Promoting healthy ecosystems to build resilience to climate change


Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA)

WESSA is one of the leading environmental organisations in South Africa and our mission is to promote public participation in caring for the Earth.

WESSA has adopted an holistic approach to environmental issues and is involved in a wide range of projects and initiatives.

History of WESSA
The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (previously known as the Wildlife Society of Southern Africa) is arguably the country’s oldest and largest independent non-government environmental organisation. Although its origins go back to the 1890s, it has been in continuous existence since 1926, making the year 2001 the occasion of its 75th consecutive AGM.

The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) is a membership-based organisation that has, since its inception, always been non-racist and a-political. It currently enjoys a membership of 13 000, although this is misleading as many members consist of schools, families, corporates and clubs, such that a conservative estimate of actual numbers of members (as opposed to computer addresses) is considered to be 40 000 - 50 000. The members are grouped into 52 Branches throughout South Africa, which in turn are grouped into 8 geographical Regions.

Our VISION....
We embrace professionalism and sound corporate governance, fostering collaborative partnerships to succeed in our Mission.

With enthusiasm and a spirit of unity, we work to achieve a South Africa that is wisely managed by all to ensure environmental sustainability.

is to promote public participation in caring for the Earth.

Our AIM.... is to contribute to conserving the Earth’s vitality and diversity by:-
-promoting sound environmental values and sustainable living
- integrating conservation and development
- encouraging individual and community action
- securing the protection and wise use of natural resources
-acting as an environmental watchdog
-promoting and participating in environmental education
-influencing policy and decision-making
-responding to changing needs.

Get Involved in Conservation
Conservation has been described as the wise use of the resources of the Earth for future generations. The Conservation Section of WESSA therefore has an obligation to help facilitate the conservation of all our natural resources and to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy a healthy environment. As a rapidly developing country South Africa needs to focus on sustainable options and ensure we conserve the diversity of natural ecosystems, understanding that this underpins everything.

Part of the WESSA conservation strategy is the need to preserve natural systems for the benefit of the environment and future generations. There is also a need to ensure that environmental considerations are incorporated into economic and other development plans, programmes and projects.

WESSA aims to respond to the following broad categories of Environmental Issues and Risks:

1.Biodiversity Loss
2.Energy and related issues
3.Policy development and implementation including National and International Laws and Conventions
4.Waste and Water Management
5.Climate Change (As cross-cutting theme)
6.Social Issues

WESSA's conservation strategic action plan encompasses the following sub objectives:
- Implement a Climate Change strategy, which seeks to build alliances, promote sustainable living and is crosscutting over all other environmental issues and risks.
- Promote and encourage the philosophy of 'reduce, re-use and recycle' across the board.
- Promote public participation in the commenting on of Environmental Impact Assessments through EIA Capacity Building Training Program. Engage with local authorities on environmental and planning issues.
- Promote the formation of conservancies, friends groups throughout various sectors of civil society and other environmental non-governmental organizations.
- Promote public awareness and involvement in all relevant environment forums and initiatives e.g. Coastwatch, Blue Flag, Catchment Management etc.
- Promote and capacitate civil society in their environmental watchdog role. Promote an awareness among WESSA members to issues such as, N2 Wild Coast Toll Road, Xolobeni Mining, Mpumalanga Lakes District Coal Mining, Marines issues etc.
- Influence policy and decision making at all strategic levels of local, Provincial and National government. WESSA should strive to be represented on steering committees where WESSA can add value to research, decision-making and community projects.
- Promote a culture of change within WESSA to the needs of the times. This will be achieved by, keeping policy and position statements up to date as well as dynamic, relevant and flexible.

Our STYLE....
We operate democratically.

We are firm, but restrained, in the pursuit of our aims, seeking collaboration and consensus whenever possible and accepting accountability for our actions.

We strive for innovation and excellence, lead by example, and act with integrity in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

Our VALUES....
Integrity: We shall endeavour to uphold our integrity, both as individuals and as an organisation, at all times, as we recognise that this principle is the value upon which all others are founded.

Mutual Respect: We shall, at all times, treat each other with mutual respect. Mutual respect at all levels fosters a sense of pride and belonging that is essential to a positive culture and enjoyment of both the workplace and WESSA’s activities. We therefore promote tolerance, sharing, humility and a desire to seek consensus.

Excellence: We shall conduct ourselves and do business in a manner displaying the highest level of professional competence and behaviour, thereby bringing credit to WESSA. We shall always strive to be consistent, conscientious and focussed in our quest for personal excellence as we recognise that individuals striving for personal excellence will enhance any team and, thereby, the organisation as a whole.

Innovation: We shall promote an organisational culture that embraces diversity and empowerment for the value it adds. Our ever-changing environment requires us to be adaptable in order to remain effective and to seize opportunities. We shall therefore always encourage proactive problem-solving, initiative, and the search for better ways to succeed in our activities and Mission.

Accountability: We recognise that each of us is a part of a team, and that no individuals can achieve more by themselves than everyone working together. In so doing, we shall always make the extra effort for our fellow team members whilst ensuring that all of us take full responsibility for our roles and remain accountable for our actions. We shall be empowering and continually re-evaluating ourselves in our actions

For more information on the programmes of WESSA visit or contact the headoffice:
1 Karkloof Road, Howick
PO Box 394, Howick, 3290, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Tel (033) 3303931
Fax (033) 3304576

Click the image to enlarge: Some of the WESSA staff having lunch cooked in the solar cooker
Some of the WESSA staff having lunch cooked in the solar cooker
Click the image to enlarge: Principal at Mphophomeni Eco-School showing her flag
Principal at Mphophomeni Eco-School showing her flag
Click the image to enlarge: Riso printer used in the Share-Net offices which is powered by a photovoltais cell
Riso printer used in the Share-Net offices which is powered by a photovoltais cell
Click the image to enlarge:
Posted: 8/13/2010 (12:00:00 PM)

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