Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Land Use Regulation and Management at the Municipal Scale

Lead country

South Africa

Participating countries

South Africa

Project status

Under implementation

Implementing period

From March 10, 2015 to March 31, 2021

SDGs addressed by this project

SDG targets

  1. 15.5 Reduce habitat degradation, halt biodiversity loss, extinction
  2. 15.2 Promote sustainable forest management, restoration, afforestation
  3. 15.a Mobilize resources for biodiversity conservation, sustainable use

Project ID: 4719

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Technical team

  • Ecosystems and Biodiversity Programme

Technical area(s)

  • Mainstreaming biodiversity
  • Ecosystem management and restoration


  • Wildlife conservation
  • Ecosystem-based mitigation
  • Ecosystem-based adaptation


  • Human altered areas
  • Conserved areas
  • Grasslands


  • Rural areas
  • Key biodiversity areas (KBAs)
  • Grazing lands

Transformed sector(s)

  • Forestry and other land use

UNDP role(s)

  • Capacity development / Technical assistance
  • Convening / Partnerships / Knowledge Sharing
  • Data collection and analysis


  • Governance
  • Law regulation
  • Enabling


  • Institutional framework
  • Partnerships
  • Inter-sectoral coordination
  • Laws enforcement/ Regulation
  • Standards/ Labeling/ Guideline
  • Laws/ Policy/ Plan formulation
  • Mainstream

Social inclusion

  • Private sector

Gender equality

  • Gender-responsive policies

Gender result effectiveness scale

  • Gender responsive


  • Systems pathway
  • People pathway

Risk reduction target(s)

  • Hazard control/mitigation
  • Reduce exposure
  • Improve resilience

SDG target(s)

  • 15.5 Reduce habitat degradation, halt biodiversity loss, extinction
  • 15.2 Promote sustainable forest management, restoration, afforestation
  • 15.a Mobilize resources for biodiversity conservation, sustainable use

Conventions and protocols

  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs)

Private sector(s)

  • Individuals/Entrepreneurs

Hot topic


Project description

Since 1994 South Africa has made major strides in protecting its biodiversity having instituted extensive policy reforms and created new institutions at national and provincial levels to manage biodiversity.There is a need to strike a balance between short-term acceleration of employment opportunities and conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Coordinating and supporting the capacity of municipalities to deliver is key to successful realization of the New Growth Path. There are several challenges to achieving this. First, capacity at the municipal scale is very weak, and there is little or no coordination amongst the myriad of institutions that regulate land use. Second, less than 7% of land in South Africa is formally protected which leaves critical biodiversity under threat from degradation and conversion pressure in the absence of effective community based natural resource management. Last but not least, the potential contribution of biodiversity to the Government jobs agenda is not yet clear and thus there is little or no incentive for municipalities to work with landholders to manage land and natural resources in a biodiversity friendly manner.This project is designed to address these challenges by (a) (a) strengthening coordination and capacity of municipal and other regulatory authorities that regulate land use decisions within municipalities to incorporate criteria to mitigate and offset impacts on biodiversity over and above statutory environments for environmental protection (b) putting in place a cooperative governance framework in partnership with private and communal land owners to better manage land, including providing incentives for landholders to engage in biodiversity friendly practices, while also demonstrating the potential of biodiversity to create jobs and contribute to economic growth. The project will work in three district municipalities in global biodiversity hotspots and with very high rates of habitat degradation and conversion, and other pressing needs for action. The Amathole and Ehlanzeni district municipalities are located in the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany hotspot while the Cape Winelands district municipality is located between the Succulent Karoo and the Cape Floristic Region hotspots.

USD $8,277,730

Grant amount

USD $51,004,116

Leveraged amount (co-financing)


Source(s) of fund

Sources of fund


  • Global Environment Facility – Trust Fund ($8,277,730)

Implementing partner(s)

  • Government of South Africa

Project metrics

Related resources

Geospatial information

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Project reports and documentation