19 December, 2006

First SA Integrated Coastal Management Bill for public comment ...

Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, gazetted South Africa's first Integrated Coastal Management Bill for public comment for a period of 90 days. You should be able to download it from the following website later today: http://www.deat.gov.za.

You can get the bill in two parts in pdf, (they are about 1.9 Mb each), and a press release for information from Dr Niel Malan (see contact details below).

Please note that DEAT will release a brief user-friendly guide to assist coastal stakeholders during the comments period. It will also hold a series of information sessions along the coastline. Dedicated provincial coastal committee meetings will also be held. Details will be made available in due course, but will fall over the period end January to beginning March 2007.

It will be appreciated if you can distribute the Bill widely.
Comments from our overseas colleagues will also be appreciated.

Further info and comments to:
Dr D.E. (Niel) Malan
Deputy Director: Coastal Planning & Environmental Protection
Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
Private Bag X2
Rogge Bay
Cape Town
8012Tel: +27-21-4023021
Fax: +27-21-4023009
Email: dmalan@deat.gov.za
Web: http://www.deat.gov.za

C.A.P.E. Capacity Building update ...

As you may know, Marlene Laros finalised her report on the
capacity-building needs analysis after presenting interim findings to
the CIC in May last year. The report was reviewed by Martin Hollands, of
the Cambridge Centre for Conservation Policy, before it was finalised.
The final report is attached for your information. It was presented to
the CIC in August for comment, and again in November, where it was
agreed that a number of important actions would be undertaken.

In particular, these involve the appointment of two staff. The first is
a Capacity-Development Co-ordinator who is to be appointed in SANBI.
The TORs for this position are attached. The key responsibility is to
provide continuity from the CEPF-funded CBP project that was being
undertaken under the auspices of WWF/TMF. The project is to be
transferred to the CCU as the staff based in WWF have taken up other
functions, and will not be able to complete all outputs of the project.
At this stage, it would be appropriate to thank both Rodney February and
Zohra Parkar-Salie for their excellent work in mobilising the programme.
I am sure that many of the beneficiaries of this programme will recall
this opportunity to make progress in their conservation careers, and the
efforts of Rodney and Zohra to make this possible. Thanks again, Rodney
and Zohra, and all of those who contributed to this programme, including
Brett Myrdal, Ursula Titus, Julia Wood, Rob Little and Hettie Gets.

The second position is a C.A.P.E. Technical Advisor, who is to be
placed in CapeNature, at their request, to assist programme management
and co-ordination of complex projects. This is one of the primary needs
identified in the Needs Analysis. The responsibilities of this position
are not limited to CapeNature, and the person will be working across a
number of agencies providing similar kinds of support and mentorship.

These positions were advertised in the press and on e-news during
November, and employment agencies are being requested to identify
suitable candidates. Should you know of suitable people, please let us
know, so that we can approach them.

In addition to these staff positions, there will be ongoing investment
in internship placements. During 2007, a total of 10 internship
opportunities will be made available on a competitive basis. These will
require commitment by the agency concerned, the mentor, the individual
and the proposed course of capacity-development. A call for nominations
will be going out early in the new year. Look out for this.

Finally, there will be scope for technical skills development in key
areas of work, e.g. through short courses, specific mentorship etc.
Taking this forward will be the responsibility of the Capacity
Development Co-ordinator.

I would like to thank you for your patience while this whole process
has unfolded. From inputs at the CIC, it appears that we may need to
rethink the composition of the Capacity-Development Task Team to more
effectively steer this process and you will be provided with further
information early in the new year.

For the Capacity Building Needs Analysis Strategy and Action Plan and advertisements for the vacant positions contact:

Trevor Sandwith - Co-ordinator: Cape Action for People and the
Environment (C.A.P.E.)
Deputy Chair: World Commission on Protected Areas
Tel: +27 (0)21 799 8790
Fax: +27 (0)21 797 3475
Mobile: +27(0)82 321 2747
e-mail: trevor@capeaction.org.za

Accountability reporting - Materiality Report ...

New AccountAbility Report linking strategy, performance and reporting….around Sustainability issues. Called ‘Materiality Report.’

W Cape PGDS - Extension Granted for Comment ...

Kindly note that the deadline for public comments on the PGDS Green Paper has been extended to 30 March 2007 in order to give interested and affected stakeholders adequate time to engage with such a crucial draft policy framework.

A copy can be downloaded from www.capegateway.gov.za

Ms Nthato Gobodo
Policy Development Unit
Department of the Premier
Western Cape Provincial Government
t: +27 (21) 483 3878
f: +27 (21) 483 4868
m: +2783 310 0111

Enviro Law Newsletter ...

See Edward Nathan Sonnenberg's latest newsletter - interesting

18 December, 2006

SKEP News ...

I'd like to commend the Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Programme (SKEP) team on an outstanding December 2006 newsletter .

For those who need to be informed about the variety of initiatives going on beyond the Fynbos biome this newsletter gives a wonderful insight into SKEP activities in the Succulent Karoo, from the Western Cape right up into Namibia.

Don't miss reading this newsletter.

17 December, 2006

Colophon beetle ...

See the post on my general blog about the suspected Colophon Beetle that Gigi and I came across while walking last Friday evening

12 December, 2006

Cows, pigs and sheep: Environment's greatest threats ...

Cows, pigs, sheep and poultry have been awarded the dubious honour of being among the world's greatest environmental threats, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The report, entitled Livestock's long shadow, says the livestock industry is degrading land, contributing to the greenhouse effect, polluting water resources, and destroying biodiversity. In summary, the sector is "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every scale".

10 December, 2006

GM Yeast to speed Ethanol production for biofuel ...

Interesting article here

Ancient concrete reduces pollution by 90% ...

I've just come across a post by a Materials Engineer about the Pyramids being partly constructed of cast concrete blocks.

This is the paragraph that particularly interested me:

"The type of concrete pyramid builders used could reduce pollution and outlast Portland cement, the most common type of modern cement. Portland cement injects a large amount of the world's carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and has a lifespan of about 150 years. If widely used, a geopolymer such as the one used in the construction of the pyramids can reduce that amount of pollution by 90 percent and last much longer. The raw materials used to produce the concrete used in the pyramids -- lime, limestone and diatomaceous earth -- can be found worldwide and is affordable enough to be an important construction material for developing countries, Barsoum said."

If we set up a plant to produce this type of concrete in the Western Cape could we register it as a CDM project?

Picture of the Great Pyramid (Kheops pyramid). (Taken by Alex lbh in April 2005 / Courtesy of Wikipedia)

09 December, 2006

Environmental Officer vacencies ...

Various Environmental officer vacancies exist, within Western Cape DEA&DP, in Cape Town and George

These were was advertised in the Weekend Argus/Sunday Argus on 2 December 2006.
Closing Date 22 December 2006

For a copy of the advertisement or other info contact:
Ms Iptieshaam Bekko
Directorate Integrated Environmental Management
Department of Environmental Affairs & Development Planning
Private Bag X9086 Cape Town 8000
Tel: +27 (0) 21 483 3370

05 December, 2006

Keysers River Restoration Project ...

To all environmental volunteers here at home in Cape Town and those worldwide, "Thank you for all your efforts"

Great work!

And a big thank you to all those sponsors as well

Choose the right seafood ...

Hngry 4 fsh?

WWF’s FishMS text line helps you choose the right seafood.

You can bank with it, play music, send text messages, browse online and even make calls. Now your cellphone can also help you make choices that limit your impact on our oceans.

A new tool from SASSI (The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) helps you make informed choices about the fish you eat. Simply text the name of a fish to the number 079-499-8795 and you’ll immediately get a message telling you whether to tuck in, think twice or avoid completely. It’s called SASSI FishMS and it puts WWF’s knowledge of seafood resources at your thumb-tips.

The feature resulted from cooperation between The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI), local IT company iVeri Payment Technology and developer Tony Seebregts. SASSI has condensed the research on the impact of fishing on fish stocks into guidelines available in a handy pocket card.

In laymen's terms this distils information on the status of local seafood species into one of three colour categories, much like a traffic light. Species marked with a green fish can generally be eaten with a clear conscience because their population numbers are healthy. Orange means they're legal to sell, but if you have a choice you should opt for one of the “green” species. Species marked in red are illegal to buy or sell in South Africa. Full details of how the classification system works are online at www.wwf.org.za/sassi

Now you can still make the right choice, even without the card. The more specific the query, the more detailed the information received.

Jaco Barendse, coordinator of SASSI, says: “Cellphones are the one common possession of everyone from surfers to stockbrokers, taxi drivers to taxidermists - even my dad has one.

“That’s why this is the ideal way to combine technology and information with the variety of seafood available and the growing awareness among seafood lovers, chefs, food buyers and so on that the oceans’ resources aren’t infinite.”

He adds that the system not only helps consumers make informed choices, but demonstrates to retailers and restaurateurs that those consumers are willing to use their spending power.

“When shoppers and restaurant patrons start texting to check whether the Catch of the Day is okay to eat, it’ll hopefully help drive suppliers’ buying habits.”

SASSI is funded by The Green Trust (a partnership between WWF-SA and Nedbank),

“We believe SASSI FishMS provides consumers and anyone else working with fish with a handy and extremely cool tool to help choose fish from healthy populations and relieve the pressure on overexploited species. By giving them a break their populations can recover and they can once again become more widely available.

“By not buying fish caught and sold illegally you can help to fight unsustainable environmental practice. Your choices can help ensure the sustainable use of our marine resources.”

SASSI FishMS is charged at standard text message rates.

SASSI partners
SASSI was initiated in November 2004 in order to inform and educate all participants in the seafood trade, from wholesalers to restaurateurs through to seafood lovers. The initiative builds on an earlier project started in KwaZulu-Natal which sought to educate restaurant dealers about marine conservation issues. It has The Green Trust and the South African Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism (DEAT) as primary funding/support partners, and Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, Two Oceans Aquarium, TRAFFIC, Sea World at uShaka, the Endangered Wildlife Trust, The South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB), and Bayworld as implementing partners.

About The Green Trust
Celebrating 15 years last October, The Green Trust is a partnership between WWF-South Africa, the conservation organisation, and Nedbank. This innovative trust has been cited as a hugely successful mutual-benefit partnership internationally and has raised over R70 million for conservation. It’s funded and supported over 140 sustainable conservation projects that have covered a significant range and diversity of environmental interventions, with a significant focus on community-based conservation and species of special concern.

About Nedbank Green Affinity
The Nedbank Green Affinity is a range of bank accounts that allow you to do your daily banking whilst at the same time helping conservation in South Africa. It includes a credit card, a savings account and a chequebook. When you use your Green Affinity bank account, Nedbank donates to The Green Trust. In the last 15 years Nedbank and the Green Affinity clients have helped raise nearly R70 million for conservation.

For more information contact
Jaco Barendse
Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI)
+27 (0)21 402-3423
+27 (0)21 421-7406
+ 27 82-511-6368

Issued by
William Smook
Meropa Communications
+ 27 21 683-6464
+27 83 357 2837

Caption: Interactive technology like SASSI FishMS, which gives consumers instant access to information about which fish to buy could help accelerate the trend toward responsible consumerism.

Proposal call to finalise the WCape Prov Guideline on Biodiversity Offsets ...

Please note that the call for proposals to finalise the Western Cape Provincial Guideline on Biodiversity Offsets was advertised in the Government Tender Bulletin on Friday 24 November 2006 (Open Tender EADP 20/2006).

The relevant advertisement can be obtained from the Provincial Tender Bulletin .

Please note that the Tender closes at 11:00 am on 15 December 2006.

For tender documentation please contact Ms Inshaaf Brennen at tel: (021) 483 3572, fax: 483 5112 and e-mail: ibrennen@pgwc.gov.za

Gerhard Gerber
Directorate Integrated Environmental Management
Department of Environmental Affairs & Development Planning
Private Bag X9086 Cape Town 8000
Tel: (021) 483 2787 & fax: (021) 483 4372
E-mail: Gegerber@pgwc.gov.za

04 December, 2006

Draft Provincial Growth and Development Strategy for comment ...

Here is your chance good people.

The draft Provincial Growth and Development Strategy (PGDS) is published for public comment.

The PGDS is available through the hyperlink above.

Sorry this is late notice but it only came to my attention by e-mail a few moments ago.

Typical brilliant provincial communications - our e-mail is full of the most trivial garbage - but the really important policy for comment arrives days before the due date!!!

This is the chance you have been looking for to provide environmental input to the PGDS which is THE principle development policy in the province. If you miss your chance to provide sound environmental input now - forever hold your peace.

This document is in draft (unedited). The Green Paper will be available in the three official languages of the Western Cape.

Please note: only written comments can be accepted.

closing date: 15 December 2006

email: ntgobodo@pgwc.gov.za
fax: 021 483 3827
post: The Director: PGDS, PO Box 659, Cape Town, 8000