Africa is already experiencing the effects of climate change. Resilience, and an understanding of what that really means, is becoming increasingly important. Efforts to maintain ecological infrastructure are vital to support water flows, quality, ecological goods and services and buffer against climatic shocks. Increasing investment in ecological infrastructure can deliver a host of benefits. There has been an increased improvement in the understanding of the value that ecological infrastructure provides, but the need to invest in ecological infrastructure is still not being realised. The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) appointed us to assist in the design of a GEF funded programme aiming to actively demonstrate how the integration of biodiversity and ecosystem services into infrastructure development in the water sector can improve water security.
We analysed institutional and regulatory opportunities and barriers to mainstreaming biodiversity and ecological services into our understanding of water security. We then developed a suite of national and catchment based interventions, that would be incorporated into a programmatic design. This would enable the mainstreaming of biodiversity and ecological goods and services as well as demonstrate within two catchments how these benefits can strengthen water security. The developed programme is to be submitted to GEF for approval in late 2016, with intended implementation aimed from mid-2017.