Community of Practice

Published: August 2018
Last edited: July 2019

Introducing South Africa’s first biodiversity tax incentive required the support and assistance of a very effective and cohesive community of practice within South Africa’s national biodiversity stewardship initiative. The tax incentives relate directly to South Africa's protected areas declared on private or communally owned land. This context required the support of the implementers of these types of protected area declarations to facilitate this unique biodiversity finance solution. The implementers of biodiversity stewardship in South Africa range from representatives of national and provincial government, NGOs, and various experts and specialists. They work together in a collaborative community of practice which provided its full support to the tax incentive work. The novelty of the tax work, as well as the numerous components of the Project that required simultaneous success, required the direct support, advice and assistance of the community of practice. This support facilitated Building Blocks 1 and 2 and ensured that the Project deliverables could be achieved in the most conducive environment possible.

Classifications

Category
Alliance and partnership development
Legal and policy frameworks, policy advocacy
Sustainable financing
Scale of implementation
National
Phase of solution
Entirety

Enabling factors

  1. The nature of South Africa’s biodiversity stewardship community of practice was the enabling factor of this building block. The community of practice, into which the work on biodiversity tax incentives was placed, is by nature collaborative, communicative, and cohesive. This allowed for the tax work, despite its uniqueness and complexity, to be supported and assisted by key members of the community of practice. The community of practice is constituted in this way due to the individual experts who work within this field.

Lessons learned

Key lessons learned in utilising the community of practice building block:

  • Team work: attempting to introduce South Africa’s first biodiversity tax incentive in isolation would have been an error. The tax incentives had to be introduced into the context of biodiversity stewardship in South Africa. The Project was integrated into this community of practice during its scoping phase and throughout its implementation.
  • Partnerships: From the inception of the Project, key partnerships were sought. These partnerships, their support, skills, advice, and varied expertise, were vital to the successful implementation of this complex undertaking.
  • Regular feedback: the Project provided regular feedback to the community of practice, key partnerships, and stakeholders throughout its duration. This regular feedback allowed for the dissemination of information. Additionally, it allowed for collaborators to remain invested in the Project’s success and ensured continued support.