A Learning Exchange of a life time!
In May 2018, a group of five participants of the K2C Network visited the Rhön Biosphere in Germany. Kgomotso Matthews (CSA), Vusi Tshabalala (K2C BSP EM programme), Sammy Masete (Maruleng Municipality), Wehncke van der Merwe (KNP Buffer Zone Coordinator) and MT Uys (K2C Coordinator) all had a once in a life time experience learning how their German counterparts tackle the challenges of sustainability.
The exchange visits (last year we hosted the Rhön Biosphere in the K2C) of this North-South Cooperation had the following objectives:
1. To build an understanding of the Actual Situation in the two BRs;
2. To track the two BRs implementation of the Lima Action Plan; and
3. To identify areas where further learning and collaboration can take place – being a possible catalyst for improvement.
A partnership between Rhön BR and K2C BR was initiated in 2008 with the support of the German Agency responsible for International Development Support (at that time GTZ). A Memorandum of Understanding between the two BRs was signed at COP19 in 2009.
The 2018 visit was packed with visits to small businesses, inclusive of farming enterprises. These enterprises are supported with their marketing using a local product label, capitalizing on the people’s sense of place (being proud and supportive of their region’s reconciliation of nature with human well-being). This result in the development of a circular green economy and equality.
A very impressive feature was how the people and government alike embraced and adopted a new ten-year plan for the region, which embraces this harmony with nature.
“To be exposed to a circular green inclusive economy was an amazing experience. The trust and collaboration between government institutions and citizens, as between different spheres of government in creating an enabling and inclusive environment underlined the importance of good governance. The mindfulness of sustainability is entrenched. We read about this in books, but it is great to see it in action.” Vusi Tshabalala said.