A partnership is an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests. Partners are more than stakeholders in that they share benefits, risk and responsibility and may be so positioned that they can perform activities that a BR cannot, or that they are better positioned to undertake.
Partnerships can be established at different levels and can have different footprints. The essential partnerships within the Biosphere Reserve Programme are between the functional entities of the Programme,
(i) at the highest level between UNESCO and the DEA,
(ii) at a national level between the DEA and the BRs,
(iii) at a provincial level between provincial and national government and the BR, and
(iv) at the BR level between municipalities, the BR, and other stakeholders, such as communities and private sector partners.
An additional layer of collaboration is between the DEA, the South African BRs and the other African BRs through AfriMAB, which collaboration focuses in particular on sharing information and joint learning. Partnerships between the DEA and other national and provincial government departments and between the BRs and national, provincial and local government departments, non-
Developing partnerships within these constraints requires prioritisation in relationship to the requirements of the BR concerned. Partnerships are critical to the functioning and objectives of the BRs, as is the coordinating role of the DEA. Furthermore, partnerships are essential for the Biosphere Reserve Programme to be seen as a useful implementing or demonstration agent and for it to contribute to commitments under the various international agreements and national strategies and policies.
Partnerships and collaboration should be integrated interdisciplinary activities and may have both horizontal (between departments) and vertical (across organisational levels) linkages. Often successful partnerships can be created around mutual and tangible benefits, such as projects or particular activities.
Within the developing Marico Biosphere Reserve, a number of valuable partnerships and networks are developing:
The MRCA (Marico River Conservation Association) is an implementing agent for the Department of Environmental Affairs (now Dept of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, 2019) for the eradication of alien and invasive vegetation specifically along the waterways. The former DEA signed off the UNESCO application and lead the South African delegation to Indonesia where the declaration took place.
The Marico BR is in close relationship with the Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and it is with the help of this department that the application was prepared. The department is rendering ongoing support and is responsible for the implementation of legislative actions.
The Marico BR is in a mutual supportive relationship with the municipal authorities in the area.
Marico BR is underwriting the actions of EWT and WESSA in the different communities and will support collaborative development actions.
Marico BR supports the work done by the local NGO, Mmutlwa wa Noko which is highly involved in the act against mining in the very sensitive karst system, by compiling environmental motivations against the unwanted mining.
Resilient Waters (formerly Resilim) played a crucial role in the recognition of the Marico BR, first with support for various projects and later as sponsor for the application to UNESCO.
A Rocha South Africa was previously supporting the MRCA in its effort for the declaration of the Marico Protected Environment.
The Marico BR receives loyal support from the Agri-
The Marico BR works in close conjunction with the Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality’s Fire Protection Association and the different regional Fire Protection Forums.