A global collaborative effort to integrate ecological infrastructure into national planning
ProEcoServ looked at how mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services can be integrated into multi-sectoral planning processes across scales. CSIR scientists engaged with a variety of role-players involved in ecosystem governance — from local to national scales, and including the public and private sector — to highlight the importance of ecological infrastructure for South Africa’s development.
The programme involved partners from sectors such as agriculture, urban development, water management, insurance and mining during its four-year duration. The focus was on integrating ecosystem-based solutions for disaster risk reduction at a local level; integrated water resource planning at a catchment level; and identifying key policy intervention points at a national level through targeted mainstreaming strategies.
The ProEcoServ project saw many scientists and policy makers in South Africa working together to ensure that ecosystem services were embedded in national policy. A map of strategic water source areas developed, indicated they make up only 8% of the land area, but provide a staggering 50% of the water, collectively contributing to over half the national economy.
ProEcoServ-SA engaged with key decision makers and facilitated the inclusion of ecosystem services concepts in the National Development Plan, the National Water Resource Strategy, the Disaster Management Act, and the Norms and Standards for Biodiversity Management Plans for Ecosystems.
Dr Nadia Sitas