Cape Winelands Biosphere

Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve

Cape Town and its surrounding area are unique not only for their natural beauty and geographical position at the southern tip of Africa, but also for the diverse fauna, flora and marine life found nowhere else on earth. For this reason in 2007 large parts of it were proclaimed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site that require protection. There are enormous social, economic and ecological pressures on the Cape. It houses a huge and expanding population of people from very rich to very poor. Each city and town now has slums attached to it that are as big or bigger than the formal settlements. Illegal immigrants crowd into squatter camps with local people of all ethnic backgrounds, struggling for jobs. While there are many kinds of economic activity and tourism, there are also problems with unemployment, crime, social inequality, corruption, water shortages, power outages, raw sewerage draining into rivers, unauthorised building on nature reserves, environmental degradation etc. All of the competing challenges on the environment that are to be found anywhere on earth, can be found in this complex and beautiful pressure-cooker called the Cape. If one can solve the problems here and find a good balance between People, Planet and Profit, then it can serve as a blueprint for sustainable development everywhere!

One of the non-governmental organisations that is trying to find a sustainable balance between nature and people, is the Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve (CWBR) http://capewinelandsbiosphere.co.za This Reserve of 330.000 hectares has many valuable ecosystems that require sustainable conservation and usage solutions. It was nominated by national government as a ‘living laboratory’ for testing out and demonstrating the integrated use of land, water and biodiversity while remaining flexible and creative, involving as many stakeholders as possible. The CWBR aims to develop a framework to guide and reinforce projects and to enhance people’s livelihoods. The only way to preserve the natural resources and biodiversity of this wonderful area is to build awareness, upliftment and sustainable opportunities for all who live in it. It is a testcase for sustainable development as defined in the 1987 UN Bruntland Report “Our Common Future.”

For this reason, One Planet Foundation is working with the CWBR to find knowledge-partners and funding from Europe, that can be used to promote sustainable development at this UNESCO site. This helps CWBR to gain access to solutions and financing that are not available locally. A modest amount of expertise, technology and money in European terms, can often be translated into large and important results in the socially, economically and ecologically stressed areas of South Africa. The CWBR also offers opportunities for European students to help out with sustainability projects ‘on the ground’ in local communities. An overview of their activities and projects van be seen in their website link above and in this report CWDM Report

One Planet – Cape Winelands Biosphere Fund

One Planet is a tax-exempt Foundation in The Netherlands whose mission is to promote sustainability. For the Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve, we act as a pipeline for European partners to participate and invest in specific sustainability projects of the CWBR and have established a separate bank account for this purpose. 100% of the funds collected into this account go to CWBR, when CWBR calls for them. CWBR is responsible for the usage of these funds, for transparency and for reporting on spending and results achieved. The CWBR project reports will be available to partners and investors on the One Planet website. They can see exactly where their money has been spent and what it has achieved. Each project has a short factsheet which is periodically updated, containing: project description, goals, photo’s, expertise and/or funding requirements, status to completion, start/end report, student-opportunities and contact person.

How to participate and/or invest in a CWBR-project

    • Read up on the project via the project-link above, and browse through the CWBR-website http://capewinelandsbiosphere.co.za
    • Contact CWBR markheistein@gmail.com Tel:+27-79 747 4632 to discuss your interest in becoming involved as a student volunteer worker, expertise partner, or sponsor in time/equipment/education/money to help meet the needs of specific sustainability projects.
    • You can also donate money to projects and in some cases this will be deductible from your tax since One Planet Foundation and CWBR are registered tax-exempt organizations.