MEC Manketsi Tlhape celebrates listing of Marico as a biosphere announced by United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation

Marico set to create economic action

The Newly listed Marico Biosphere Reserve is set to be an important instrument to steer economic activity for the locals in the area. The Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development (READ) MEC Manketsi Tlhape together with various stakeholders celebrated the listing of Marico as a biosphere which was announced by the United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation in July this year at the 30th International Coordinating Council (ICC) sessions of Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme in Indonesia. The Celebration took place at Groot Marico last Friday, 12 October 2018.

Marico as a recharge area for freshwater, is very critical to ensure sustainable supply of drinking water to the people. While protecting this recharge area, there is opportunity to start conservation projects for Women, Youth and people living with disability and the tertiary benefit will be Tourism said MEC Tlhape.

Currently,PhenyoBotlhe Primary School where the celebrations where held, is participating in the Eco-Schools Programme and are recycling waste material collected within the biosphere which is reproduced into jewellery and dolls. Cathy Zerefos, Project Manager for the Eco � Schools in North West said that whilst educating pupils about conservation and promotion of thearea as a tourism destination, it is also important to impart entrepreneurial skills on to learners. Through the Paper 4 Bread Campaign, learners from disadvantaged backgrounds are able to make a profit from the school project and buy food for their families she added.

Meanwhile, the establishment of the Marico Board is underway and through the Management Plan of the Marico Biosphere Reserve, the department wants to drive and focus on ensuring that there are programmes in place to protect ecological infrastructure, eradicate poverty and hunger while empowering women by providing a platform for equality through programmes and projects.

Exhibitors at the celebrations congratulated and expressed their gratitude towards the listing of the Marico as a biosphere. TebogoSello says his passion for biodiversity led him to start a moringa plantation with his friends and they are currently packaging the product in multiple ways. The listing of the biosphere means tourists coming to this area will be exposed to our indigenous plants amongst others and we will be able to expand our Moringa business to include other bio - diverse products that are found in the province he said.

The Marico River is considered to be the only inland free-flowing river in South Africa which is still in a natural condition. The Marico region has also been identified as an important water recharge area, supplying clean water to surrounding communities and neighbouring countries, namely Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The area is also rich with natural and cultural heritage value and significant biodiversity of interest. It is South Africa's 10th area to be listed and the second for North West Province to get UNESCO's nod.

Source: Government of South Africa