Briefing on WSSD; briefing on Patagonian Toothfish & formal consideration of request for exclusion of land from the Kalahari Gem


13 August 2000
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13 August 2002


Chair:Ms G. Mahlangu

Documents handed out
Kalahari Gemsbok National Park: Deproclamation of Land in terms of the Khomani San and Mier Communities
World Summit on Sustainable Development: South Africa's Approach
ASOC - South Africa Southern Ocean Fisheries Campaign: Recommendation to support the proposal to list DISSOSTICHUS ELEGINOIDES and D. MAWSONI on CITES

Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs and Tourism, together with the Select Committee, received a briefing on the patagonian toothfish by Mr Markus Burgener of TRAFFIC and Ms Karen Sack of the Antarctic & Southern Ocean Coalition. The committees also received a final briefing by the Director General of Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Dr C. Olver, on the World Summit on Sustainable Development, as well as the consideration of excluding the land occupied by the Khomani San and Mier Communities from the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park.

Briefing on Patagonian Toothfish
Ms Karen Sack from the Antarctic & Southern Ocean Coalition briefed the committee on the patagonian toothfish, a species in danger of extinction due to massive overfishing. She explained that 80% of the trade of the toothfish was illegal, as fishermen were claiming to have caught the fish in the open seas, but have been proven to be fishing in CCAMLAR (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) waters. The fishermen then sold the fish to non-CCAMLAR states, which do not have restrictions on the trade of the toothfish. Ms Sack explained that there were large markets for the Toothfish in expensive restaurants in Japan, Europe, and the United States. She urged the committee to follow Australia's lead in pushing to have the toothfish added to Appendix II of CITES. She said that CCAMLAR would be qualified to work on regulation of the fishing practices, and CITES could deal with the actual trade issues. Finally, Ms Sack explained that the toothfish should be added to Appendix II to save the jobs of those who are catching the toothfish legally. Adding it to Appendix I would force fishermen dependant on the fish to find other fish to catch or to lose their jobs.

Mr Markus Burgener (TRAFFIC) told the committee that 2/3 of the 158 CITES countries needed to agree to the addition of the toothfish for it to be added to Appendix II.

He noted that people were concerned that adding the toothfish to Appendix II would lead to the eventual ban of toothfish catching. He explained that this was not the case, as it was simply an effort to control the illegal trade of the fish. He suggested that CITES and CCAMLAR should be united to control the toothfish trade. Finally, Mr Burgener requested that South Africa send a marine and coastal person to the CITES convention in November.

Mr E.K. Moorcroft (DP) - expressed his concern that listing the toothfish on Appendix II would agitate the fishing industry. He questioned whether a listing on Appendix II would be sufficient for dealing with illegal traders and wanted to know if a listing on Appendix I would not send a stronger message to illegal traders.

Mr M. Burgener (TRAFFIC) - acknowledged the concerns of those involved in the legal trade of the toothfish and said that those concerns could be addressed. He wanted to get the legal traders to support the Appendix II listing. With regards to an Appendix I listing, TRAFFIC did not believe that the legal fisheries should be stopped. Furthermore, explained that it was extremely difficult to get listed on Appendix II, let alone Appendix I (which is much more strict). Finally, Mr Burgener stated that if the tootfish were not listed on Appendix II, it would become commercially extinct.

Ms J. Chalmers (ANC) - asked if there was any tension between CCAMLAR and CITES with regards to working together on the issue of regulating trade of the toothfish. She also acknowledge the great numbers of delegates countries were planning on bringing to the convention and agreed that it was important to have South African representation.

Ms K. Sack (ASOC) - explained that there were some who were not happy about listing the toothfish on Appendix II of CITES, but CCAMLAR did want to cooperate with other international organisations. She agreed that South Africa should go to CITES with a strong delegation. Finally, Ms Sacks said that CCAMLAR wanted to use all of the tools possible to regulate the trade of the toothfish.

Mr J.D. Arendse (ANC) - asked what number of jobs would be lost if the toothfish were listed on Appendix II. He wanted to know if a listing on Appendix I would be more effective in dealing with the illegal traders.

Mr Burgener - responded that he did not yet know how many jobs would be affected, but TRAFFIC was planning on starting research on that issue in three weeks time. He also explained that they were looking at the impact the listing would have on other fisheries. TRAFFIC was looking to find if fishermen would simply lose their jobs as a result of the citing, or find new species to fish.

Ms Sack - said that there were organisations, such as Greenpeace, who wanted a moratorium on the toothfish trade through an Appendix I listing. She believed that Appendix II was a more reasonable step to controlling the trade. She explained that an Appendix I listing was extremely difficult to obtain. Ms Sack also suggested that South Africa use its non government resources by having delegates at CITES from civil society.

Ms Mahlangu - said that she would take the issue of having civil society representatives at CITES with the D.G., as there was low capacity in government regarding the toothfish. She also stated that the committee believed that government, parliament, and civil society should be represented at international conferences. She stated that the portfolio committee was willing to send members of parliament to the conference, as politicians were also a resource to be utilised.

Ms Sack - stated that other Southern African governments and NGOs had been consulted to get as many voices involved as possible. She said that the Minister's office had not responded to requests for meetings, and would not until after the WSSD.

Ms Mahlangu - noted that South Africa was often represented at international conventions by people with separate agendas. She believed that a unified voice would hold more weight.

Ms Chalmers - explained that she had seen over 150 Japanese delegates at an international conference, but that did not necessarily mean that they were more stronger. She noted that South Africa had one extremely competent scientist, who conveyed South Africa's issues very well. She also stated that the attendance of NGOs could go a long way to increasing South Africa's capacity at the convention.

WSSD Briefing
Dr C. Olver (Director General Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism) briefed the committees on South Africa's readiness for the WSSD. He gave an overview of South Africa's approach to the Summit negotiations, a summary of how the work at the Summit would be organised, a list of who would make up South Africa's delegation, and an update on logistics and the Summit's state of readiness. Dr Olver stated that South Africa's objectives for the Summit were:

-To have a balanced approach to sustainable development & commitments to all 3 pillars;
-To Focus the Summit on global approach to eradication of poverty;
-To obtain an action-oriented outcome;
-and to have a focus on Africa.

The ideal outcome would include:
-an implementation plan: negotiated text that sets targets for eradication of poverty;
-an implementation frameworks in WEHAB sectors (not negotiated; UN analysis of measures required to implement targets);
-a Political Declaration;
-and Voluntary Partnerships (Type 2 outcomes)

Mr E.K. Moorcroft (DP) - wanted to know what the M.P.s would be doing.

Mr C. Olver (DEAT) - said that members of South Africa's delegation would be accredited, but MP's would have separate accreditation and should attend the events in which they were interested. He stated that most events should be open to the MP's.

Ms Ramotsamai (ANC) - said that Type II outcomes should be attached to Type I. She stated that government and the NGOs had not been meeting. Finally, she asked how many were expected to be at the Summit, how many were registered, and which heads of state were coming.

Mr Olver - responded that Type II countries were struggling to get countries. He said that if you included all of the South African participants, there would be 65 000 people at the Summit. The current number of heads of state is at 120, but could not say who would had confirmed their presence.

Ms J.A. Semple (DP) - asked the DG to comment on the relation of trade and the environment.

Mr Olver - said that South Africa wanted to expand the environmental precautionary principle into the field of trade. South Africa did not want the EU to use the precautionary principle to block South African development.

Ms G. Mahlangu (ANC) - said that the civil society forum at the Summit would have 25 South African MPs. She wanted to know how best could they utilise the MPs who were not part of the 25.

Ms J. Chalmers (ANC) - raised the idea of having a television in parliament to televise the summit for those who could not attend.

Ms Ramotsamai (ANC) - said that GLOBE could help MPs get accredited for the Summit.

Ms Mahlangu - wanted to know if the Summit was still within the budget.

Mr Olver - responded that there would be an overspending, but the issue would take a more detailed discussion to explain where the added costs came from. He said that the issue would be taken up with the treasury.

Formal Consideration of Request for Exclusion of Land from the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park
Dr C. Olver (Director General, Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism) informed the committees of the efforts of the Khomani San and Mier Communities in the Northern Cape to have their land excluded from the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park. The committee decided not to finalise the agreement until it had taken the time to consider it more carefully.

Ms J. Semple (DP) -what a contractual park was and what were its benefits?

Dr C. Olver (DEAT) - responded that a contractual park was an agreement between parks authority and landowners. He said that communities have only recently chosen to take this route, but it allows them to involve themselves in lodging and tourism enterprises.

Mr R. September (ANC) - said that he was very grateful for this kind of agreement. He asked if the 500 000 hectares were for one park.

Dr C. Olver (DEAT) - said that there were two portions.

Mr J.D. Arendse (ANC) - wanted to know if the Mier community could begin mining on the land if they opted out of the contract park arrangement after 30 years.

Dr C. Olver (DEAT) - said that after the 30 years, the communities would have to maintain the conservation principles, but would be able to get out of the arrangement.

Ms G. Mahlangu (ANC) - said that the issue needed to be tended to quickly, but that the committee should not rush to conclude the agreement until they had considered it more fully.

Mr E.K. Moorcroft (DP) - was pleased that people were now enjoying the arrangements of new contracts. He believed that the agreement was something the committee could accept.

Mr S.N. Swart (ACDP) - said that the agreement should be finalised immediately, so that it could be highlighted at the WSSD.

Ms G. Mahlangu (ANC) - decided that the decision should not be rushed, as it was time to prepare for the WSSD.

The meeting was adjourned.


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