C.A.P.E Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI)

Lead country

South Africa

Participating countries

South Africa

Project status

Under implementation

Implementing period

From September 10, 2003 to February 25, 2011

SDGs addressed by this project

SDG targets

  1. 15.a Mobilize resources for biodiversity conservation, sustainable use
  2. 15.1 Conserve, restore, sustainably use terrestrial, freshwater ecosystems
  3. 15.5 Reduce habitat degradation, halt biodiversity loss, extinction

Project ID: 2006

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Technical team

  • Ecosystems and Biodiversity Programme

Technical area(s)

  • Strengthening conservation areas
  • Mainstreaming biodiversity


  • Agrobiodiversity
  • Ecosystem-based mitigation
  • Ecosystem-based adaptation


  • Conserved areas
  • Wetlands


  • Key biodiversity areas (KBAs)
  • Important bird and biodiversity areas (IBAs)

Transformed sector(s)

  • Tourism

UNDP role(s)

  • Institutional mechanism and system building
  • Innovative approaches
  • Capacity development / Technical assistance


  • Governance
  • Management operation
  • Food and agricultural commodities


  • Participatory governance models
  • Conserved areas/ protected areas management
  • Awareness raising
  • Improved & diversified sustainable livelihoods (TP 5)

Social inclusion

  • Women

Gender equality

  • Livelihoods for women

Gender result effectiveness scale



  • People pathway
  • Systems pathway

Risk reduction target(s)


SDG target(s)

  • 15.a Mobilize resources for biodiversity conservation, sustainable use
  • 15.1 Conserve, restore, sustainably use terrestrial, freshwater ecosystems
  • 15.5 Reduce habitat degradation, halt biodiversity loss, extinction

Conventions and protocols


Private sector(s)


Hot topic

  • Public-private partnership
  • Multi-stakeholder collaboration
  • Food and agricultural commodities strategy

About this project


The Cape Floristic Region (CFR) Biodiversity Hotspot is a globally significant repository of biodiversity, recognized for its high irreplaceability and vulnerability. The Hotspot is threatened by a number of human-induced pressures which are gradually undermining key conservation values. The Government of South Africa has initiated an ambitious and comprehensive long-term programmatic approach to arrest these pressures and protect a representative sample of biodiversity. The Program, known as Cape Action for People and the Environment (C.A.P.E.) will implement the Cape Action Plan for the Environment (CAPE Strategy), which was endorsed by the Government in 2000. The CAPE Strategy provides a long-term vision for biodiversity conservation in the CFR, and articulates an action plan and investment program to strategically address identified conservation priorities. The C.A.P.E. Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (the project) comprises one of three complementary GEF initiatives in support of the C.A.P.E. program aimed at strengthening systemic, institutional and individual capacities and establishing the know-how for conservation management in different ecological and socio-economic conditions as needed to attain conservation.The Agulhas Plain constitutes one of the largest extant storehouses of lowland fynbos and threatened Renosterveld habitats in the world. The diversity of habitat types, wetland ecosystems, Red data plant species and local endemics is unmatched in the CFR. The area is currently being threatened by a range of anthropogenic pressures, but nevertheless constitutes one of the best opportunities for conserving the CFR's lowland habitats. The project would pilot new management measures and institutional arrangements for conservation at a sub-regional level, tied closely to the activities of the productive sectors and rooted in decentralised governance frameworks. The following outputs are anticipated: (i) An innovative model is developed tying management of a mosaic of Protected Areas on public and private lands with production systems on neighbouring farmsteads. The Government of South Africa intends to replicate the model in other protected areas in the CFR and elsewhere, where decentralised conservation approaches are urgently needed. The project is expected to make a significant contribution to enhancing the sustainability of the national system of protected areas, (ii) ecologically, socially and ethically sustainable harvesting of wild fynbos demonstrated as a viable land use; (iii) participatory and responsible tourism strategy implemented in the Agulhas Plain and contributes to sustainable livelihoods; and (iv) increased local support for biodiversity conservation in the Agulhas Plain is generated through an informal awareness program. Conservation actions will be implemented through community-public-private partnerships negotiated by a well-capacitated extension service; The GEF will share the costs of the strategic interventions proposed by ABI with other financiers. ABI will be implemented through a partnership between SANParks, Western Cape Nature Conservation Board, Fauna & Flora International and the Flower Valley Conservation Trust.


Biodiversity conservation and socio- economic development on the Agulhas Plain are significantly enhanced through effective management and coordinated stakeholder involvement.

USD $5,622,166

Grant amount

USD $8,558,550

Leveraged amount (co-financing)


Source(s) of fund

Sources of fund


  • Global Environment Facility – Trust Fund ($3,226,225)
  • Government of Germany – Funding Windows ($2,395,941)

Implementing partner(s)

  • Government of South Africa

Project metrics

Related resources

Geospatial information

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Project reports and documentation