Biodiversity in South Africa is receiving a much-needed boost.
As per News24, a bipartite agreement has been signed as of yesterday, Sunday 30 May. The agreement outlines a partnership between South Africa and France which aims to spearhead environmental diplomatic measures for both countries.
The partnership aims to preserve the biodiversity of both the countries with a focus on France’s Réunion Island National Parks and Table Mountain National Park. It was signed by Agence Fraçaise de Développement and South African National Parks (SANParks).
The French funding has provisioned for roughly R31 million to be provisioned toward the partnership. Roughly R20 million will be allocated to SANParks. According to SANParks CEO Dr. Luthando Dziba the partnership aims to:
- focus on territory-to-territory co-operation between the two parks
- Develop strategic plans and sharing tools for invasive species management
- Focus on vulnerable species management as well as fire management
- Climate change preparation and training
- Contribute expertise and collaborate on improving park management
- Mobilise partner research bodies including the University of Réunion, Cirad and the University of Cape Town.
Table Mountain National Park was selected as the main project partner (as per IOL) largely because of the 25 000 hectares of natural area that it encompasses. Like Réunion Island National Park, Table Mountain faces similar challenges in terms of management and the conservation of ecosystems. As both parks are situated in primarily urban settings, they are exposed to numerous threats to the fauna and flora. Additionally, the high volume of tourists is also a factor that challenges these ecosystems
Biodiversity conservation is a huge priority for France. France is set to host the World Conservation Congress in 2021.
South Africa’s Global Environmental Politics is also a key field for South African diplomatic focus. Some of our hallmark presences in Global Environmental Politics have been hosting COP17 (17th session of the Conference of Parties) being a signatory of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.
South Africa is the third most mega biodiverse country in the world, with unique species and ecosystems found nowhere else on earth. in terms of biodiversity, we are a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Additionally, as a country, we have a Biodiversity Economy Strategy in place that intertwines job creation with sustainable management of biodiversity.
This partnership is incredibly important in terms of conserving one of our biggest tourist attractions, as well as spurring biodiversity conservation in our country.