Biodiversity for Development

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 22 May 2010

The International Day of Biological Diversity is held every year on May 22nd. The day was created by the United Nations to create awareness about environmental issues. This years official theme is “Biodiversity for Development”. The aim of each Biodiversity Day every year, is to raise public and political awareness, at the national and international levels, of the significance of ecosystems and biodiversity for human well-being.

This year has also been declared the international year of Biodiversity and as such this years Day of International Biodiversity is especially important. South Africa is the only country in the world that contains a complete biological kingdom – the Cape floristic kingdom. South Africa is home to 10% of the plant species on earth, and as such we should be trying to conserve our biodiversity.

“Biological diversity represents the national wealth of the Earth, and provides the basis for life and prosperity for the whole of mankind. However biodiversity is currently vanishing at an alarming rate all over the world. We are so to speak erasing natures hard drive without even knowing what data it contains,” said EU Environment commissioner Stavros Dimas.

In South Africa two main events are being held to commemorate and conserve our biodiversity. One is focused on the Baviaanskloof great mega reserve and the Mgeni River. The Baviaanskloof is arguably one of the most biologically diverse areas in the country as it contains seven of the eight biomes within its borders.

The Mgeni River in KwaZulu Natal has many spectacular natural resources along its shores but is being heavily impacted on by local industry. This region is unique, in that there is a strong focus on development and industry in the area, but also a strong component of dedicated, knowledgeable environmentalists that drive environmental education, with an emphasis on education and community involvement.

The two Biodiversity Action Days will be organised by two different organisations, each linking it to their specific concerns and priorities. Provincial conservation agencies, university-based experts, NGO’s, local governments, media, school groups and community representatives will be invited to join the activities in both areas.

The Baviaanskloof project, organised by the Eastern Cape Parks Board, will feed their results into the Biodiversity & Citrus Initiative, the Biodiversity Stewardship Programme, potential PES schemes, as well as sub-tropical thicket restoration.

The Mgeni River project will feed into “The River Project”, which aims to feed documentary evidence over a year period into the working for Wetlands and Ecoschools projects. These would use the evidence in their communication and education strategies and can be linked to a programme to inform local government. It can also feed into the Stewardship Programme and possible PES Schemes linked to municipal capacity-building projects.

Source: Cape Town Green Map

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