Environmental Evaluation Unit, University of Cape Town (UCT)

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The Environmental Evaluation Unit (EEU) is an internationally recognised research‐led unit at the University of Cape Town – the principal research and teaching university in Africa. Founded in 1985 as an independent, self‐funded entity, the EEU has established itself as a leading organisation in the field of sustainability, environmental governance, and the interface with communities and social justice. Social responsiveness and responsible research are at the core of the EEU’s activities and its underpinning objectives.
Policy Research in International Services and Manufacturing (PRISM) is a research and policy unit located in the School of Economics. PRISM provides a lens to focus research and policy on issues of globalization and industrialization in Sub Saharan Africa.
Important Note: Due to internal restructuring the Environmental Evaluation Unit is now carrying out its activity as the Bio-economy Research Chair in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science in UCT.

Rachel-WynbergProf. Rachel Wynberg. Associate Professor Rachel Wynberg holds a DST/NRF South African Research Chair in Environmental and Social Dimensions of the Bio‐economy, hosted by the University of Cape Town. Her work is focused on bio‐politics, the commercialization and trade of biodiversity, access and benefit sharing, and the integration of social justice into biodiversity concerns and environmental governance. She has consulted and published widely on these topics, including over 140 scientific papers, technical reports and popular articles, and four recent co‐edited books (Indigenous Peoples, Consent and Benefit Sharing: Lessons from the San Hoodia case, Springer, 2009; Wild Governance: Finding Policies that Work for Non‐Timber Forest Products, Earthscan, 2010; Sharing Benefits from the Coast: Rights, Resources and Livelihoods, UCT Press, 2013; and Governance for Justice and Environmental Sustainability, Earthscan, 2013). Rachel is also active in the NGO community in southern Africa and sits on the Boards of Biowatch South Africa, Environmental Monitoring Group and PhytoTrade Africa. She is also a member of the Expert Committee for the UK government’s Darwin Initiative, one of the largest and most significant global funders of biodiversity projects.


David-KaplanProf. David Kaplan: BA BComm. (UCT) MA (Kent) DPhil (Sussex). Professor of Business Government Relations and Professor of Economics, UCT. Professor Kaplan has a long engagement in policy oriented research and working with government. 2000‐2003, first chief economist of the Department of Trade and Industry; 2004 ‐2010 Chief Economist (part‐time), Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Provincial Government of the Western Cape. He has a particular interest in innovation. He organized the first green paper on innovation policy in South Africa. He has been a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI) and is currently engaged with NACI in a project reviewing South Africa’s innovation system. In the last 12 months, he has undertaken work for the World Bank: the African Development Bank; the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa; the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation; Business Leadership South Africa.


Jaci-van-NiekerkJaci Van Niekerk holds a BSc degree in Zoology from the University of Stellenbosch and an MPhil in Environmental Management from the University of Cape Town. In 2008, she undertook her Masters dissertation which examined the contribution of the international trade in an endemic medicinal plant – Pelargonium sidoides, to rural livelihoods in South Africa and Lesotho. Since 2009 she has been employed at the Environmental Evaluation Unit at the University of Cape Town, conducting research on the social and environmental aspects of the commercial use of indigenous southern African biodiversity and the rights of small‐scale farmers. She has been involved in projects ranging from the preparation of guidelines for users of South Africa’s bioprospecting, access and benefit‐sharing regulatory framework to coordinating a week‐long training course for African participants on access and benefit sharing ‐ held in Cape Town in 2010, Nairobi in 2011 and Gaborone in 2013.


LauraPereiraLaura Pereira completed her BSc (Hons) in Ecology at Wits University in South Africa before moving to Oxford where she did an MSc (on coca in Colombia) and DPhil (on private sector adaptation to climate change in South Africa and Brazil). Before starting her current post doc, she did a stint in sustainability science at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where she looked at the case of cassava bread in Nigeria as part of the Innovation and Access to Technologies for Sustainable Development group. Laura is now based at UCT, where she works on orphan crop innovation for transformation in the food system.  In particular she looks at the interface between traditional knowledge systems and more formal systems of innovation with regards to food, nutrition and agriculture. She is a World Social Science and Future Earth fellow and is also a member of the Future Agricultures Consortium where she was an early career fellow in 2012. She has published quite widely on the food system and is currently working on a variety of projects, including a Future Earth funded initiative that aims to look at food system governance in southern Africa through the lens of the maize value chain.