South Africa welcomes the outcomes of the Convention on Biological Diversity held in Japan

31 October 2010

South Africa welcomes the outcomes of the tenth meeting of the Conference of Parties on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that was held in Nagoya, Japan from 18 to 29 October 2010.

The CBD, one of the three Rio Conventions, was established with the objective of conserving biological diversity, sustainable use of its components and ensuring the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of utilisation of genetic resources and traditional knowledge.

The convention adopted the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing that will give effect to the development of a global legally binding regime allowing for a fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.

The protocol shall provide a legal framework to ensure that biodiversity-rich countries get a fair and equitable share of benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources from their territories - and these biodiversity-poor developed countries can readily access these resources with the agreements of the host countries. The Nagoya Protocol is expected to enter into force by 2012, with support from the Global Environment Facility of one million United States dollars to support early entry into force.

“The adoption of this Protocol is a major milestone for the developing countries as it will prevent unauthorised access and use of genetic resources that resulted in biopiracy whilst also creating an enabling environment that will assist developing but biodiversity-rich countries to develop their country-specific legal frameworks in synch with the global protocol,” said Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi.

South Africa’s participation was led by the Department of Environmental Affairs with the delegation comprising of senior government officials within the environmental sector from national departments, provincial departments and conservation authorities. Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi attended the High Level Segment that was aimed at mobilising the political will as well as showing commitments and delivering strong messages from the high level representatives towards the implementation of comprehensive and robust measures for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Countries also adopted a new strategy, Strategic Plan 2011 to 2020, to guide a global biodiversity programme of Work for the next decade which provides the framework for countries to develop their countries specific programme of action to ensure that nature as a common heritage continues to provide the services essential to human well being such as water, energy, food, medicine and clean air.

The strategy is also a major milestone following failure by countries of the world in the last decade to halt biodiversity loss as was set in the 2002 to 2010.

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