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Cabinet Approves Two Measures to Protect South Africa’s Biodiversity

November 27, 2020

Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

Cabinet has approved two measures designed to address threats to South Africa’s biodiversity.

In a statement, the environment, forestry and fisheries department announced that cabinet, during a virtual meeting on 18 November 2020, gave the green light to the updated National Protected Areas Expansion Strategy (NPAES) and the revised National Biodiversity Framework (NBF).

Both measures are described as “important existing policy instruments for the protection of species and ecosystems”.

Cabinet approved the revised NBF to be published for comment.

In the cabinet statement, the NBF is highlighted as a “sectoral plan of action to address the biodiversity threats identified during the scientific assessment of the state of biodiversity and ecosystems in South Africa done by the South African National Biodiversity Institute in 2019”.

Critical areas in the assessment report relate to fresh water ecosystems, rivers and estuaries with fresh water fish the most vulnerable of all the species.

The department points out that the 2019 – 2024 NBF serves to coordinate and align key roleplayers in the conservation and management of South Africa’s biodiversity in support of sustainable development.

Cabinet approved the updated NPAES for implementation.

According to the department, the Strategy presents a “20-year strategy for the expansion of protected areas and highlights how the country can become more efficient and effective in allocating the scarce human and financial resources available for protected area expansion”.

It also sets protected area targets, maps priority areas for protected area expansion and recommends mechanisms to achieve this.

The NPAES is reviewed and updated every five years.