Management of the Biosphere Reserve

The Designated Management Agency compromises a Management Board, which is the management authority responsible for governing the Magaliesberg Biosphere. In line with best practice, a non-profit company (NPC), named the “Magaliesberg Biosphere” (Association incorporated under Section 21), has been registered in terms of the companies Act. The company’s board has the responsibility to fulfil the designated functions of a Biosphere reserve -

contribute to the conservation of the landscape, ecosystems, species and genetic variation;
foster development which is socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable;
provide logistical support for research, monitoring, education and information exchange.


What is a biosphere?

Biosphere Reserves are designated by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) through the programme “Man and the Biosphere” (MAB). This year there are 651 biosphere reserves in 120 countries, 8 of which are in South Africa, including the Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve designated in June 2015.

UNESCO Biosphere Reserves explore and demonstrate explicitly the meaning and conditions of sustainable development in ecosystems and landscapes. They model how to combine biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation or adaption with improved livelihoods, income and employment, in that the natural and cultural assets of the biosphere provide sustainable opportunities for communities living within it.

Biosphere Reserves foster the long-term viability of a landscape, create local identity and engender pride. They improve the effectiveness of management institutions and community involvement and thereby advance participatory and collective decision-making.

The importance of stakeholder involvement

Stakeholders are all those who have a valid interest in the Biosphere Reserve or any of its natural resources or pieces of land. They can be individuals, informal or formal groups. Stakeholders work through a representative on the management board. That person should be attentive and responsive to their needs while also being responsible to the long-term objective of sustainable land use.

Stakeholders in the Biosphere Reserve should take part in decision making about their own future. The priorities in the biosphere are shaped through participation, involvement and engagement to identify the needs and wishes of stakeholders. Each stakeholder grouping should be clear about their role, responsibilities and authority. Through coordination and communication the many stakeholders can together reach the ambitious goals of a Biosphere Reserve.

Board nomination and election process

Stakeholders elect members to the management board. When stakeholders register as members of the Biosphere Reserve, they align with stakeholder grouping/s of their choice.

These groupings are  -

Environment and Heritage Conservation
Natural Resource Conservation (e.g. MPA, Birdlife SA and other NGOs)
Heritage (e.g. Arch Soc, HEHA, etc.)
Culture (e.g. Artists, cultural centers, museums, libraries, religious organisation)
Economic and Tourism
Tourism (e.g. tourist associations, tour guide associations, recreation clubs such as MCSA, hiking clubs)
Commerce and industry (e.g. Business forums, Invest North West, Chambers of Commerce)
Development, Planning and Monitoring
Sustainable development (Property developers, town and regional planners, engineers, estate agents, green building council, SAAEA, AFASA
Municipal planning and development services
Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site
Marketing, legal and other specialist consulting services operating in the Biosphere.
Education and Research
Education (Schools, training centers, environmental education institutions, etc.)
Research (Universities, Scientific institutions, etc.)
Landowners and Residents
Landowners (Farmers unions, MCSA, bodies corporate/Landowners associations, etc.)
Land occupiers (Permanent non-landowning residents or resident workers)
Principal supporters and sponsors of the Biosphere (e.g. Bakwena Toll,  Mining houses, etc.)

Individuals are nominated by any stakeholder to represent the interests, concerns and needs of a specific stakeholder grouping.  Voting for a nominated representative takes place within that grouping. For example, a stakeholder who registers as a landowner votes within the group “landowner” for the delegate of their choosing. A stakeholder might be linked to more than one interest group, and has a vote in each grouping e.g. landowner who is also a benefactor, a member of an Environmental NGO and a business association.

A candidate must formally accept the nomination, and must –

  • Have the endorsement of a majority of stakeholders in her/his interest group.
    Be a genuine representative of, and participant in, the functions of the interest group s/he represents.
    Be 18 years or older.
    Be unpaid and unremunerated in any way for services as a Board member
    Have a genuine intention to serve on the Board for a minimum of three years unless prevented by unforeseen circumstances.
    Agree to abide by the constitution of the Biosphere and the NPC articles of association/incorporation.
    Agree to be registered with CIPC as a director in terms of the companies act and to bear such responsibilities and obligations that may entail.
    Agree to participate, or have a deputy or proxy participate, in a minimum of 75% of Board meetings during his/her three year term of office. (note: meetings may be held electronically and do not require physical attendance).
  • Confirm that he/she is not a government official

All stakeholders will be informed of the candidates standing for election to the board and the interest group for which they are standing. The notification will include voting forms. Voting takes place by completing a voting form available at a public meeting convened for that purpose, by email, mail or by delivering the voting form to a designated collection point.

The voting form indicates the various collection points and addresses, and the closing date for voting.

Once the voting period is closed, the Steering Committee will count the votes for each nominee and advise all stakeholders of the outcome.  The MEC of READ will announce the members of the board.

The Board appoints a chairperson from among their number. The board also appoints an executive committee for day-to-day decision making. The executive committee comprises one representative from the functional groupings (A to F above) being: Environment and Heritage Conservation; Economics and Tourism; Development Planning and Monitoring; Education and Research; Landowners and Residents; and Benefactors.

Read the detailed Management Plan as proposed during the nomination process

 Magaliesberg Biosphere

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