Western Cape Biodiversity Spatial Plan – a roadmap to a sustainable and inclusive living environment
The Western Cape Nature Conservation Board (CapeNature) is mandated to conserve the unique natural heritage resources of the Western Cape for the benefit of all. The responsibility for conserving the Western Cape’s biodiversity, however, also lies with many other state agencies within national, provincial and local spheres of government, supported by organisations in the private sector and civil society.
CapeNature, the South African National Biodiversity Institute and the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning have partnered to create a groundbreaking provincial systematic biodiversity planning product, the Western Cape Biodiversity Spatial Plan (WCBSP), to ensure smart and sustainable growth in the Province.
The biodiversity and ecological infrastructure of the Western Cape is a valuable, but vulnerable, asset that could be a rich source of natural solutions to the challenges posed by poverty, unemployment, and climate change. For this potential to be realised, land use planners and managers in a wide range of sectors need good scientific information that is effectively interpreted and made available to end-users; well-capacitated institutions that are responsible for effective management and governance of biodiversity assets; and well-informed policies, legislation and leaders. The Western Cape Biodiversity Spatial Plan is an important tool for addressing these needs.
Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Anton Bredell, commented about the WCBSP that it, “…represents the “state of the art” provincial systematic biodiversity planning product. It represents the priority biodiversity areas and ecological infrastructure that need to be secured in the long-term in order that we, together with CapeNature, fulfil our core provincial mandate for biodiversity management.“
The WCBSP Handbook for 2017 was unveiled at the Medical Research Council by CapeNature CEO, Dr Razeena Omar on the 7th December, and replaces all previous products as best available science to inform current land use planning and should be used as the official reference for biodiversity priority areas to be taken into account in decision-making.
Dr Omar pays tribute to the role of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, writing in the Handbook that “This product was developed by CapeNature, in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning. The production of this Handbook greatly benefitted from the strategic insight of the Department, as well as financial assistance forthcoming from the Global Environment Facility through the United Nations Development Programme, for which we are truly grateful.”
The main purpose of a biodiversity spatial plan is to ensure that the most recent and best quality spatial biodiversity information can be accessed and used to inform land use and development planning, environmental assessments and authorisations, natural resource management and other multi-sectoral planning processes.
The WCBSP should be used by all sectors involved in land use planning and decision-making in the Western Cape to ensure the persistence of biodiversity assets and ecological infrastructure and the delivery of vital ecosystem services.
Download the 2017 Western Cape Biodiversity Spatial Plan Handbook from the link below: