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Mar 22

Department of Environmental Affairs Workshop

We recently received the following email from the South African Department of Environmental Affairs:

“Dear Stakeholder, You have been identified as an important stakeholder in the development of a National Strategy for Coastal Awareness, Education and Training (AET) for South Africa. Please find attached an introductory letter by the Department of Environmental Affairs, Director of Coastal Conservation Strategies, for more information.”

This workshop, which we attended on Tuesday 19th March, was a fantastic opportunity for us and, as with our attendance at the Beguela Current Commission workshop in 2011, will provide us with a framework on which to further develop our organisation in terms of real conservation measures that can be applied to the Cape fur seals.

Stakeholder workshop for the Benguela Current Commission 2011

BCC Workshop 2011

Hosted by EcoAfrica Environmental Consultants, the purpose of the workshop was to facilitate a national strategy  for Coastal Awareness, Education and Training; and the implementation of the Integrated Coastal Management Act.

Topics discussed included obstacles that prevent stakeholders from performing their duties, such as lack of funding, corruption, insufficient resources, misinformation and negative public perception of the authorities.  Stakeholders were encouraged to provide solutions and to identify other potential partners that can assist with the roll out of the national AET strategy.

It was also an ideal networking opportunity with several well known “heavy weights” in attendance (including WWF, SANCCOB, AfriOceans Conservation Alliance, Masufindise Development Trust, WESSA, etc).

While some of these organisations may not necessarily agree with each other, there was a definite willingness to work together on certain projects for the greater good of the environment.  In this regard we made some excellent contacts with whom we will most certainly be engaging in the near future.

Educational officer from AfriOceans, Terry Corr hard at work

Terry Corr, (left) Educational officer from AfriOceans, hard at work

Sadly, conspicuous in their absence, was the Department of Education.  As the main state organ responsible for education and training in South Africa, it was disappointing that, although invited, the department did not send a representative.