The Freshwater Ecosystem Network (FEN) is a community of practice related to freshwater ecosystems, convened annually by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). The network was launched in 2013 with various representatives from government, national and provincial agencies, NGOs and the private sector.
The idea for the network emerged from the needs and opportunities expressed by government, civil society and academia through a consultation process initiated by SANBI in 2010, and focused on the freshwater biodiversity sector. This process identified a set of priority activities that SANBI is well placed to address, in terms of its mandate and competence. The stimulation and support of collaborative efforts and networks was one such activity, which was subsequently endorsed by the Interdepartmental Committee on Inland Water Ecosystems, chaired by the Department of Water Affairs, in 2012. The FEN was thus established as a platform for joint learning, coordination and networking around freshwater ecosystems.