Institutional support to BirdLife South Africa
RSPB began work in South Africa in 1995 and continues to support the organisation through core support, their policy and advocacy programme and site and species conservation.
To achieve this, we focus on supporting BirdLife South Africa to achieve the following results:
- Conservation status of priority/key bird sites, species and habitats.
- Appropriate research and monitoring undertaken, commissioned and/or supported. Results disseminated.
- BirdLife South Africa education programme effectively in operation in South African schools.
- Public awareness of bird and habitat conservation enhanced.
- Sustainable funding of BirdLife South Africa in place.
- BirdLife South Africa membership increased and diversified.
- BirdLife South Africa effectively publicised.
- Ongoing support to BirdLife South Africa core functions.
- Co-management of Darwin-funded programme to develop community conservation initiatives at three IBAs – Ongoye Forest, Cata Forest and Wakkerstroom wetlands, as well as wetlands in Soweto.
- Support for Policy and Advocacy work including the development of effective campaigns against loss of or damage to IBAs such as grasslands around Wakkerstroom, where globally threatened species are at risk due to proposed coal mining.
- Support for Southern African Save the Albatross campaign whereby BLSA are working with fishing communities in South Africa and Namibia to implement effective mitigation projects to prevent seabird mortality.
- Joint project development and fundraising initiatives to sustain BLSA’s programmes.
- Support to enhance BLSA membership and marketing initiatives.
Among the key successes are:
- Substantial growth in all sectors of the organisation – staff and volunteer numbers overall income and number of field projects.
- Active Important Bird Area programme focusing on the 122 IBAs across South Africa. Effective opposition to major development proposals affecting IBAs, including coal mining in the eastern grasslands and inappropriate tourism developments in key wetlands.
- Innovative development of a more community-focused approach to conservation focusing initially on four sites and supported by UK Government Darwin Initiative.
- Development of an acclaimed ecotourism programme, training young rural people as bird guides and marketing birding routes such as Zululand Birding Route (zbr.org.za).
- Development of a successful education programme stimulated by major support from UK National Lottery through RSPB. Publication of the award-winning Learning for Sustainable Living teachers resource book since emulated across continents.
- Critical involvement of BLSA in the global Save the Albatross programme.
- Successful research programmes on globally threatened species including Rudd’s lark and southern bald ibis.