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Hearings on White Paper on Biodiversity Underway

August 5, 2022

Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

Public hearings on the Draft White Paper on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in South Africa are underway.

The forestry, fisheries and the environment department published the Draft White Paper in Government Gazette 46687 for comment in July 2022.

Cabinet approved the Draft White Paper in June 2022 for publication for comment.

In a statement, cabinet pointed out that South Africa’s biodiversity “provides an important basis for economic growth and development, and is critical to people’s livelihoods”.

Cabinet added that the Draft White Paper gives effect to recommendations made by the High-Level Panel of Experts appointed in 2019 to review current policies, legislation and practices on matters relating to iconic species.

“The report recommended the development of an overarching policy on conservation and sustainable use of the country’s biodiversity.”

In a statement, the forestry, fisheries and the environment minister, Barbara Creecy, declared that the Draft White Paper “will be relevant to the historical, socio-economic, and environmental context of South Africa, and the aspirations and needs of the people: It is a New Deal to ensure people will not only be living in harmony with nature, but that both people and nature will thrive”.

The Draft White Paper focuses on policy issue identification; South Africa’s biodiversity: a living heritage; policy and legal context; problem statement; policy vision, mission and guiding principles; policy objectives and expected outcomes and implementing the policy.

Hearings kicked off with national departments, their respective entities, CONTRALESA and National House of Traditional Leaders on 3 August 2022 and will culminate with Wildlife Welfare Forum stakeholders on 12 August 2022.

In another statement, the department announced virtual public hearings on the Draft Game Meat Strategy.

The department published the draft strategy in Gazette 47024 for comment last month.

Cabinet approved the draft strategy at the end of June 2022 for publication for comment.

In a statement, cabinet pointed out that the draft strategy seeks to formalise and transform the game meat industry.

It also aims to contribute towards food security in a sustainable manner.

In an earlier statement, the forestry, fisheries and the environment minister, Barbara Creecy, declared that the strategy and implementation plan are aimed at “creating a formalised, thriving and transformed game meat industry in South Africa that contributes to food security and sustainable socio-economic growth”.

According to the department, the aim of the strategy is to “create a formalised game meat industry to achieve the economies of scale necessary for commercial ventures based primarily on game meat production, harvesting, processing, distribution, and marketing”.

The minister added that the “need to create new value, open up new opportunities, generate new growth, and deliver new efficiencies are all key to transformation, and will necessitate change along the entire Game Meat value chain”.

The draft strategy sets out the approach and implementation plan to expand, differentiate and formalise the game meat industry in South Africa that has shown considerable potential for growth.

The draft strategy focuses on a situational analysis; growing the game meat industry and the game meat industry.

In a statement, the department points out that the draft strategy is designed to “attract investment in the game meat sector and to open local, regional and international market opportunities”.

Hearings also run from 3 to 12 August 2022.