27 AUGUST 2013 – 26 AUGUST 2014
the Board of Directors
|Five meetings were held as set out below: Date||Venue|
|18 September 2013||Outeniqua Experimental Farm , George|
|20 November 2013||Outeniqua Experimental Farm , George|
|19 February 2014||Outeniqua Experimental Farm , George|
|23 April 2014||Outeniqua Experimental Farm , George|
|18 June 2014||Outeniqua Experimental Farm , George|
|20 August 2014||Outeniqua Experimental Farm , George|
2. General overview
Looking back over the past 12 months one realizes that the GCBR has had many successes. A number of the directors have now served on the board for several years and it is evident that they have gained a lot of experience. It has become must easier to deal with the challenges that we face. The board has have superb support from a number of members of the technical commitee.
3. Application to UNESCO for official recognition
One of the biggest challenges which the board and members of the technical commitee have faced was to satisfy UNESCO in order to obtain our final designation as a Biosphere Reserve. During the beginning of the year we were informed that our application was “approved pending” and it would be re-evaluated if we were able to answer three matters on which they needed further information. This related to:
1. the structure of the GCBR
2. the sustainability of future funding; and
3. certain amendments to the zonation plan.
They were satisfied with our reply to point one and two but they would not accept our zonation plan. After much deliberation and a meeting with the officials from DEA we realized that the zonation plan prepared by Dr AnneLise Vlok and her assistants was actually to good. We have agreed to simplify the zonation plan and do away with all the fine scale planning. This plan is now forwarded to UNESCO and once again we hold thumbs that it will be approved in November 2014.
4.1 Annual Financial Statement
The annual financial statement for the financial year ending at 30 June 2014 was approved by the board on 20 August 2014. It will be placed on the website. By hook or by crook we are still making ends meet but that is only due to so many people spending their own time and money to run and promote the GCBR. I can assure you that both directors and technical supporters spend thousands of Rands monthly for which they are not compensated.
4.2 Support by the Authorities:
We are working constantly to gain financial support from National, Provincial and Local Authorities. We have send a request to all the 3
Municipalities with in the GCBR domain for financial support from them and we are following this up with both formal and informal discussions. Until today we have received R5 000.00 from the Langeberg Municipality with the promise of more to come and a contribution of R30 000.00 was approved by the Hessequa Municipality. We shall receive the money during this week. We have not received any further definite commitments.
The Western Cape Biosphere Forum consisting of the chairpersons of the four Biosphere Reserves of the Western Cape as well as Ruida Stanvliet of Cape Nature met with a deligation of the Western Cape Provincial Government lead by Minister Anton Bredell during which we had an indepth discussion about the future financial support. Currently only the West Coast and Kogelberg Biosphere Reserves are funded by the provincial Government. We have a firm commitment from the Minister that they would provide for funding for the GCBR and Winelands BR during their mid term budget reallocation in September 2014. We were also informed that the Provincial Government aims to allocate an amount of R350 000.00 per annum to each Biosphere Reserve from 1 April 2015.
To date we have not have any success with the National Government althought they have entered into an International Treaty to support the Man and Biosphere Programme which provides for financial support to BR’s. Minister Anton Bredell also undertook to lobby with the Nation Government to meet the funding by the Provincial Government on a Rand to Rand basis. We are watching this space closely.
4.3 National Biosphere Trust Fund
Ruida Stanvliet took the initiative to establish a trust on a national basis for the benefit of all Biospheres in South Africa of which there are 6 currently with the GCBR and Magaliesberg BR’s in the pipeline. The trust deed were signed and officially registered with the Master of the High Court in Cape Town. The idea is to further lobby for funds specifically supporting administrative, logistical and marketing purposes for all the BR’s in the RSA.
Several projects are still under way.
5.1 the TMF project is in the last of its three years;
5.2 The Why Honey? Project comes to an end during September this year; 4
5.3 The flagship project at the moment is the Jobs for Carbon project for which we have obtained approximately R 7 million for the planting of 300 hectares of degraded Spekboom veld. Wessa acts as project leader with the GCBR being the implementor and the Rhodes University assisting spesifically with the regards to the Carbon baseline studies. The project runs over a 3 year period. Dr Steve Du Toit from Wessa has been successful in obtaining co funding to the value of R 2,7 million from DEA.
5.4 Many smaller projects are continiously being implemented under the auspices of the GCBR in close collaberation with various partners such as Cape Nature and WESSA. Although small these projects make a huge difference to the communities and we shall in future provide more information regarding these projects on our website.
6. Members’ meetings
Three members’ meetings were held on 30 October 2012 at Gouritsmond, on 26 February 2013 in Oudtshoorn and on 28 May 2013 in Stilbaai. As always these meetings were very well attended and interesting topics were discussed. There was a request that we try to make the members’ meetings more interactive and although we have not succeeded completely we shall strive to do so more in future. It is very important to get feedback from members on the work being done by the board and technical committee as well as aspects which members think more attention is needed.
Several projects are undertaken, such as:
7.1 Eden Fm:
We have had an offer to host a slot at 11:30 on Thurdays on the radio station for 30 minutes free of charge. This has been a wonderful opportunity to promote the GCBR and Fred Orban arranges speakers on a variety of aspects to enlighten the public. He will be negotiating with Eden FM to move the slot later in the day to reach more listeners. The radio station has approximately 95 000 listeners
7.2 We are currently designing a range of posters of which the first will be distrubuted shortly
7.3 We have printed license disc stickers which are available here today for you to distrubute
7.4 I have had a meeting with SANRAL to obtain consent to put up signs at all the entry points to the GCBR domain on National and Regional roads. This is, however, cumbersome negotiation. 5
8. A few words of gratitude
Cape Nature and WESSA
Other Government Departments – specifically Department Agri facilities
Members, I thank you for the priviledge to act as chairperson of this company.