WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) is a South African environmental organisation which aims to initiate and support high impact environmental and conservation projects to promote public participation in caring for the Earth. For over 90 years we have proactively engaged with the challenges and opportunities presented by South Africa’s unique natural heritage and the social and economic systems that depend on it.
We believe that working towards meaningful and sustainable capacity building solutions together is the most effective and inclusive way of bringing about the social change required to enable individuals, communities and government to make more sustainable lifestyle and environmental management choices.
WESSA has become a leading implementer of environmental initiatives in southern Africa: The Eco‐Schools programme is enabling more than 500 000 learners across nine South African provinces to achieve their full potential towards a sustainable future by taking environmental action in their own areas. Blue Flag is the global symbol of quality for beaches, boats and marinas in the environmental management of our coastline and coastal waters to help tourism growth and development. The Green Key eco-label recognises tourism establishments demonstrating excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operations. Our professional training programmes are addressing South Africa's skills shortage, and we are also implementing programmes to develop an empowered and enthused youth sector. We are supporting the conservation of life-supporting biodiversity and water resources through ecological infrastructure projects which involve the removal of invasive alien plants and the rehabilitation and restoration of ecosystems.
WESSA is an integral part of the international environmental community. We have been entrusted with running three international Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) programmes in South Africa, we are a founder member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and, as a UNESCO partner, we are supporting education for sustainable development across the southern African region.
We are a membership-supported organisation and many of our members throughout South Africa are part of active branches or friends groups which implement local conservation projects and initiatives. It is due to the efforts and strong leadership within our membership that we have been a motivating force behind many of South Africa's most significant environmental decisions, and we continue to work to promote effective environmental governance through participating in the development of legislation and supporting compliance.
WESSA is a Section 21 company registered as an Incorporated Association not for gain.