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Revised biodiversity framework published for implementation

29th August 2022

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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The Revised National Biodiversity Framework (NBF) 2019 to 2024 has been published for implementation to address the biodiversity threats identified during the scientific assessment of the state of biodiversity and ecosystems in the country by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi), as published in the National Biodiversity Assessment (NBA) in 2019.

"The most recent NBA showed that South Africa’s biodiversity remains under pressure from a variety of human-induced factors and disturbances. These include unsustainable land uses, the destructive over-harvesting of species and illegal trafficking of wild animals and plants," the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) says.

In addition to their intrinsic value, these ecosystems and species are critical natural assets that provide a range of goods and services to people, such as food production, providing clean water and air, regulating climate, supporting crop pollination, regulating nutrient cycles and the provision of cultural and recreational benefits.

"Maintaining the integrity of biodiversity assets and ecological infrastructure plays a  fundamental role in South Africa achieving various social and economic development objectives," says Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy.

Continued investment in healthy ecosystems in terms of management, conservation and restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity is crucial for water, food and energy security, disease and natural disaster control, climate change resilience, and for post-Covid-19 economic recovery.

Strong commitment and cooperation across all spheres of government is essential for the implementation of the NBF as one of the National Development Plan’s accelerators, she states.

The NBF 2019 to 2024 notes that, while there are a range of national policies, strategies, frameworks and other systems in place or being developed to guide the work in certain areas of the biodiversity sector, an integrated, coordinated and consistent approach to biodiversity management is necessary. The framework also identifies priority areas for conservation action and for the establishment of protected areas.

The framework also reflects on regional cooperation concerning biodiversity management in Southern Africa, and identifies interventions that can be used to accelerate implementation of high-level priorities of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) over the next five years, Creecy says.

The NBF 2019 to 2024 coordinates and aligns the efforts of the various key role-players in the conservation and management of South Africa’s biodiversity in support of sustainable development, she emphasises.

"The revised NBF takes a two-pronged approach. It provides an overview of key national strategies, frameworks and systems that guide the work of the biodiversity sector, indicating their relevance to the strategic objectives, outcomes and priority activities of the NBSAP 2015  to 2025. It also identifies a set of interventions that can be used to accelerate implementation of high-level priorities of the NBSAP over the next five years."

These are broken down in detail in the NBF and are aimed at, among others, bottlenecks or underlying barriers to implementation or those which can provide the best opportunities for fast-tracking implementation and achieving multiple goals simultaneously, Creecy adds.

"Of the various global and national initiatives prioritising biodiversity and conservation, The ‘New Deal for Nature and People’ now stands at the forefront, aiming to protect and restore nature for the benefit of people and the planet. Countries around the world are adopting this approach to reduce the loss of natural spaces, reduce species extinctions and to significantly decrease the negative ecological impacts of production and consumption patterns, amongst other imperatives.

"The accelerators, activities and projected outcomes of the NBF 2019 to 2024 harmoniously align with the narrative of the New Deal for Nature and People, as envisioned by South Africa. Coordinated implementation of the strategies identified in this NBF will contribute meaningfully to addressing poverty and creating a climate-resilient society," she says.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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