1 September 2017
National Wetlands Indaba partners with ICLEI to make the voices of local governments heard
The valuable contribution of ICLEI’s work to the conservation and management of wetlands in South Africa and to the annual National Wetlands Indaba (NWI) has been recognised by the event organising committee, and ICLEI has been invited to co-brand this year’s event.
In 2015, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability embarked on a new venture to work with local governments to protect priority natural wetland resources in South Africa. The aim was to enable the supply of ecosystem services, and promote resilient communities and sustainable local economies under a changing climate. ICLEI partnered with eleven municipalities through the LAB: Wetlands SA Project to achieve the deliverables.
A key deliverable of the project is to improve local government and citizen knowledge and understanding of the value of biodiversity and wetlands in the local context. One way of doing this is by bringing municipal officials and experts in the field together, giving them a space to share lessons learnt and build partnerships.
The NWI, an annual event since 1996, was identified as a strategic platform for such a knowledge exchange. The NWI caters for multiple disciplines and its attendees include academics and researchers, private environmental consultants, provincial and national conservation authorities, Water Boards, representatives from three spheres of government, non-government organisations, students, private citizens, business and industry.
The objective of the NWI is to provide an open platform for reporting and discussion of various topics that will guide the future approach towards wetland management in South Africa. Interactions are in the form of presentations, formal discussions during break away groups and informal discussions amongst the participants. There is a strong focus on skills and capacity development of young scientists through interactive workshops, training sessions and field trips.
Since 2015, ICLEI has facilitated the attendance of the LAB: Wetlands SA project municipalities at this national event, enabling the voice of local government to be heard.
This year the NWI and ICLEI will facilitate specialised training for municipal officials, as well as other attendees of the Indaba, on wetland management practices.