Western Cape's Assessment of Biodiversity Management Options
Statement by Anton Bredell, Provincial Minister for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning
In May this year, I appointed an inter-governmental task team, which comprised officials represented by Provincial Treasury, Legal Services in the Department of the Premier, CapeNature as well as the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning. The primary focus of the task team was to identify how to optimise the existing resources and structures to address the constantly growing mandate of biodiversity management in the Western Cape.
This year, the Western Cape Government also released a State of Environment Outlook Report for the Western Cape in which it reflected that the biodiversity and ecosystem health was declining. The report states that 58 threatened terrestrial ecosystems in the province, of which 21 are critically endangered, 14 are endangered, and the remaining 23 are classified as vulnerable. Few of these are considered to be properly protected. The report also reflects on the fact that 70% of all freshwater fish, 13% of plants, 10% of mammals, 5% of reptiles and 5% of birds are considered threatened.
The loss of biodiversity is an issue of profound international and local concern and the statistics which are reflected in the State of Environment Outlook Report validated the purpose of the review and assessment process managed by the task team.
This process was also conducted in response to the following two reasons:
- During a recent Medium Term Expenditure Committee process, Provincial Treasury requested the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning to review the scope and extent of its oversight role of CapeNature, and secondly;
- In response to a concern raised by the Chairperson of the Standing Committee for Agricultural and Environmental Planning that certain duplications between the Department and CapeNature be investigated.
Based on the findings presented in the report of the task team, I have concluded the following recommendations:
- That the Western Cape Government, through the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, in collaboration with CapeNature as its delivery agent, should re-define the provincial biodiversity and ecosystem management mandates, functions and associated roles and responsibilities, including those assigned to CapeNature.
- That the department, in collaboration with CapeNature, should establish a new monitoring and evaluation system to ensure increased effectiveness and accountability in service delivery, both by the department and CapeNature.
- That a “zero-based” planning approach should be used to re-articulate and re-prioritise these mandates, functions, roles and responsibilities and that the monitoring and evaluation system should also provide for an on-going review and reform, as may be required.
I have supported an implementation plan formulated for delivery with the objective of achieving the above recommendations. Underpinning this plan is for the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and CapeNature to develop a Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for the Western Cape.
A full review and associated reform of the current Western Cape Nature Conservation Board Act as part of an overarching policy and legal reform process will also commence during September 2013 parallel to the development of the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.
The Western Cape is recognised globally for its high biodiversity. Conservation of biodiversity and the preservation of ecosystem functioning, in the face of a growing economy, is certainly a focus area for the Western Cape Government.
I am confident that what we have set out to achieve will aid our responsibility to deliver on the biodiversity mandate for the Western Cape. The implementation plan will require a fundamental departure from the “business-as-usual” scenario expecting significant organisational cultural changes at all levels both in the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning as well as CapeNature.
Description and Tasks
Development of PBSAP
The Department, with input from CapeNature - Development of a Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for the Western Cape Province, which will define the mandate associated priorities, roles and responsibilities, associated action plans, targets and resource needs to achieve these.
Commence in Sept 2013 (12-18 month process)
Note 1 and 2 as concurrent actions.
Legal review and reform
DEADP, with input from CN, undertakes a full review and associated reform to the current Western Cape Nature Conservation Board Act (WCNCBA) as part of an overarching policy and legal reform process.
Commence: Sept 2013
Note 1 and 2 as concurrent actions
Development and implementation of an M&E system of CN by DEADP
DEADP develops and implements a process to manage the relationship, specifically relating to monitoring and evaluation of CN by DEADP. Such process is interlinked and interdependent, and covers the following aspects:
- Legislation (framework legislation reviewed every 5 years, with more details contained in a an annually reviewed MoA)
- MoA (annually reviewable, providing detailed interpretation of the CNCBA)
- APP/ Budget (zero budget based approach aligned to redefined – and regularly reviewed - biodiversity and related mandate and associated functions and deliverables of DEADP and those which are then assigned to CN for all future APP’s from 2014/15 cycle)
- Review process to be put in place to evaluate
- MTEF (DEADP and CN must consider key performance indicators and delivery targets when reprioritising their allocations. Part of the exercise should be a review of CN’s plans, associated performance indicators and targets, and their links to DEADP’s agreed outcomes- base don newly agreed baseline reprioritisation.
- Annual Assessment (DEADP should conduct an annual review of the adequacy and effectiveness of CN in relation to their mandate, role and responsibilities.)
Sept 2013 to Sept 2014 – and ongoing.
Revision of MoA between DEADP and CN
DEADP, with input from CN, has to revise the MoA, which in terms of the M&E process should be used as working document which clearly defines, amongst other:
- The roles and responsibilities of DEADP and CN toward each other
- Details of monitoring mechanisms, forums, meeting and protocols to formalise the relationship, and
- The frequency of all interactions, including reporting and meeting in which to manage the relationship.
Sept 2013 to Sept 2014 and ongoing
Revision of Co-operation Agreement between CN and the Department
To revise and adapt the current MOU between the Department and CapeNature to reflect the collaborative responsibilities at all levels of governance between the parties. This may be enforced through set monthly, quarterly and annual meetings between relevant representatives of both parties.
Sept 2013 to Dec 2013 and annually thereafter
Integrated Co-operative Governance
DEADP and CN to jointly and collaboratively, within the context of the above, investigate all areas of current overlap / joint functionality / synergies, including the twenty two (+) areas already identified in the Task Team report. This can be taken on as a special project lead by DEADP, which will both be informed by, and in turn inform the revisions of the biodiversity mandates, with joint representation from the parties. This exercise can manifest in individual interim and /or regularly revised co-operation agreements – as addendums to the annually reviewed MoA- related to particular areas of overlap or joint responsibility.
Step 2 of this process will be to prioritise certain areas which require more immediate attention, e.g. estuary management, coastal management etc.
Sept 2013 to March 2016
Note: this process will both inform, and be informed by, the PBSAP. Legal reform, MoA and M&E processes above.
The following key terms of reference have been formulated for the Task Team:
- An analysis of the changing mandate of biodiversity management in the Western Cape within the global, national and provincial-specific contexts and associated opportunities thereby presented.
- An assessment of the fulfilment of current and emerging mandatory obligations and policy alignment for biodiversity by the Western Cape Government.
- An assessment of the effectiveness of the current institutional structures within the Western Cape Government to address our biodiversity mandate.
- Recommendations on any additional / alternative institutional models and corrective measures in order to achieve effective and efficient fulfilment of the provincial biodiversity mandate, in light of current global and national trends, associated opportunities presented and specifically within the provincial environmental and organisational context.