Members of the Terrestrial Bird Conservation Programme, including Hanneline Smit-Robinson, Linda van den Heever, Melissa Whitecross, Robin Colyn, Carina Coetzer and Samantha Ralston-Paton, attended and organised Flock on the West Coast, which took place from 6 to 11 March 2018 at Club Mykonos in Langebaan, Western Cape. This year’s Flock included BirdLife South Africa’s biennial Learn About Birds Conference, which was co-hosted by the Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology.



Landscape Analysis & Project Development

Dale Wright, Robin Colyn and Hanneline Smit-Robinson met with Dr Rob Simmons to discuss Black Harrier research outcomes and the development of a conservation project to address the multiple threats facing this species.  Dale Wright joined a skype meeting with colleagues from Canada and Australia on Monday night to discuss a paper which he and Candice Stevens are contributing to focused on the distinction between Privately Protected Areas and “other effective area-based conservation mechanisms” as defined by the IUCN.

Karoo Research and Conservation Project

Dr Alan Lee attended the “Learn about birds” conference in Langebaan this week and presented one of the plenary talks, on his conservation assessment of South Africa’s endemic birds using SABAP2 data. He also assisted with bird guiding for the conference excursions.

Regional and Global Key Biodiversity Areas

This week Simeon Bezeng was involved with a workshop in Mozambique on Red Listing and Tropical Important Plant Area Identification (TIPA), organized by the Instituto de Investigacao Agraria de Mocambique (IIAM) and Royal Botanic Gardens (KEW). The main aim was to identify and promote the long term conservation and sustainable management of Mozambique’s most important sites for plant biodiversity.  Simeon has also been engaging with different regional stakeholders to complete the selection of pilot African countries within which red listing and KBA work will be carried out.

Awareness for IBA & KBA Conservation

Dale Wright hosted Dr Dieter Hoffman of the RSPB on Sunday afternoon, taking him up Table Mountain and having extensive discussions on the IBA Programme and our estuary conservation work. He also assisted with bird guiding duties at the LAB conference in Langebaan on Tuesday and Wednesday, which again provided an opportunity to share the work of the IBA Programme with BirdLife South Africa members. During the LAB conference Dale gave talks on the Fynbos endemic birds’ habitat management guidelines and research and conservation action for waders along the South African coastline.




Candice Stevens worked on international policy topics as part of the post-2020 Strategy for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) including: protected area targets, privately protected areas (PPAs) and other effective area based conservation mechanisms (OECMs). Candice is providing expert input into both international policy as well as providing assistance to the Department of Environmental Affairs on their national preparations for CBD. Candice provided continued input into the international journal article on PPAs and OECMS she is co-authoring as well as into the draft guidelines on governance and equity for protected and conserved areas in response to CBD. Regionally, she provided policy and advocacy support to the BirdLife partner in Ghana. She continued collating landowner responses to section 37C regarding her work in engaging Treasury to amend the Income Tax Act for the benefit or Protected Environments. Candice also provided oversight to Jonathon Booth on a number of advocacy topics and the P&A strategy in preparation for his attendance at the CER Strategic Planning Retreat  (see below).


Jonathan Booth worked on matters pertaining to the DEA site screening tool, for which a workshop is to be held next week. He also wrote the a Policy & Advocacy strategy document for the purpose of the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) strategy retreat, and attended this retreat on Wednesday and Thursday in Elgin in the Western Cape. The retreat provided an excellent opportunity to meet significant role players in the South African environmental policy and advocacy space, and areas of synergy between BirdLife South Africa’s work and the CER’s 2018 work plan were identified.



While at Flock on the West Coast, there were brief meetings of the Board of Directors and Remuneration & Nominations Committee.