Building Capacity for the Subnational Implementation of NBSAPs
Under the auspices of the global LAB programme, the Local Action for Biodiversity: Wetlands South Africa (LAB: Wetlands SA) project is currently being implemented in 11 municipalities throughout South Africa. The aim of the project is to protect priority natural wetland resources, thus enabling the supply of ecosystem services and promoting resilient communities under a changing climate within South Africa.
Through the project, ICLEI aims to improve local government knowledge and understanding of the value of wetlands, initiate the process of integrating wetlands and ecosystem services into local government planning and decision making and to implement and pilot on the ground wetland projects within the participating municipalities.
LAB Wetlands SA will enhance the conservation and management of natural wetland resources across South Africa by assisting 9 district and 2 metropolitan municipalities to build institutional capacity and develop local policies for integrating biodiversity across local government departments.
The programme – implemented by ICLEI and key partners, SANBI, SALGA, Working for Wetlands and DEA – is based on the globally renowned LAB Pioneer methodology. The LAB programme recognises the critical role of local governments in biodiversity conversation and the value of biodiversity for delivering ecosystem services and enhancing local climate resilience.
A LAB programme for South Africa
LAB: Wetlands South Africa has been customised to the South African context, where wetlands are the most threatened of all ecosystems and where poverty and the delivery
of basic services are critical issues at the local government level.
Biodiversity, and wetlands in particular, contribute to service provision and disaster risk reduction though ecosystem services such as flood attenuation, water filtration and water security, which are increasingly important in a changing climate. The programme therefore seeks to enhance the conservation and management of natural wetland resources through increased awareness of wetlands and the integration of biodiversity considerations into local government planning and decision- making.
Through enhanced awareness of wetlands, and the integration of biodiversity considerations into local government planning and decision-making, the project will build the capacity of the district municipalities to prioritise and effectively manage wetlands and biodiversity. The programme will focus on mainstreaming biodiversity across government departments and working with community stakeholders to increase awareness and community buy-in.
In the long-term, the programme seeks to contribute disaster risk-reduction and resilience to climate change through effective management of biodiversity and wetland and enhancing ecosystem services.
1. Improve local government and citizen understanding of the value of biodiversity in the local context.
A core focus of the programme is the provision of training, information and resourcesthat will develop awareness and the capacity to identify problems and solutions. Workshops will be convened in each project municipality, bringing together municipal departments and key community stakeholders, ensuring that citizens are included in the learning process and improving community buy-in and ownership of biodiversity projects.