National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Draft Bill

Call for comments opened 24 May 2024 Share this page:

Submissions must be received by no later than 22 July 2024

The Department of of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has published the draft National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Bill (the Biodiversity Bill), and is asking you to comment.

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (the Department) is the lead department responsible for the biodiversity sector, which includes the terrestrial, freshwater and marine subsectors. Biodiversity conservation within the country is currently achieved through the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004) (NEM: BA), as well as provincial conservation legislation. As a result of the recent finalisation of the White Paper on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biodiversity, 2023 and due to a number of implementation challenges being identified in NEM: BA, this has necessitated substantial amendment of its provisions.

At policy and legislative level, the Biodiversity Bill has been informed by the:
• White Paper on Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biodiversity, 2023; and
• National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Act, 2022.

The Biodiversity Bill will enable:
• more effective implementation of the provisions and achievement of the objectives of NEM: BA due to a revised regulatory approach;
• greater protection of species and ecosystems through additional provisions relating to the listing of species and ecosystems, implementation of international agreements and restriction of wildlife trafficking; • more flexible management of species and ecosystems;
• more effective achievement of economic benefits in the biodiversity sector, as well as beneficiation from indigenous biological resources involved in bioprospecting; and
• transformation of the biodiversity sector.

Once the Bill is enacted and in operation, the Biodiversity Bill will repeal and replace the current NEM: BA.

The primary purposes of the Biodiversity Bill are to:
• provide for the conservation and sustainable utilisation of ecosystems and species within the Republic of South Africa;
 • provide for the duty of care towards all components of biodiversity and for the well-being of wild animals;
• provide for the development and alignment of biodiversity planning tools;
• provide for the management of the impacts of invasive species;
• provide for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from bioprospecting involving indigenous biological resources and indigenous knowledge;
• address historical imbalances, enable and facilitate transformation, facilitate cultural practices and achieve equity within the biodiversity sector;
• provide for the South African National Biodiversity Institute to develop, manage, co-ordinate, promote and provide assistance on biodiversity;
• provide for the Scientific Authority to assist in regulating trade in specimens of species which are subject to international agreements regulating international trade and to assist with the regulation of species of concern; and
• provide for appropriate measures in response to climate change.

Comments can be emailed to Ms Magdel Boshoff at [email protected] by no later than Monday, 22 July 2024.

Enquiries can be directed to Ms Magdel Boshoff on cell 083 952 2334