The Government of South Africa (GoSA) has developed an innovative program to protect the rich biological heritage of the Cape Floristic Region (CFR). The overall goal of this Program, entitled Cape Action for People and the Environment (C.A.P.E. Program) is that the natural environment of the Cape Floristic Region and adjacent marine environment will be effectively conserved, restored wherever appropriate and will deliver significant benefits to the people in a way that is embraced by local communities, endorsed by government and recognized internationally. The basis for the C.A.P.E. Program intervention was laid by GEF support in September 2000. In this period, the Cape Action Plan for the Environment, referred to as the CAPE 2000 Strategy, was developed. It identified the key ecological patterns and processes which need to be conserved in the CFR, the key threats and root causes of biodiversity losses that need to be addressed in order to conserve the floral kingdom. This resulted in a spatial plan identifying the areas that need to be conserved and a series of broad program activities which need to be undertaken over a 20 year period. Within the 20 year C.A.P.E. program, there will be 3 phases. GEF support to the first 6 years of the C.A.P.E. Program (Phase 1) includes a Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund allocation for civil society involvement, complemented by the C.A.P.E. Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative and the subject of this application, the C.A.P.E. Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development Project (this Project). This Project is aimed at (i) establishing the systemic and institutional framework for effective implementation of the C.A.P.E. Program; and (ii) piloting and demonstrating site-based interventions in the CFR by bringing in an additional 4000km2 of protected area and to establish the know-how for conservation required to give effect to the C.A.P.E. Program. There are two Project Development Objectives requiring GEF support: (1) Securing the co-operation of capable institutions to develop a foundation for mainstreaming biodiversity in the Cape Floristic Region into economic activities; (2) Enhancing the conservation of the Cape Floristic Region is through piloting and adapting site-based models for sustainable, effective management. Key performance indicators will be used to measure project performance and the triggers to be used to assess Project readiness to move from proposed Phase 1 to Phase. These include: (i).C.A.P.E. implementing agencies meet all obligations of the C.A.P.E. MoU to align strategies workplans and budgets; (ii) Over 4000km2 of new conservation estate will be added to existing protected areas by Year 6. This will include three terrestrial protected areas, two marine protected areas, two estuaries and two freshwater systems; (iii) Three new instruments will be developed and piloted to conserve the CFR (payment for ecological services, tax rebates and transfer of development rights); (iv) Civil society stakeholders and individuals contribute actively to the achievement of the Project by committing to registered program activities; (v) Planning and development in five to six priority areas adequately addresses biodiversity concerns; (vi) Agri and tourism businesses in hotspots adopt environmental best-practices to mitigate impacts on biodiversity; (vii) The number of biodiversity-related jobs at Project sites increases by 50%; and (viii) The number of protected areas that are appropriately classified in terms of their biodiversity conservation objectives and effectively managed according to international standards, increases by 40%. Subject to the realisation of a number of key performance indicators and triggers in Phase 1, the GoSA will prepare an application for further GEF support for Phase 2 of C.A.P.E. (there is however, no GEF commitment to this as yet), with the clear understanding that Phase 3 would be domestically financed, through investments from the public and private sectors and payments for environmental services (PES). Notably, activities in Phase 1 would contribute to tangible and cost-effective conservation outcomes at select globally significant sites, the sustainability of which is not predicated on GEF financing for Phase 2 of C.A.P.E..

Project Details

GEF Project ID
South Africa
Implementing Agencies
The World Bank
United Nations Development Programme
Approval FY
Executing Agencies
National Botanical Institute
GEF Period
GEF - 3
Project Type
Full-size Project
Focal Areas
Funding Source
GEF Trust Fund


Co-financing Total
GEF Project Grant
GEF Agency Fees


Received by GEF
29 Oct 2001
Concept Approved
01 May 2003
Project Approved for Implementation
29 Apr 2004
Project Closed
17 Jun 2011