Alien Clearing Programme. The team has been in negotiations with the Department of Environmental Affairs to finalise the next three years of DEA’s Land User Incentive Scheme. The first three years were completed in March this year.

Stanley Engel of SANParks and Eugene Hahndiek of the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area were elected to the ABI Committee. The rest of the committee remains the same, under the leadership of Chair, Cornie Swart.