Action plan drafted at Biodiversity Economy and Investment Indaba

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy. Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy. Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 8, 2024


The recent Biodiversity Economy and Investment Indaba, chaired by Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy, culminated in a significant milestone as stakeholders collaboratively crafted a programme of action to propel the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy (NBES) forward.

“We have been working hard during the sixth administration to provide policy certainty and a strong policy base for biodiversity conservation, sustainable use, and equitable growth in the biodiversity economy,” Creecy said in her opening address.

Speaking on the White Paper on Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biodiversity, Creecy said that the paper provides the vision of “an inclusive, transformed society living in harmony with nature, where biodiversity conservation and sustainable use ensure healthy ecosystems, with improved benefits that are fairly and equitably shared for present and future generations”.

Key interventions identified at the conference include securing financial support, accessing land for biodiversity projects, enhancing human capital development, fostering scientific research and facilitating market access for biodiversity products.

In her closing statement, the minister implored the necessity of an inclusive biodiversity economy that caters to both non-consumptive and consumptive uses while promoting conservation and sustainable practices.

A notable outcome of the indaba was the proposal to establish a "one-stop shop" to simplify stakeholders' access to support mechanisms such as training, financing, land, investors, and markets.

This integrated approach aims to alleviate bureaucratic hurdles and enhance efficiency in obtaining assistance from government and non-governmental organisations.

Commitments were also made to collaborate on research and documentation of the biodiversity landscape to facilitate informed decision-making with additional efforts will be directed towards enhancing the project pipeline and organising additional bidding sessions to attract potential funders and investors.

Stakeholder comment submissions for the NBES closed for review on March 29. The Department stated that all submissions will be meticulously assessed and a comprehensive comments and response report (CRR) compiled.