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3rd Biodiversity Economy Indaba

2018-03-08 00:00
2018-03-10 00:00

          Related documents
Introduction and background
Biodiversity Delivery Labs
The 3rd Biodiversity Indaba
Project objectives
Previous events
Related content

Introduction and background


The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) envisions aprosperous and equitable society living in harmony with its natural resources. Buoyed by this inspiring vision, DEA’s mission seeks to provideleadership in environmental management, conservation and protection towards sustainability for the benefit of South Africans and the global community. The South African Constitution (Section 24) Thus, the Department of Environmental Affairs is mandated to give effect to the right of citizens to an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing, and to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations.

DEA draws its Mandate from Section 24 of the South African Constitution which protects the environment for the present and future generations through measures that conserve, protect and advance the sustainable utilization of South Africa’s Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity; regulation of environmental impacts on soil, water & air; and the promotion and encouragement of sustainable Development through various mechanisms including advocacy.

Biodiversity has globally been identified as the cornerstone for economic growth and sustainable development.As one of the mega-biological diverse countries, South Africa  has posed a challenge to itself to establish mechanisms in which its biodiversity can be sustainably used to contribute towards addressing the vicious circle of the three economic-ills facing the country i.e. unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Biodiversity economy  sectors such as the wildlife and bioprospecting/bio-trade  have experienced noticeable growth over the years making a contribution to agricultural Gross Domestic Product and employment statistics of the country, where the wildlife sector employed approximately 100 000 people across the value chain. The bioprospecting/biotrade market in South Africa is currently estimated to be growing at 6% per annum however, international markets have shown that this sector has the potential to grow by 20% per annum. Both sectors are forecasted to experience growth in the next coming years, however, if the status quo remains, the effect of this growth will still be experienced by a few as a large part of this economies remains in the hands of the minority. Hence, transformation is an imperative. 


Biodiversity Delivery Labs

Further to the development of the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy (NBES), DEA co-hosted the Biodiversity Delivery Lab which occurred from 11 April to 13 May 2016, primarily to develop an implementation plan for the NBES. The Biodiversity Economy Delivery Lab adopted the Malaysian Big Fast Results (BFR) Methodology, which is a similar approach adopted for the country’s Oceans Economy Phakisa. Basically, the Lab can be described as an intense problem solving environment within a dedicated physical workspace with a full time team working in iterative manner towards delivering exceptional results. Thus, the Lab methodology is useful in solving complex problems/issues, developing detailed implementation plans that can fast track delivery.

The DEA hosted two work streams in the Biodiversity Delivery Lab namely, the Wildlife, and Bioprospecting. Overall, the Lab aspirations were centred on transformation, sector sustainability and economic growth. In the process, the respective work streams were able to prioritise issues that would move the respective sectors forward within the next three years. Consequently, initiatives addressing each of the prioritized issues were developed and further unpacked in a “3-feet plan (a detailed, line by line implementation plan with assigned owners and timelines) consisting of the budget and legislative requirements to implement the identified initiatives. To this end, the Biodiversity Delivery Lab has been elevated to a Presidential Phakisa due to the recognised and appreciated potential of the of biodiversity sector (in particular the wildlife and bioprospecting sector) to contribute to the economy of the country.

Below, is the summary of the outcomesof the Biodiversity Delivery Lab:

Wildlife work stream:

The wildlife work stream which comprised of a good representation of stakeholders within the sector was able to identify fifteen key initiatives that could deliver a thriving and inclusive wildlife economy for the benefit of all South Africans. Specifically for transformation of the wildlife sector, without undervaluing the impact of the other identified initiatives, the following initiatives were key:

  • The identification and prioritisation of 10 million ha for transformation of wildlife economy;
  • The establishment, developing and supporting new wildlife ranching entrants through infrastructure support and game donation programmes;
  • Operationalisation of eleven biodiversity economy nodes (BENs) in the nine provinces of South Africa;
  • Formalising the South African game meat market and creating a network of 110 game meat processing facilities which are black-owned;
  • Unlocking the potential of protected area;
  • Capacitating organised community structures such as Communal Property Association and Trust; and
  • Empowering and ensuring market access for 4000 SMMEs by the year 2021

The objective of the wildlife sector of South Africa are as follows:

  • Economic Growth:
    • Average yearly sector GDP increase of ~10%
    • Create 100,000 new jobs
  • Transformation:
    • 30% of wildlife businesses PDI owned PDI ownership of >5 million ha, and access to another >5 million Ha
    • 4,000 PDI owned SMMEs supported to engage in the wildlife economy
  • inability: 5 million ha of non-protected areas contributing towards conservation target  (AICHI) 3.5% animal population net growth p.a,

Objectives of the biodiversity sector:

Economic Growth:         

  • GDP contribution growth from R309 million in 2013 to R1.7 billion in 2030
  • Grow from 6 200 to 16 200 permanent jobs


  • 30-50% of South African bioprospecting products must have community involvement in the supply chain
  • Product development in the informal sector by focusing on TK holders, communities and members of the informal market
  • Diversify the market by promoting enterprise development and increasing accessible funding for new entrants


  • Grow cultivation of natural ingredients by at least 500 hectares per annum. The biggest challenge facing the emerging game farmers, new beneficiaries of land reform program, rural community landholders indigenous and local communities involved in the harvesting/ collection of indigenous biological and genetic resources, of indigenous and local communities holding traditional knowledge in South Africa is the lack of technical expertise, weak local institutions, access to market and capital, the legislative framework etc. This challenges continue to preclude the participation of the PDIs in the mainstream economy. This challenges will be deliberated during the Biodiversity Economy Indaba with aim of providing solutions that will be championed by government, private sector and land owners. 


The 3rd Biodiversity Indaba


Inspired by its conviction to transform the environmental sector within the context of a developmental state – which focuses on facilitating and supporting the planning and sustainable growth of economic activity in green sectors, DEA - working with the industry, public sector players and communities initiated the Biodiversity Economy Indaba (BEI) as a biennale event since 2013. 

Whilst the previous two Biodiversity Economy Indabas focused on providing a platform and an opportunity for departmental stakeholders within the Wildlife, Eco-tourism, Biodiversity Conservation sector, bioprospecting and bio-trade both public and private to interact with government, learn and share views on topics of high interest, the third Biodiversity Economy Indaba seeks to build on these successful foundations to hold a Unique African Biodiversity Economy Trade and investment  platform for conducting serious business within the sector and discussing and finding solutions for issues inhibiting inclusive growth, transformation and sustainable development.

Pitched under the theme:  “Entrepreneurs meet investors, for a thriving and inclusive biodiversity economy”, the third BEI intends to match the various stockholders emanating from far flung areas where plants and animal species are geographically located, with aspirant investors and related markets within and outside the borders of South Africa. BEI would become a one-stop platform for those seeking biodiversity economy business ventures, business advisors/consultants-investors, Traditional Knowledge (TK) holders, genetic resources stockholders, the public sector regulating bodies in a unique business match - making trade and investment platform. This would thus in turn take the objectives of the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy (NBES) and its implementing mechanism-the Biodiversity Lab into a new trajectory of concrete and tangible delivery expediency.  The development of a fourteen year NBES, designed to achieve the anticipated sustainable advancement for the wildlife and bioprospecting/biotrade sectors of South Africa to the economy of the country, achieving sustainable livelihoods specifically for rural communities would ultimately advance meaningful contribution to achieving the targets of the National Development Plan, vision 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals adopted in the year 2015, Aichi Biodiversity Targets.


Project objectives


  • To pitch the BEI as a Premier African Biodiversity Economy Trade and Investment platform;
  • To stage the BEI as a unique platform to match the lucrative international wildlife and bioprospecting/biotrade markets with owners, custodians and stock holders of wildlife and genetic resources  in South Africa and Africa-(bringing the market to Africa!);
  • To ensure that the BEI contributes meaningfully to the economy of the town/city and stimulate economic activity of the area where it is hosted;
  • To utilise BEI as a platform for regional dialogue/negotiations and cooperation on biodiversity economy and management issues and crafting the regional position on such issues;
  • To optimize the BEI as a platform to accelerate inclusive growth, transformation and sustainable development within the wildlife and bioprospecting/trade sector;
  • To create awareness of wildlife and bioprospecting/trade beneficiation through conservation and localization of industries; and
  • To host the BEI as an annual event, incorporating aspects exhibitions, dialogue/conference, trade and investment and launching pad for new initiatives within the biodiversity economy sector.

Planned activities during the 3rd Biodiversity Indaba

The proposed activities during the 3 days of the 3rd BEI include:

  • Day 1: Community Biodiversity Economy Launch

Launching of the Double Drift project.The department funded the Double Drift Nature Reserve R10 million for fencing in the previous project cycle. The project is currently on the planning phase as per the EPIP processes. Nonetheless, in this item we will see the Eastern Cape Parks Board donating game species to the community for consumptive purposes such as hunting and game production. ECPB will also pledge to mentor and train people within the community on running a sustainable wildlife business venture. Camdeboo which is the biggest game meat exporter in country based in the Eastern Cape will be approached to assist the community in producing a good quality of meat meeting the international standards (possibly enter into a contract with the community).

  • Briefing of Business Etiquette to Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises
  • Official Opening of the 3rd Biodiversity Economy Indaba:
  • Launch of the Biodiversity Economy Strategy (NBES) and theBiodiversity Delivery Lab Outcomes, illustrating the achievements thus far: The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has developed a fourteen year National Biodiversity Economy Strategy (NBES), which will serve as a suitable strategic tool to achieve the anticipated sustainable advancement for the wildlife and bio-prospecting/biotrade industries of South Africa.  Subsequently, the DEA recently embarked in a Biodiversity Economy Delivery Lab process which took place in Pretoria from the 11th of April to the 13th of May 2016, primarily to develop an implementation plan for the NBES.  The Biodiversity Economy Delivery Lab adopted the Malaysian Big Fast Results (BFR) Methodology, which is the rollout of Operation Phakisa which was initially launched in 2014 to unlock the Oceans Economy.
  • Whilst the NBES focuses on two industries, the focus of the Biodiversity Economy Delivery Lab was on three work streams, i.e. the Wildlife, Bio-prospecting/Biotrade and the Coastal & Marine Tourism. Overall, the Lab aspirations were concentrated on quantifiable targets which were centered on transformation, sustainability and economic growth. In the process, the respective work streams were able to prioritise issues that would move the three respective sectors forward within the next three years. Consequently, initiatives addressing each of the prioritized issues were developed and further unpacked in a “3-feet plan (a detailed, line by line implementation plan with assigned owners and timelines) consisting of the budget and legislative requirements to implement the identified initiatives.
  • Launch of the BioProducts Advancement Network South Africa (BioPANZA)

The BioProducts Advancement Network South Africa (BioPANZA) is a network of partnerships with the existing role players of the sector. The BioPANZA was conceptualised during the Biodiversity Economy Delivery Lab processes, which was aimed at developing a detailed implementation plan for the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy. The network was established to address the low levels of local value addition and product development, limited local and international awareness and difficulty of access to markets for products with Indigenous Biological Resources. Hence, the need to develop a coordinating and facilitating body to harness existing initiatives and address the innovation chasm. The network is envisaged to be co-chaired between the DEA and the DST; and hosted within the DEA.

  • Launch of the Honeybush Community of Practice

The Honeybush Community of Practice is an initiative that was conceptualised through the engagement between the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape where the species naturally occurs. The discussions to form this body were initiated and presented to a number of government platforms for further discussions and support. The Honeybush Community of Practice focuses on addressing various issues, i.e. on governance, legislation, sustainable utilisation and promotion of the Honeybush industry, socio-economic transformation, knowledge sharing and funding / incentive,faced by the broad Honeybush industry in South Africa. Currently, the body that operates within the Honeybush majorly focused on the commercialisation of the Honeybush. The CoP is currently chaired by the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairsand the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, and hosted by the Western Cape provinces. The CoP was officiated in November 2016, where the Terms of Reference was developed and adopted by the CoP members.




Previous events

DEA has in the past initiated programmes and events that sought to promote the sustainable utilisation of indigenous biological resources (plants and animals) with transformation being central, but none of them were pitched at the level and scale at which the third BEI is and this include:  The Hunting Indaba and the Bioprospecting, Access and Benefit Sharing Permits Celebration hosted in the year 2012 held in October 2010 at Khwa Ttu San Cultural and Education Centre in the Western Cape Province, and the subsequent event, on 27 July 2012, at Kommagas Community Hall in the Northern Cape Province. The first Hunting Indaba was held on 29 and 30 October 2012 at Sun City in the North West Province to create a platform for the various actors involved in the hunting industry to engage in a dialogue on the best practices of hunting, its role and contribution to conservation, transformation, rural development, community beneficiation, as well as its contribution to economic growth.

The First National Biodiversity Economy Indaba was held on the 11th and 12th November 2013 at Protea Hotel, the Ranch in the Limpopo Province. This event mainly focused on the Wildlife and Bioprospecting awareness and created platform for dialogue with the biodiversity economy sector.

Fast forward, the Second BEI was held during 2015 in Durban, KwaZulu Natal Province. The event was themed: ‘Biodiversity is good for Business, Business is good for Biodiversity’and was aimed at promoting the sustainable use of biological resources and raising awareness on how such resources can promote socio-economic development improving the livelihood of impoverished communities. 

Related content




Biodiversity Economy Strategy (BES)

Biodiversity Economy Strategy (BES) is required to guide the sustainable growth of the wildlife and bioprospecting industries and to provide a basis for addressing constraints to growth, ensuring sustainability, identifying clear stakeholder’s responsibilities and monitoring progress of the enabling actions. The purpose of BES is to provide a 14 year national coordination, leadership and guidance to the development and growth of the biodiversity economy.




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