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Africans Urged to Support Tourism

Durban — It was a fusion of originality and creativity complemented by global marketing skills from across the world to showcase their tourism attractions or destinations at the just ended Indaba 2016, Africa’s largest tourism trade show.

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The top African trade show – which was held from May 7 to 9 – at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre (Durban ICC), exploded with originality and creativity of the Africa’s wealth of cultural appeal, tourism natural attractions, services and products.

In the media talk facilitated by the CNN New York based news anchor Richard Quest, African tourism ministers acknowledged the need to consult and engage one another to work on the bulk of issues which hinder tourism penetration.

African ministers led by Hanekom added a strong voice on how Africa countries can come together to position themselves as tourism business collaborators and promote inbound tourism in which huge opportunities have largely not been exploited.

“If one quarter of African countries were to implement the open skies for Africa decision and facilitate great air connectivity between our countries – additional jobs (job creation) and an added GDP that could be generated with obvious numerous benefits for tourism in many countries, said Derek Hanekom, South African’s tourism minister.

Hanekom said that many major airlines fly to Africa from North America, Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. However, once visitors reach this continent they encounter difficulties in connectivity as well as exorbitant air fares from country to country. He said that air transport services in Africa remained a critical constraint.

Hanekom, who was one of the three panelist’ tourism experts who attended the media talk including ministers from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Seychelles, Swaziland, Burkina Faso and Ghana. “Africa’s is a continent of unparalleled opportunity, and tourism is where the greatest untapped opportunity lies”, he said..

In addition, the minister said: “Africa is a vibrant melting pot for tourism: the diverse cultures, customs and traditions of our people, merged with the endless variety of our landscapes, blended with unique biodiversity, tempered by our historical legacy, and fired by the spirit of freedom and equality”.

The opening of the Indaba 2016 was addressed by minister Derek Hanekom , the Mayor of Durban, Mr James Nxumalo, and the MEC for KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu.

The South African government, according to the minister, has earmarked the sector as a growth industry of national priority because of its potential to bring about economic growth and create employment.

During his opening address the Minister stated that by standing together the public and private sectors in the industry would be stronger and able to contribute to the upliftment of the nation. He spoke about INDABA and how it has evolved into Africa’s largest and most successful tourism trade show that creates a platform to showcase the best of the African tourism products and services.

However, he noted that if we are to be successful, everyone needs to pay more attention to the image and reputation of Africa. “Not only through effective marketing, but by putting on a really great show when tourists arrive. Their word of mouth will do our marketing for us and using social media begins the minute they arrive on our shores.”

The Minister adds that the Indaba provides the ideal platform for African countries to work together. “A successful Indaba contributes to the success of tourism in all our countries.”

Tourism is a key contributor to our economy as well as job creation, says MEC Mabuyakhulu .It is critical for the African continent to develop policies that are integrated to reflect positively on what the continent can offer together. Diverse products that define Africa should be tailor made to suit tourists to visit many African countries and not just one. Intra African trade needs to be a key focus in this regard”.

Durban is honoured and privileged to host the Continent’s biggest tourism event in Africa says Mayor Nxumalo.

He added that one of the City’s key focuses, in line with Indaba, is on SMMEs and therefore it has put in place various initiatives around these enterprises.

INDABA hosted nearly 14,000 business meetings, about 1050 exhibitors, 1856 buyers and 724 media. Owned by South African Tourism, INDABA is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and showcases the widest variety of Africa’s best tourism products and services. The event attracts quality buyers from across South Africa, the African continent and the world.

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Source: allafrica


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Water in Mining 2016 will cover water sustainability issues in mining.

The 5th International Congress on Water Management in Mining, Water in Mining 2016, creates a space to identify trends, better practices, methodologies and technologies that are used in the water management in mining.

November 13 2015

The 5th International Congress on Water Management in Mining, Water in Mining 2016, that will take place from May 18-20 in the Hotel Grand Hyatt, Santiago, Chile, will focus on the development of a much more sustainable water management in the mining cycle.

The Conference will address topics relating to integral water management throughout the mining life cycle:; desalinization and seawater use; alternative water supply; efficient water use and water recycling; water accounting; mine dewatering; acid rock drainage prediction, prevention and treatment; water footprint and cost-effective water management.

The Executive Committee of Waterinmining 2016, will be preceded by Mauricio Gironás, Concentrator and Port Manager, Candelaria and Ojos del Salado Mines, Lundin Mining; while Neil McIntyre, Director of the Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry, (SMI), The University of Queensland; and Virginia Ciminelli, Director of the National Institute of Science and Technology on Mineral Resources, Water and Biodiversity, INCT-Acqua, Brazil, will participate as Co-chair.

Water in Mining 2016 is organized by the Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry, Sustainable Minerals Institute (CWiMI), University of Queensland; the National Institute of Science and Technology on Mineral Resources, Water and Biodiversity; and Gecamin.

The last version of Water in Mining that took place in 2014, brought together over 440 participants from 21 countries and there were more than 60 presentations.

Source: gecamin


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Africa: Why It Makes Sense to Build Ecosystem Restoration Into Economic Growth Plans

PRESS RELEASE

For the third year running, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has published the Africa Tourism Monitor, an annual report on the tourism industry in Africa. This year’s report, a joint publication by the AfDB, New York University’s Africa House and the Africa Travel Association (ATA), is entitled “Unlocking Africa’s Tourism Potential”.

The report offers a comprehensive overview of the tourism sector in Africa, focusing on both opportunities and challenges. It features facts, figures and contributions from key tourism players across the continent, with tour operators, experts and industry representatives shedding light on key issues via a series of case studies.

Strong growth reflected in figures

One of the key findings of the report, as indicated in its introduction, is that the tourism sector in Africa is growing. In 2014, a total of 65.3 million international tourists visited the continent – around 200,000 more than in 2013. Back in 1990, Africa welcomed just 17.4 million visitors from abroad. The sector has therefore quadrupled in size in less than 15 years.

According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Africa’s strong performance in 2014 (up 4%) makes it one of the world’s fastest-growing tourist destinations, second only to Southeast Asia (up 6%).

Africa’s top 3 tourist destinations in 2014

Two North African countries top the list of most-visited countries in Africa. Egypt experienced the strongest growth in the sector in 2014, with 454,000 more international arrivals than in 2013, an increase of 5% in just one year. Second on the list is Morocco, which once again recorded more than 10 million incoming international tourists in 2014 – an increase of 236,000 when compared with the previous year. In third place is Côte d’Ivoire, in West Africa. The country is experiencing a strong economic recovery. Although it recorded “only” 91,000 more international arrivals in 2014 than in 2013, this figure represents a 24% rise in just 12 months. This double-digit growth provides yet further evidence of the country’s vast tourism potential.

This influx of tourists means more money coming into the continent. In 2014, Africa recorded US $43.6 billion in revenue. According to the UK’s World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the international tourism sector now accounts for 8.1% of Africa’s total GDP.

More tourists also mean more jobs. Across the continent, there are around 20 million people working directly or indirectly for the tourism industry. This means that the sector accounts for 7.1% of all jobs in Africa. Jobs supported by the sector include guides, hotel staff, interpreters, aviation staff and small businesses. Yet the economic impact of tourism extends beyond job creation.

The hospitality sector is experiencing particularly rapid growth and is expanding into new countries such as Mauritania, which have, until now, remained largely on the fringes. According to the report, it is Sub-Saharan Africa, rather than North Africa, that is benefiting most from the expansion of hotel chains and the corresponding increase in the number of available rooms. Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, comes top of the rankings in this respect, followed by Egypt and Morocco. However, the biggest hotel development project in Sub-Saharan Africa can be found in Equatorial Guinea, in the Grand Hotel Oyala Kempinski, which, when complete, will feature 451 rooms.

A wealth of attractions and initiatives

Africa boasts a rich variety of attractions that draw in tourists from around the world. The continent has a wealth of archaeological sites and historic monuments, such as pyramids (Egypt), cave churches (Ethiopia), Robben Island (South Africa), Gorée Island (Senegal) and cave paintings (Tassili N’Ajjer in Algeria and Tsodilo in Botswana). It is also a place of stunning landscapes and scenery, boasting attractions such as Victoria Falls, the Sahara, Namib and Kalahari deserts, picturesque coastlines, mountains, plains, tropical rainforests and bush ecosystems – home to exceptional plants and wildlife and flourishing small businesses.

Recent years have seen the launch of numerous initiatives, across the continent, to attract more tourists. The report is particularly complimentary about recent simplifications to the visa system and regional cooperation mechanisms, including the introduction of the e-visa and the single visa scheme, enabling tourists to visit all Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states using just one visa. Other examples include the “KAZA” (Kavango Zambezi) common tourist visa developed by Zambia and Zimbabwe, and the single visa covering three countries (Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda) launched by the East African Community (EAC) in February 2014. According to the report, these visa simplification schemes and initiatives could boost tourism revenue and job creation by between 5% and 25%.

Vast potential yet to be fully exploited

Transport infrastructure and services is one of the key constraints limiting growth of the tourism sector. As the report indicates, “Journeys in the African continent are not always seamless”. In fact, it is more difficult – and more expensive – to travel across Africa than to get there from Europe, America or the Middle East.

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) launched its Tourism Action Plan back in 2004, with a view to developing sustainable tourism. This followed the ratification, in 2000, of the Yamoussoukro Decision (named after the city in Côte d’Ivoire where it was adopted in 1999), which aimed to open up the continent’s aviation sector to competition. More than a decade on, however, neither initiative has been fully implemented. Yet effective application of the Yamoussoukro Decision, also known as “Open Skies for Africa”, would alone create 155,000 new jobs and contribute US $1.3 billion to the continent’s GDP.

The report also points to other barriers to tourism sector development in Africa, including a lack of dedicated incentive policies, the need for closer regional cooperation, weaknesses in infrastructure and security problems.

Security issues have posed a particular problem for the sector since 2013, especially in North Africa, Mali and coastal regions of Kenya. The report indicates that, of the 80 countries for which travel warnings were issued by the US State Department, 30 were located in Africa. Moreover, although the 2013-2014 Ebola virus outbreak only affected West Africa, it created a climate of fear that spread to many other countries on the continent – even those far from the source of the outbreak.

Many of Africa’s iconic species – animals that attract tourists from across the globe – are on the brink of extinction. According to the report, poaching and the illegal trade in protected species have reached unprecedented levels. The authors call on African countries to recognise the economic value of their wildlife and to strengthen data production capacities in this area. The report goes on to explain that, as well as their effect on the economy, these illegal activities also have a damaging impact on biodiversity.

Although international tourism is on the rise in Africa, the continent currently accounts for just 5.8% of the world’s incoming tourists and 3.5% of global revenue in the sector. As such, the sector still has vast untapped potential – potential that, if exploited, could kick-start rapid economic growth.

Download a copy of Africa Tourism Monitor 2015 here.

For more in-depth facts and figures and a more detailed overview, including infographics, visit Tourism Data for Africa, an online portal developed by AfDB, New York University’s Africa House and ATA.

Source: allafrica


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Hydropower Said to Put Climate, Biodiversity at Risk

Hydropower — often considered a renewable source of energy that is key to meeting global climate goals — is big business in the Amazon, Congo and Mekong river basins, where more than 450 dams are on the drawing board.

But dam building in tropical rainforests comes at a huge cost to biodiversity and the tropical rain forest ecosystems that provide humans with clean air and water, according to a Texas A&M University study published Thursday in the journal Science.

“Far too often in developing tropical countries, major hydropower projects have been approved and their construction begun before any serious assessments of environmental and socioeconomic impacts had been conducted,” study lead author Kirk Winemiller, an aquatic ecologist at Texas A&M University, said.

The tropics, the earth’s most biologically diverse and forested region, stores more carbon than any other region. Hydropower’s impact on biodiversity is an important factor because biodiversity loss may reduce the rain forest’s ability to withstand and help mitigate climate change, recent studies have shown.

Biodiversity is being threatened throughout the tropical forests of Asia, Africa and South America, according to the Texas A&M researchers.

The dam-building rush, especially in the Amazon, impedes tropical fish migration and vastly expands deforestation because of the construction of new roads. Brazil, for example, gets two-thirds of its electricity from hydropower, and 334 new dams are being proposed in its diverse tropical rainforests.

In Southeast Asia, the Mekong River Basin already has 370 dams, and there are plans for construction of nearly 100 more, including dams on the river mainstem, Winemiller said.

“The Lower Mekong River supports important inland fisheries, recently valued at about $17 billion a year,” he said.

Fishery losses in the wake of new dam construction poses a food security challenge in Thailand, where 99 new dams planned for the Mun River Basin would require up to a 63 percent expansion of agricultural land, which leads to further deforestation, the study says.

The study adds that economic projections often exclude or underestimate the costs of environmental improvement following the construction of major dams. China, for example, spent $26 billion to reduce the ecological impacts of the Three Gorges Dam — the world’s largest hydropower dam — on the Yangtze River.

“Long-term ripple effects on ecosystem services and biodiversity are rarely weighed appropriately during dam planning in the tropics,” the study says. “Institutions that permit and finance hydropower development should require basin-scale analyses that account for cumulative impacts and climate change.”

Scientists unaffiliated with the study say it illustrates the possibly outsized impact that dam building in the tropics has on biodiversity, and possibly the climate.

José Maria Cardoso da Silva, an environmental geography professor at the University of Miami, said the study shows that three of the most biologically diverse river basins on earth are under high pressure from dam building, and countries are doing too little to prevent significant environmental harm from such development.

New roads built for dam construction create new economic opportunities, or “economic frontiers,” such as logging in previously untouched rainforests, creating unregulated access and deforestation, which is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions fueling climate change, he said.

Methane emissions from newly-built reservoirs only increase hydropower’s impact on the climate, he said.

“Nothing is going to change if we do not propose feasible solutions so that megadiverse countries can produce the clean and renewable energy to sustain their development without damage to their extraordinary biodiversity,” Silva said.

Mauro Galetti, a Sao Paulo State University conservation biologist in Brazil who published a study in December showing that a decline in biodiversity in tropical forests reduces their ability to store carbon, said dam building is a “major disaster.”

“Many politicians and engineers proclaim that hydroelectric power dams is a ‘green energy,’ but this is a big mistake,” he said. “Hydroelectric dams create a huge impact on climate, biodiversity and people’s health. This study alerts us to the large-scale impact of dams in tropical forests, and if these projected dams are built, we will have a worse scenario for climate change than we would expect.”

Source: climatecentral


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Eco-tourism in South Africa’s winelands

The Cape Floral Kingdom

Most of South Africa’s vineyards lie in the Cape Floral Kingdom, the world’s smallest yet richest plant kingdom. Recognised as a global biodiversity hot-spot, and with World Heritage site status since 2004, the Cape Floral Kingdom and its two main vegetation types, namely fynbos and renosterveld, has come under increasing threat due to urban development, agricultural expansion and invasive alien species.Unlike fynbos, which happily grows in poor soil conditions, renosterveld prefers the sort of fertile, fine-grained soils that are also ideal for cultivating wheat and vines, placing this natural vegetation under even greater threat of being wiped out.Since 80% of the Cape Floral Kingdom is privately owned, it has become obvious over the years that landowner participation in the conservation process is imperative.In 2004, with a mere four percent of pristine renosterveld left untouched and much of the Cape Floral Kingdom’s lowland fynbos ecosystems under threat, the wine industry developed a conservation partnership with the Botanical Society of South Africa, Conservation International and the Green Trust, which led to the establishment of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative.

Biodiversity and Wine Initiative

In a nutshell, the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI) aims to minimise the loss of threatened natural habitats, as described above, and contribute to sustainable wine production through better land management practices on farms.In the past, individual members of the BWI have worked hard to establish conservation management plans for their land. While they have done great things in raising the profile of biodiversity conservation and eco-tourism, many of them are working in isolation.To put the widespread support of the BWI in perspective, there are over 150 accredited members. Members contract to conserve a minimum of two hectares of natural or restored vegetation on their land, while champion members (of which there are currently 15) are those who have established a full conservation management plan and have committed to conserving at least 10% of their natural land area.In 2008, conservation history was made when the conservation footprint in the winelands exceeded the vineyard footprint for the first time. What this means is that in less than four years, the wine industry has succeeded in setting more area aside for long term conservation than is currently planted under vineyard.With this achievement, South Africa is leading the world in the conservation of biodiversity in this environment. It also illustrates the industry’s commitment to protecting our unique natural heritage.

Conservancies joint eco-tourism activities

Right now, one of the most exciting emerging trends in eco-tourism in the Western Cape is the way in which wine regions are getting involved by establishing conservancies and developing joint eco-tourism activities, drawing on the network of producers within the same area and pooling their resources.The result is of far greater benefit to the individual, while also raising the profile of the entire region.Engaging with environmentally aware travellers has never been more fashionable or more important. By teaming up with their neighbours, producers are no longer competing for individual attention and business but are rather maximising what’s on offer in terms of accommodation, entertainment and diversions within their region. This not only keeps visitors in the area for longer but also heightens awareness.BWI is focusing on assisting the cooperation of individual landowners to form regional conservancies, says Inge Kotze, BWI project coordinator.

World’s first biodiversity wine route

A fine example of this is the Green Mountain Eco-Route, the world’s first biodiversity wine route, incorporating the area around the Groenland mountain and including Bot River, Elgin, Grabouw, Houw Hoek and Villiersdorp.Within easy driving distance of Cape Town, the scenic beauty of the route is ideal as a weekend getaway. Visitors may choose from mountain biking, hiking, luxury farm accommodation, local produce markets, restaurants and wedding venues, not to mention exceptional wine tasting opportunities at participating BWI member farms (Paul Cluver, Beaumont Wines and Oak Valley to name a few).Paul Cluver, in partnership with Slowine, has also introduced a biodiversity trail around the Groenland mountain. The “Take a Hike” five-day hiking trail brings you up close and personal with the natural beauty of participating farms and wine estates, some of which provide overnight accommodation facilities.

The Darling Wine Route

Darling, again less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town, is the first wine producing district to be awarded BWI membership status as a district, with all individual farms, including Cloof, Burghers Post, Groote Post, Ormonde and Darling Cellars, achieving accreditation.The Darling Wine Route offers numerous attractions, from glorious wildflower displays in the spring to guided game drives and walks.Rocking the Daisies is an annual music and lifestyle festival held in October. Held at Cloof Wine Estate and endorsed by the World Wildlife Fund, its motto is suitably eco-friendly: “play hard, tread lightly”.

Groote Post

Groote Post has recently celebrated 10 years of wine making, has a long history in conservation and hopes to become a BWI “champion” in the near future. It was one of the driving forces in establishing the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve, which incorporates the Groote Post farm and stretches from the Milnerton lagoon to Langebaan.Groote Post is home to 2 175 hectares of conservation worthy natural vegetation, including the endangered Swartland granite renosterveld, Swartland shale renosterveld and Atlantis sand fynbos.Eco-tourism opportunities on the farm include wine tasting, Hilda’s Kitchen (a country restaurant named after local cook Hilda Gonda Duckitt), nature walks, game drives to view the farm’s many antelope, and excellent bird-watching. The farm also holds great appeal as part of the famous West Coast spring flower route.

Biodiversity and Wine Walks

In the Helderberg Basin, the Schapenberg Sir Lowry’s Conservancy recently launched its Biodiversity and Wine Walks (“Walks for Wine”) in the Sir Lowry’s Pass area.Participating in the project are six wine farms, namely Waterkloof (wine tasting and a smart new restaurant is on offer here), Onderkloof (with a tea garden), Mount Rozier, Journey’s End, Wedderwill, and Da Capo together with other landowners over whose properties the walks will traverse.The aim is to restore and preserve the land within the Schapenberg Sir Lowry’s Conservancy identified by the City of Cape Town as critical and irreplaceable biodiversity corridors. A large part of this area was ravaged by devastating fires in February 2009.The guided walks follow these biodiversity corridors, educating the public as to their importance while raising funds towards their restoration and preservation.

Greater Simonsberg Conservancy

Some 24 landowners around the Simonsberg have joined forces and established The Greater Simonsberg Conservancy in an attempt to save the Cape Floral Kingdom.The Delvera Agri-tourism Centre is a focal point of the Conservancy, and offers retail therapy (from olives and ceramics to fashion and wool), a choice of restaurants, a plant nursery, activities for kids and very well organised outdoor pursuits including walking, hiking, birdwatching, and mountain biking (Delvera is also the headquarters of Dirtopia Trail Centre).Particularly popular are the full-moon hikes each month. Hikers walk to the top of Klapmutskop, where there is an indigenous yellowwood forest and wraparound view of False Bay, Table Mountain, Franschhoek and Paarl.There are many more examples of wine farms joining forces to protect their heritage. For BWI’s Inge Kotze, “it’s incredibly rewarding to see members progressing from individual membership to compliance at a district level, demonstrating how this project is all about action on the ground through the ongoing dedication and commitment to conserving our unique Cape winelands”.

The Alternative Winelands Tour

Dreamcatcher is a unique organisation that focuses exclusively on community-based tourism in South Africa. It was established 25 years ago with the aim of empowering local people, in particular women, through tourism.The Alternative Winelands Tour, facilitated by Dreamcatcher, offers a heart-warming and educational alternative to the mainstream Cape Winelands experience.The tour features insights into the lives of labourers who worked the land during establishment of the Western Cape’s wine estates, enabling visitors to learn about the challenges of hostel and farm life and how the community has developed to present day.The tour visits wine estates that have demonstrated a commitment to employees (such as providing access to land and technical assistance to start their own wine label), and features a unique opportunity to prepare (and sample!) traditional food during a cook-up with the “Kamammas” (local women from the area).According to Jennifer Seif, Executive Director of Fair Trade Tourism South Africa, The Alternative Winelands Tour “is an excellent example of professionally organised community-based tourism,” opening a window on the lives of ordinary South Africans “through food, story-telling, wine, music and truly South African hospitality at its best.”The tour communicates the diversity and majesty of the Cape Winelands through sight-seeing, wine-tasting and personal interaction with farm workers and community members who open their homes to guests.The involvement of the Dreamcatcher Foundation ensures that tourism revenue is ploughed back into community and enterprise development programmes, so the tour is not only enjoyable and educational, but also sustainable.

Source: southafarica.info


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South African Conservationist Wins WWF Award

Andrew Zaloumis, the long-serving chief executive of iSimangaliso Wetland Park in northern KwaZulu-Natal, has been awarded World Wildlife Fund South Africa’s 2015 Living Planet Award.

In making the award, the conservation group noted Zaloumis’s inspirational conservation work and the economic turnaround of the nature reserve, once an apartheid operational zone with one of the lowest human development indices in the country.

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is South Africa’s third-largest protected area, covering 280km of coastline, from the Mozambique border to St Lucia. The park is a Unesco World Heritage Site, recognised for its rich biodiversity and the unique variety of irreplaceable ecosystems contained within its relatively small area.

The park’s sites include coral reefs, dune forests, wetlands and savanna grassland. It is home to a large wildlife population, including elephant, leopard, black and white rhino and buffalo, as well as whales, dolphins and endangered marine turtles.

The management of iSimangaliso, for which Zaloumis has been recognised by WWF SA, co-ordinates the administration and protection of the park. It also offers meaningful job empowerment and benefits for local communities. In awarding Zaloumis the recognition, the WWF highlighted his inspirational work over the last 30 years in making the area one of South Africa’s conservation tourism hallmarks.

In his acceptance speech, Zaloumis said that in order for places like iSimangaliso to continue to exist, society would have to think beyond the extractive values of conservation economics and rather acknowledge the real value of nature – the impact it has on the soul.

Zaloumis spoke of a time, in 1994, when industry threatened to dredge-mine the dunes of Lake St Lucia for titanium, stripping the wetlands of its most vital resource: water. Inspired by Nelson Mandela’s dedication to conservation-based ecotourism, half-a-million South Africans signed a petition to stop the development and focus on preserving the natural importance of the area.

“The (then) new democratic government of South Africa… showed the world that there were socially- and environmentally-sustainable economic alternatives to smoke-stack industries,” Zaloumis said.

iSimangaliso, he added, “offers hope and a new model of conservation to other wild places… It is a real privilege being able to work for the economic turnaround of a region and see tangible benefits for local people, while, and at the same time, restoring original game populations, ecosystems functioning and the natural wonders of [the park].”

Another notable highlight for Zaloumis was the reintroduction of the lion population in 2013. It was the first time in over 40 years lions were seen in iSimangaliso.

Zaloumis accepted the award on behalf of the iSimangaliso team, the local community and his family, but paid special tribute to his father, who inspired his love of nature and the area where he had come as a boy to study the wetland’s duck population.

WWF SA chairman Valli Moosa said the award was an important recognition of Zaloumis’s passion for conservation, rewarding “his boldness, visionary approach and courage to bring an inclusive form of conservation to an area that was once an apartheid operational zone and had one of the lowest human development indices in the country”.

Source: allafrica


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Executing Africa’s new maritime strategy will be difficult, warns ISS

The potential trillion-dollar economy surrounding Africa’s oceans, lakes and rivers is under threat, says Institute for Security Studies (ISS) researcher Timothy Walker.

Thirty-eight countries in Africa share a combined coastline of more than 26 000 nautical miles (47 000 km). More than 90% of Africa’s trade is seaborne, with fishing contributing to food security for more than 200-million Africans, while vast oil and gas potential lies offshore.

“In a kind of sea blindness, much of Africa’s focus has for long between locked on land issues – on borders and resource conflicts ¬– leaving a void in the marine space that others were glad to fill,” says Walker.

“In a kind of sea blindness, much of Africa’s focus has for long between locked on land issues – on borders and resource conflicts ¬– leaving a void in the marine space that others were glad to fill,” says Walker.

“Globally, Africa is often seen as a blank space in terms of its maritime involvement. The continent needs to use its newfound peace and stability to build a sustainable blue economy, which is currently underdeveloped and threatened, partially because African states lack the ability to monitor and secure their waters.

“Africa’s seas should contribute to economic and environmental security, but are too often a story of stolen resources, drowning refugees and missed opportunities.”

Piracy remains a threat, while drug smuggling and illegal fishing are increasing. Illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing is estimated to cost sub-Saharan Africa around $1-billion a year.

“In Senegal fishermen used to find fish three miles offshore. Now they have to travel 50 miles. Illegal fishing has truly diminished Africa’s resources,” says Walker. Thousands of tons of hazardous waste are dumped at sea, he adds. Africa has more than 100 ports, many operating below capacity. African-owned ships account for less than 1.2% of the world’s shipping.

AIMS 2050 However, the continent has plans to change to develop its blue economy. Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050 (AIMS 2050), developed by the African Union (AU) and adopted in 2014, outlines ways to protect and grow the maritime industry. AIMS 2050 represents an important step towards securing Africa’s maritime interests, says Walker.

It encompasses aspects such as fishing, oil and gas, security, piracy, pollution, biodiversity, transport and harbours. The strategy, for example, calls for increased marine education and awareness, and the development of an African ship-building industry, he notes. It proposes a combined African maritime zone, while also emphasising capacity building in marine defence, scientific research, tourism, fisheries and ship maintenance. It also envisages the establishment of a pan-African fleet, as well as the expansion of port infrastructure. However, all of these goals are much easier written than executed, warns Walker.

No single African country can secure its marine domain on its own, and without the collective political will to put AIMS 2050 in place, non-African countries will continue to profit from the continent’s rich marine resources, he warns. “So, while the continent now has a strategy in AIMS 2050, it has little capacity to execute it.

“A maritime strategy requires you to think more internationally. It requires the development of legal mechanisms and, as marine borders are fluid and oil and fish resources transnational, regulations between countries must be harmonised. “Executing this strategy also means you need a radar network and a presence on the water, either in the form of a navy or coast guard of some sort. Also, as not every country can afford such a presence, you require inter-country cooperation.

“Ultimately you need to be able to protect your trade routes, your resources and your fish stocks,” explains Walker. To date West African and southern African states has adopted maritime strategies, while East Africa has a strategy under development.

Source: engineeringnews


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Mining companies threaten fragile ecosystems

WAKKERSTROOM, Mpumalanga – The insatiable hunger for mineral resources means mining companies are starting to encroach on more vulnerable ecosystems.

With energy and jobs high on the national agenda, government departments are failing in their environmental mandates.

Mpumalanga’s rural communities are caught in the middle of this political power play, with more than 60 percent of the province mined, or reviewed for possible mining, in the past 15 years.

It took more than five years of consultation and negotiation to have Mabola’s grasslands declared a protected environment.

Eight months later, the Department of Mineral Resources started granting mining licences in the area.

Mining companies may have operating permits, but many don’t have water licences.

Water Minister Nomvula Mokonyane estimates nearly 100 mines aren’t complying.

Conservationists have accused government of sacrificing vital ecology to promote mining.

Catherine Horsfield of The Centre for Environmental Rights said, “Other departments such as the DEA and DWS are under pressure too, and confuse their mandates in the process of water protection, environmental protection with economic development and job creation.

“There is a reluctance to be perceived to be anti-development and anti-job creation.”

The mines are also polluting what little these communities have.

Samson Sibande has invested his life savings in this farm, but a mine on the property is poisoning the water and his animals are dying.

Sibande claims he was promised it would be rehabilitated.

But when he approached the department, he says officials couldn’t track down the company responsible.

Louis Snyman of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies said, “We have a perfect storm that’s arising out of poor capacity within department, with the regulations going straight towards the Department of Mineral Resources.”

The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, which oversees biodiversity, says it’s being asked to comment more regularly on applications for mining licences.

The agency is adamant the damage to the environment mustn’t outweigh the benefits of the mines.

Source: enca


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Africa in need of sustainable agricultural production

The lack of interest in farming among young rural people is also a risk to consider when it comes to Africa’s agricultural landscape.
Africa is in dire need of transforming its agricultural sector. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, agricultural production needs to increase 60% by 2050 to keep up with the expected demand for food*. These pressing issues will be discussed at the thought-provoking and highly anticipated Food Security Seminar taking place on 24 June 2015 during Sustainability Week at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria.
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Book your seat here!

Political instability, limited access to resources and funding, poverty, skills shortages and a changing climate are just some of the challenging factors impacting food security in Africa. The lack of interest in farming among young rural people is also a risk to consider when it comes to Africa’s agricultural landscape. Thought leaders and experts in the field of food security, agriculture and fisheries will share the latest thinking and best practice in the changing face of this industry during Sustainability Week, which will take place on 24 June 2015 at the CSIR.

Four interactive sessions will contribute to the formulation of consensus on the best course for African countries in the food security, agriculture and fisheries sectors. The first session will focus on climate change mitigation and adaption where Inge Kotze, Senior Manager for Sustainable Agriculture at the World Wide Fund for Nature – South Africa’s (WWF-SA) will define the issues of climate change and agriculture. The session will close with a panel discussion addressing key actions to mitigate primary causes of emissions and how to adapt to inevitable changes in the sector.

“There is an urgent need for the world’s farmers to be empowered to produce more food per unit of land, water and agrochemicals, while confronting widespread physical resource scarcity, a changing climate, and rapidly increasing input costs,” says Kotze.

Biodiversity and productivity in land use will be the theme for the second session where Jan Coetzee, Project Extension Officer at The South African Breweries (SAB) will enlighten attendees with a case study on better barley, better beer. This session will ultimately address the big question of whether intensive farming work can co-exist sustainably with the local biodiversity to ensure conservation and the ongoing supply of ecological services.

During the household food security session, freelance science writer Leonie Joubert will shed light on what food security really means. Paul Barker from Here We Grow Again will speak about the direct impact food gardens have on food security. The panel discussion will round off this session by framing the required policy and infrastructure foundations to enable broad-based urban farming.

The final compelling session will address rural poverty by stimulating the rural economy. Speakers will explore how to convert subsistence farmers into successful commercial farmers to extract the economic potential of land. The session will also delve into Afrocentric labour intensive approaches to improve productivity and uplift rural communities.

“A company such as BASF can play a defining role in addressing the challenges facing our planet, including those of energy and food resources, as well as urban living,” says Joan-Maria Garcia-Girona, Vice-President and Managing Director of BASF South Africa and Sub-Sahara.  “In 2050, the world’s population will reach nine billion with 70% of the people living in cities. Resources are already scarce and we have only reached almost seven billion people. To feed nine billion people in 2050, we will need twice as much food as today. Innovation in agriculture is vital to address the gap between food demand and supply. We at BASF have a 150 year legacy of providing farmers with innovative solutions to protect crops and improve sustainable agricultural production.”

The Food Security Seminar, sponsored by Nedbank and BASF forms part of the larger Sustainability Week, organised by alive2green, which runs from 23 to 28 June 2015. Associate sponsors of the Food Security Seminar include: Participate Technologies, Massmart and Backsberg Estate Cellars.

Source: wecanchange


Book your seat to attend the Food Security Seminar at Sustainability Week in June


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Agricultural production in spotlight at Food Security Seminar

Agricultural production needs to increase 60% by 2050 to keep up with the expected demand for food, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

FSS-Sidebar-Badge
Book your seat now!

This is one of the issues to be discussed at the Food Security Seminar taking place on 24 June 2015 during Sustainability Week at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria.

Political instability, limited access to resources and funding, poverty, skills shortages and a changing climate are just some of the challenging factors impacting food security in Africa. The lack of interest in farming among young rural people is also a risk to consider when it comes to Africa’s agricultural landscape. Thought leaders and experts in the field of food security, agriculture and fisheries will share the latest thinking and best practice in the changing face of this industry.

Climate change

Four interactive sessions will contribute to the formulation of consensus on the best course for African countries in the food security, agriculture and fisheries sectors. The first session will focus on climate change mitigation and adaption where Inge Kotze, senior manager for Sustainable Agriculture at the World Wide Fund for Nature SA, will define the issues of climate change and agriculture. The session will close with a panel discussion addressing key actions to mitigate primary causes of emissions and how to adapt to inevitable changes in the sector.

“There is an urgent need for the world’s farmers to be empowered to produce more food per unit of land, water and agrochemicals, while confronting widespread physical resource scarcity, a changing climate, and rapidly increasing input costs,” says Kotze.

Biodiversity and productivity in land use will be the theme for the second session where Jan Coetzee, project extension officer at The South African Breweries (SAB), will enlighten attendees with a case study on better barley, better beer. This session will ultimately address the big question of whether intensive farming work can co-exist sustainably with the local biodiversity to ensure conservation and the ongoing supply of ecological services.

Food gardens

During the household food security session, freelance science writer Leonie Joubert will shed light on what food security really means. Paul Barker from Here We Grow Again will speak about the direct impact food gardens have on food security. The panel discussion will round off this session by framing the required policy and infrastructure foundations to enable broad-based urban farming.

The final session will address rural poverty by stimulating the rural economy. Speakers will explore how to convert subsistence farmers into successful commercial farmers to extract the economic potential of land. The session will also delve into Afrocentric labour intensive approaches to improve productivity and uplift rural communities.

Source: bizcommunity


Book your seat to attend the Food Security Seminar at Sustainability Week in June


Follow Alive2Green on Social Media

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +