The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) officially launched the Green Coast 2020/21 season on the Wild Coast region of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province this month.
This year’s Green Coast Status Award ceremony was held in Morgan Bay on 2 October. The Green Coast Award is a symbol of environmental excellence and has been established to acknowledge, promote and protect the environment of our beaches.
In celebration of their achievement, the five rural coastal sites, Chintsa, Morgan Bay, Kei Mouth, Qolora and Bulungula, will now fly their Green Coast flags which represent a commitment from local government, civil society and the local businesses to co-manage these coastal sites.
Since March 2018 to August 2020, The Department of Tourism has been funding the Tourism Green Coast Project. It saw the upskilling and professional development of 119 youth from coastal communities along the Wild Coast.
The participating youth were trained in tourism guiding, environmental education and coastal ecology and were instrumental in the development of Green Coast criteria at 20 Wild Coast beach sites. The five coastal sites subsequently applied for the 2020/21 Green Coast season. These sites will be the first to pioneer the Green Coast programme in the Eastern Cape.
“The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa convinced us today to celebrate the hallmarks of development within our communities. We will leave this gathering encouraged by the prospects that linger within our communities. As Great Kei Municipality, our Local Economic Development Strategy promotes social dialogue and encourages public-private partnerships,” said Executive Mayor Tekile of Great Kei Municipality.
“This ceremony is the embodiment of that partnership. We must therefore build on the foundation that it has laid. Hence, as a municipality, we have resolved to support the Green Coast programme. We have committed to assist the Green Coast implementers by funding the applications for Green Coast status. Our commitment towards this programme is incentivised by its impact towards our developmental goals that speak to tourism, a green economy and the oceans economy,” added the Mayor.