Innovations in governance for biodiversity conservation : the case of the Conservation Stewardship Programme, Western Cape

Fourie, A. ; Muller, K. (2011)

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South Africa boasts one of the world’s richest and most diverse natural landscapes and is world renowned for its biodiversity. The Cape Floristic Region (CFR) is the world’s sixth and smallest floral kingdom and the only one housed within the confines of a single country and predominantly within the Western Cape Province. It is also the richest, with more than 9 000 plant species. This region is considered as one of the world’s 25 most threatened biodiversity hotspots and most of the priority areas fall outside of existing statutorily protected areas and are mostly on privately owned land. This article focuses on the introduction of a new governance approach and policy instrument in 2003 to contribute towards the conservation of globally important “off-reserve” biodiversity remnants in the Cape Floristic Kingdom in the Western Cape, known as the Conservation Stewardship Programme. The governance paradigm is characterised by a growing use of non-regulatory policy instruments such as the so called ‘new’ environmental policy instruments (NEPIs), which include economic and voluntary approaches as well as persuasion. These are proposed, designed and implemented by non-state actors, sometimes working alongside state actors, but sometimes also independently. The co-management solution rests on the assumptions that local people must have a stake in conservation and management, and that the formation of partnerships between government agencies and resource users is essential. The programme will be described, analysed and evaluated as a case study before some concluding remarks are offered.

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