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South Africa : Environmental Affairs publishes draft Biodiversity Economy Strategy for public comment.

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa has published the draft Biodiversity Economy Strategy for public comment in Government Gazette No. 392686 for public comment on 6 October 2014.

The draft strategy was approved by Cabinet at its meeting on 28 July 2015.

The Biodiversity Economy Strategy (BES) covers the period ending 2030 and seeks to increase the biodiversity contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while conserving the country s ecosystem. It focuses on, for example, enhancing growth in both the wildlife and tourism sectors.

The Strategy is required to guide the sustainable growth of the wildlife and bioprospecting industries and to provide a basis for addressing constraints to growth, ensuring sustainability, identifying clear stakeholder responsibilities and monitoring progress of the Enabling Actions.

The Vision of BES is to optimise the total economic benefits of the wildlife and bioprospecting industries through its sustainable use, in line with the vision of the Department of Environmental Affairs.

The largest resource use in bioprospecting products is Aloe ferox (bitter Aloe), followed by bee products, Aspalathus linearis (rooibos) and Pelargonium sidoides. The potential market size until 2012 of the bioprospecting industry, based on resource permit application data, is at least R2, 150 million per year. This means that the industry has reached only about 20 % of its potential, and thus has a large growth potential.

The purpose of the BES is to provide a 14 year national coordination, leadership and guidance to the development and growth biodiversity economy.

An industry growth goal has been set in the strategy which requires that by 2030 the South African biodiversity economy will achieve an average annualised GDP growth rate of 10% per annum in line with the National Development Plan s Vision 2030.

This growth would be achieved through cooperation between the private sector, government and communities; through realising opportunities in various market segments; through addressing development and growth constraints; and through managing both the wildlife and bioprospecting industries in an environmentally sustainable manner. It would not only support returns on investment for existing investors but would also enable new investments in support of South Africa s economic transformation.

The BES also seeks to contribute to the transformation of the biodiversity economy in South Africa through inclusive economic opportunities, reflected by a sector which is equitable. This will be achieved through the adoption of principles of conservation of, among others, biodiversity and ecological infrastructure; fair and equitable beneficiation; socio-economic sustainability; incentive driven compliance to regulation and improving the quality and standards of products.

BES provides the opportunity to develop the rural economy of the country and address environmental and rural development imperatives of government.

The transformation enabling interventions contained in the strategy address a wide variety of constraints faced by the wildlife and bioprospecting industries separately, and identify responsibilities for government and the private sector.

The strategy includes the establishment of a National Biosprospecting Forum to enhance development in the natural ingredients sector.

The strategy has a results-base monitoring programme which provides indicators of success of implementing the various interventions of the strategy. These indicators will allow the sectors to hold themselves to account in achieving the Transformative Enabling Interventions (TEIs), to prioritise interventions for implementation and to determine future interventions required.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Oct 16, 2015
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