Update on Progress by Vincent Carruthers
The Biosphere Initiative was given a major boost in May with an offer by Impala Platinum Holdings to fund all of the Biosphere activity planned for the remainder of this year.
Through the good offices of Chris de Bruyn – a long-standing friend of the Magaliesberg – I met with Dr Jon Andrews and Suan Mulder of Implats over breakfast and in under an hour everything was agreed.
A MOU is now being drafted and will be signed very shortly.
Jon and Suan are wholeheartedly behind the principle of the Biosphere and their enthusiasm and support is a great asset for the project.
We can now achieve our vision to have a viable, operating biosphere structure that benefits communities living and working in the Magaliesberg area, by December 2010.
These are our objectives:
1. Compile a Code and Constitution with which members will be willing to comply.
2. Recruit members from the following sectors to obtain a critical mass of 50% of land utilisation in the Core and Buffer Zones by the end of the year:
- Tourism businesses
- Other businesses, land owners and employers
- Academic and research institutions
- NGOs operating in the Biosphere region
3. To compile and maintain a detailed membership database.
4. To continue and increase publicity and marketing
5. To register a legal persona to manage the Biosphere and appoint a Management Board.
While the Biosphere Initiative Group is celebrating the acquisition of resources to pursue its mission, the NW Province has also received substantial funding for its role in establishing the biosphere - almost R5 million from the Finland Government and another R4 million from provincial funds
We hope that this significant sum of money will be deployed wisely by the government officials concerned and result in comparable benefit to the Biosphere.