05 September 2010

Object to SANBI's short-sighted cuts

South Africa is recognised internationally for no fewer than three global biodiversity hotspots. It also has eight UNESCO world heritage sites most of which have strong biodiversity elements. All of these areas face threats and education is one essential defence mechanism. SANBI (and preceding agency NBI) has been at the forefront of delivering consistent, broad based, far-reaching, hands-on, respected education programmes for decades. The Cape Argus of 12 August 2010 reported that the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) is in the process of 'streamlining' its operations, in order to overcome a large budget deficit. The three programmes that stand to be most affected are the Publications unit, the Urban Conservation unit (specifically the Cape Flats Nature project) and the Environmental Education programme (incorporating school visits to the National Botanical Gardens and the Outreach Greening programme that has been developing indigenous gardens in schools and community centres.. These changes affect both the direct beneficiaries of the programmes, the majority being children from under-resourced schools and communities, and the numerous organisations who work in partnership with SANBI on a variety of environmental education and community outreach programmes. SANBI has not discussed its streamlining plans with programme partners or beneficiaries, allowing no opportunity to investigate alternatives to the closure or significant down-sizing of programmes that serve South African communities, and which contribute immeasurably to quality biodiversity education. Please sign the petition opposite This petition is your opportunityto have your voice heard. Stand up for these vital programmes by completing this petition. Send it on to friends, family, schools and organisations that care. Share your stories of how SANBI's education and outreach programmes have benefited you. Make positive suggestions for a way forward. The petition has now been closed and sent to SANBI. Report will follow soon.

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