Department of Environmental Affairs briefing on South Africa's preparations for the Convention on Biological Diversity in Japan


13 Sep 2010

Mr Fundisile Mketeni, Deputy Director General (DDG): Biodiversity and Conservation, Department of Environmental Affairs briefed the media on the recently approved mandates for the meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to be held in Nagoya, Japan. The key areas of strategic importance to South Africa in the negotiations to be held in Nagoya were also part of the presentation.

Mr Shonisani Munzhedzi, Chief Director: Biodiversity and Conservation, Department of Environmental Affairs briefly discussed the meeting of the conference of the parties to the convention on biological diversity and on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. There were four key issues for South Africa that were part of the presentations regarding biodiversity.


Q: A journalist commented that the 2010 target for the convention had not been met. As a result, he asked if there was a single target for 2015 and how would the strategic plan be summed up?

Q: Can the Department elaborate further on the strategic plan and the targets therein.

Mr Mketeni replied that the global community as a collective had not met the 2010 targets. South Africa had done a lot in terms of biodiversity. The emphasis of the strategic plan was to halt biodiversity loss as much as possible. However, a constant obstacle was that the targets set by developed countries were too high for developing nations.

A: Mr
Munzhedzi added that the post 2010 strategic plan had five goals and 20 targets. The targets dealt with various issues, for example there was a target that dealt with sustainable production and consumption. A national biodiversity framework had been developed to ensure that all participants across all economic sectors, addressed biodiversity and eco-system issues within strategic and planning initiatives. The 5 goals and 20 targets provided means for implementation. By 2020, each country should have developed national biodiversity strategies and action plans. South Africa’s strategic plan was ambitious but also reasonable. 

: What were the confidence levels of the Department that things would improve for South Africa in terms of biodiversity ahead of the conference in Nagoya?

Mr Mketeni replied that there were other on going processes pre-Nagoya. Preparations were underway on the African continent ahead of the Nagoya Conference. By the time the Nagoya Conference commenced, Africa would have a common position on most if not all the issues that would probably be raised. In the last 15 years South Africa had invested a lot in biodiversity. The budget had steadily increased over the years. Many targets had been met over the last 15 years for example the rhino population had icreased from 500 to 20 000 in this period. Come Nagoya, African states had to be able to present to the developed world strategies that would be implemented in the future. Not all was doom and gloom and things were happening.

Q: Has there been an exercise to quantify in monetary terms what South Africa would need to meet the new targets? Would there be a need to increase the percentage spend on biodiversity targets?

The DDG replied that there were limits to acceptable change. The environment was constantly changing for example global warming, human development etc. The budget was never enough; the figures were in the annual reports. Over the last five years the budget had been steadily increasing but it had now started to decrease. The focus of the Department was also always changing; from climate change to global emissions and other developments, it all depended on which issue was more pressing for that period. Te environment was a moving target; it was not easy to say this budget was being committed to address that particular issue.

The media briefing was adjourned.



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