... and much paper characterises the progress we report in this edition of the Magaliesberg Biosphere Newsletter.
The Magaliesberg Biosphere Initiative Group (MBIG) is gearing up for the management of the Biosphere to be in the hands of a formally appointed Board, drawn from the members of the Biosphere.
A non-profit company - the Magaliesberg Biosphere - is currently being registered by the law firm, Bell Dewar & Hall and should be completed soon. For the purposes of registration, members of the MBIG will fulfil the role of directors. As soon as a large enough number of the Biosphere community have become members, the directors will be replaced through an election process.
Members are joining from many different sectors of the Biosphere community: landowners and land occupiers, tourism enterprises, industries, mines, schools, universities, faith organisations, NGO’s and many others.
One of our most valued recent members was the Rhenosterspruit Conservancy (see story below). A few days later we spoke at a meeting of the Hartebeespoort Tourism Association and once again the Biosphere was enthusiastically welcomed with many environmentally responsible tourism venues joining, as well as the Association itself.
There is no charge for membership and many advantages. It requires no more than a signed commitment to uphold the values of the Biosphere and to complete a questionnaire for the database. (Visit the website www.magaliesbergbiosphere.co.za for details and see 'Values and Membership' in this newsletter ).
Members can have links to the Biosphere website and are entitled to display the Biosphere trademark on their stationery, marketing literature and elsewhere. We are looking forward to seeing a rash of biosphere signs and logos.
Government responsibility to have the biosphere formally registered with UNESCO is also advancing. The North West Province has called for tenders for a consultant to do the registration work for them and a number of applications have evidently been received. These are currently going through the long bureaucratic process of evaluation after which, if a competent consultant is appointed, we can look forward to progress with the registration formalities.
Another positive is that the massive grant of R4 million to the North West Province from Finland, although not available to the Biosphere Company, is evidently being spent on government biosphere-related work - several state officials will be flying to Finland soon to learn more about biospheres.