28 August, 2006

GEF Assembly 5 ...

Registration for the GEF Assembly got underway today.
Gigi and I went down early to avoid the queues

Cape Town's International Convention Centre (CTICC) where the GEF Assembly will meet and most of the side events will take place

Banner above registration.

The registration desk before the mad rush

Display of crafts in the foyer of the CTICC

Street banner outside the CTICC - please excuse the alien invasive Cassurina/Beefwood on the left!

At 15h00 an informal reception was held at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.
It was a warm sunny day, what we call berg (mountain) wind weather that preceedes a cold front! Tomorrow is going to be cold and rainy in the afternoon - that should surprise many of the delegates after todays perfect spring weather!

What a pitty that not a single member of our department, other than myself, attended this event. The only ones that were there were a few souls that had been roped in as volunteers, standing around handing out 'goodie' bags to the deleates. What a great opportunity to network with very influential international and and national luminaries involved in biodiversity funding. All the senior officials of the national department's international relations and biodiversity management divisions from Pretoria attended. Here we sit with two biodiversity hotspots of international significance in our province and all our .......... resists making career limiting statements .......... Ag shame - its only about biodiversity and ecosystem services!

The 'Silvertree' restaurant where the reception was held.

Some of us decided to walk in the garden in the beautiful spring weather. Nicole Glineur, right, is Programme Manager: Biodiversity of the GEF and Rachael S?? is with the GEF's small grant facility in New York. That's yours truely in the middle - the grey one not the dark brown one, thank you!

William Boshoff's 'Garden of Words III' - On the lawn above the visitor centre a local South African artist, Willem Boshoff, had put up an extremely interesting atistic installation. You can read all about it on the notice above (Click on the picture to enlarge it).

Below are a range of pictures that I took of the installation.

The installation comprises 15 000 'artificial flowers' representing 15 000 endangered species and has been set up in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden to bring to the attention of the visitors the plight of the worlds plant biodiversity.

The inspiration comes from the fields of gravestones at Flanders

The red cups represent poppies

The folded handkerchiefs represent sadness and as well as forming petals when pressed into the 'poppies'

Willem posing in front of his installation with Nursery Buttress behind.

The words are species names and localities of endangered plants. You can't really read them, folded as they are into the 'poppies'. This represents the fading of the species. Soon they will just be memories. Eventually they'll be forgotten!

I'm extremely tempted to nip into the garden late one evening and add an extra row of poppies with certain selected names of my own.

Willem Boshoff, the artist discussing his installation with a couple of visitors to Kirstenbosch