Effective Environmental Improvement Interventions (2E2I) – Recognition of Successful Restoration and Rehabilitation of Degraded Environments

Problem statement and purpose
Benefits of 2E2I
2E2I system description
Highlighted project


Problem statement / background and purpose

Despite the growing national and international consensus around the need to rehabilitate and/or restore our degraded landscapes, ecosystems, ecological infrastructure and our basic environmental media of air, water and soil, there is little, if any, consensus on what constitutes an effective rehabilitation and/or restoration intervention. As a result, although there may be many shining examples of effective rehabilitation and/or restoration interventions, there are probably as many examples, if not many more, of interventions that have very limited, if any, medium- to long-term environmental benefits despite being branded as environmental improvement projects.

Given the dire implications of ecological deficit, it is clear that we must address the fact that our demand for the goods and services delivered by robust ecological infrastructure is outstripping supply. In order to address this effectively, both sides of this equation must be considered – on the demand side we must address our demand through more sustainable consumption patterns and behaviour – on the supply side, we must address, among others, what the NDP 2030 calls the “replenishment” of our renewable natural capital through interventions that rehabilitate and/or restore our ecological infrastructure.

This Effective Environmental Improvement Intervention (2E2I) system deals with interventions that are specifically aimed at rehabilitating and/or restoring our ecological infrastructure and the three basic natural resources for a good human life – good air, good water and good earth.

What is an Effective Environmental Improvement Intervention (2E2I)?

An Effective Environmental Improvement Intervention is defined as a discrete, intentional and recognised intervention that has the measurable and sustainable improvement of degraded natural environments or environmental media as its principle objective.

For the purposes of this definition:

  • A “discrete and intentional intervention” means the implementation of a set of defined tasks that would not have otherwise been undertaken.
  • “Recognised” means that the intervention has been formally evaluated, approved and registered as a 2E2I.
  • “Measurable improvement” means a broadly recognised and significant improved quality or ecological state measured against an established base state.
  • “Sustainable” means that the intervention includes measures to ensure that measured improvements are sustained for, at least, 25 years after the improvements are first achieved.
  • “Natural environments” include natural aquatic, terrestrial and marine ecosystems, public open space and rangeland and other agricultural land, i.e. all areas other than built-up areas.
  • “Environmental media” include ambient air, fresh and salt water and soil.
  • “Principle objective” means the overall desired outcome of the intervention, notwithstanding any other desirable co-benefits.


Purpose of the 2E2I system

The purpose of the 2E2I system is to award recognition to effective environmental improvement interventions in South Africa, and populate a meta-data database of the interventions which meet the required criteria of effectiveness based on measurable improvement and sustainability. 


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Benefits of 2E2I recognition

The success of the 2E2I system is dependent on the number of projects that are registered and the strategy to maximise project registration is by building the value of 2E2I recognition through the on-going provision of ever-improving recognition benefits.Application to be registered as a 2E2I project is completely voluntary.

Initially, the 2E2I recognition benefits will be derived mainly through profiling interventions such as high-profile award ceremonies, departmental press releases, project profiling by the Minister and senior officials at high-profile events, good practise case studies, advertorials, and media coverage. However, the 2E2I Unit will continuously engage with the environmental improvement community in exploring and implementing new ways of increasing and/or improving the benefits of 2E2I recognition.

Notwithstanding the above, the benefits of 2E2I recognition include, but are not limited to:

  • Published and quotable recognition by the national Department of Environmental Affairs that an intervention is one that has measurable and sustainable improvement of degraded natural environments or environmental media as its principle objective;
  • Third party evaluation of the project and project progress;
  • National profile;
  • Potentially improved status or image of 2E2I intervention implementers, funders and/or custodians;
  • Potentially improved public interest and support;
  • Potentially improved private sector interest and support;
  • Potentially improved international interest and support;
  • Potentially improved funding opportunities; and
  • Recognised contribution to national and global environmental improvement efforts.


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Objectives of the 2E2I system

Outcome objective

The Effective Environmental Improvement Intervention (2E2I) system is designed to contribute to the following overall objective that is framed as a desired outcome

“Good, effective, directed, sustainable, efficient and properly informed projects that are recognised as environmental improvement projects are accelerating, incentivising, promoting, supporting, highlighting and generally increasing the large-scale rollout of effective environmental improvement interventions”.

Immediate objectives

In order to contribute to the overall objective, the 2E2I system has the following immediate, or system-specific, objectives framed as the desired outcomes of the 2E2I system:

Profile Objective Sufficient value is associated with 2E2I registration through appropriate public recognition, national profile and other means such that all significant effective environmental improvement interventions are submitted for 2E2I registration.
Continuous Improvement Objective The efficiency and effectiveness of environmental improvement interventions is continuously improved through peer review and support, access to project and good-practise information, and facilitated engagements amongst a growing community of practise.
Sustained Impact Objective The longevity of the positive impacts of environmental improvement interventions is encouraged and facilitated through long-term monitoring and reporting intervention recognition requirements.
Research Objective Environmental improvement science is popularised and significantly up-scaled as a result of the ease of access to high quality data on all significant effective environmental improvement interventions.


2E2I system description 

The success of the 2E2I system is dependent on the number of projects that are registered – the more projects registered, the greater the positive contribution to the overall objective and to all of the 2E2I immediate objectives. To this end, building the value of 2E2I recognition through the on-going provision of ever-improving recognition benefits is the key underpinning implementation strategy of the 2E2I system. 

» Full system description


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Highlighted projects


Queens Mercy wetland





Seekoeivlei wetland



Before After


Zoar wetland




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