Chairman’s Report

APRIL 2021 – MARCH 2022


2021 marked the start of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. 

Humanity has a good track record of creating partnerships for commercial enterprises. We now need to focus on creating partnerships for ecological restoration at a landscape scale; this must be one of humanities’ foremost activities for the next 100 years.

During 2021, the GCBR Directors changed our Mission:

“To restore and effectively manage the ecosystems

 on which all life in the GCBR domain depends”

A significant portion of current land use practices across the GCBR domain, and beyond, are unsustainable. As part of a global effort, the GCBR focuses on restoring degraded river, wetland, mountain, and thicket ecosystems. 

Operationally the projects have fared well, keeping on target and meeting deliverables despite significant disruptions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Over time, the GCBR management team has undertaken project-based knowledge exchanges.  These, as well as Organisational Development meetings and conversations with stakeholders, have provided information which allows: (i) taking stock of achievements and (ii) drawing out lessons about what adaptations should be made. 

Additional to our restoration activities, we are engaging with landowners to advance regenerative agriculture, to improve the well-being of our environment by increasing soil fertility, biodiversity, water retention and cleanliness, and soil carbon sequestration.

Through the tireless efforts of field teams of donor-funded projects, the GCBR and other organisations involved in restoration and the reduction of negative impacts are gradually changing ecosystems and people’s lives, at the landscape scale.

Together with our CEO and the operations team, heartfelt thanks go to our volunteer Board of Directors. Your commitment to our mandate and guidance of the operations of the GCBR is greatly appreciated.


We are all aware that humanity entirely depends on the natural ecosystems that support us and all other life on Earth.  Only through consistent, trust-based partnerships can humanity move out of the currently unsustainable, destructive patterns of behaviour.  Only through such partnerships can we scale up the minor, pilot interventions that comprise our interventions to date.

If you want to go fast, go alone.

If you want to go far, go together.

African proverb

We need to go a long way, we need to go together; and, as the COP26 confirmed – with a sense of urgency. We have to quickly find a way to change; to increase awareness about exactly what we’re facing, and why we have to work to solve it.

Conservation through partnerships

Through robust, long-term, multi-stakeholder partnerships, across the GCBR domain, we restore the landscapes and ecosystems that will support future generations. Strengthened by these partnerships, the GCBR aims to be a catalyst for change towards solving one of humanities’ biggest issues: the disconnect between people and nature.

From the beginning, an important characteristic of the GCBR is to be a learning organisation and work in partnership with others. A core partner of the GCBR is DOB Ecology.  At the end of 2021, we successfully concluded a 4-year contract, and signed an agreement with DOB Ecology for another 4 years, to the end of 2025. Important milestones were met: the following were achieved by the DOB Ecology-funded projects in the GCBR domain since 2018:

Making it Work

Through numerous partnerships within AfriMAB, the broader World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves, other local and international environmental NGOs, and the corporate sector, the GCBR:

  • Advances landscape approaches to restoration and rehabilitation, building on long-term, multi-stakeholder partnerships.
  • Has identified opportunities that support our unique value proposition.

While the level of uncertainty created by the COVID pandemic made planning and strategizing challenging, it helped the GCBR to be more focused, to develop an organisation that is resilient and adaptable.

Looking forward, the GCBR:

  • Will, with donor funding, continue to implement high quality restoration work in our domain.
  • Will continue to plant hundreds of thousands of indigenous plants and employ hard working field teams that clear thousands of tons of invasive plants from waterways and catchments.
  • Is building resilience into the DNA of future sustainable supply chains (for example, investigating the production of invasive alien plant biomass-infused concrete, for building products).
  • Is actively expanding operations to a landscape scale. (There is an important “economies of scale” element to both restoration activities, and the economic viability of products and services – carbon, water and biodiversity, tourism, regenerative farming etc).
  • Embraces nature-based solutions to address biodiversity loss, climate change and poverty in an integrated manner. 

We live and work in the spectacular, globally important Cape Floral Region; partner with us to create a healthy, resilient, and safe place for future generations.