SA signs global biodiversity protocol

South Africa has become the 12th country globally, and the first in 2013, to ratify the international Nagoya Protocol to protect the country's biological diversity and associated traditional knowledge.

The protocol is a legally binding agreement which sets out how countries can access each other's resources and how the benefits should be shared.

It also "provides for measures to regulate and facilitate access to and the utilisation of the indigenous fauna and flora of a country, as well as their associated traditional knowledge," the Department of Environmental Affairs said in a statement on Sunday.

When South Africa ratified the protocol on 10 January, it joined countries like Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, India, Mauritius, Mexico, Panama, Rwanda and the Seychelles in regulating the use of its resources and associated knowledge.

"It is indeed a pleasure for South Africa to be counted among the first 50 countries that will contribute to the early entry into force of the protocol," said Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

The protocol forms part of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which South Africa became party to in 1995. "I am pleased to congratulate South Africa, the first mega-diverse country in Africa to ratify the Nagoya Protocol," said executive secretary to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias.

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The international Nagoya Protocol sounds good and if abided by will probably become a necessity, especially regarding water, in the years ahead.

However with a burgeoning population world-wide, every country is going to find it very difficult to maintain a balance between what man needs to survive, compared to what industry and agriculture need to sustain population growth and what nature needs.

How much will be destroyed as mankind pushes further and further into Nature's quiet places, not only to live, but to mine as well? Fracking in the Karoo is a good example of what our government will do to acquire more wealth; the ANC and Shell together will destroy the water reserves beneath an already arid, but beautiful landscape.

I fear that:   

"Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer.  Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.
Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya, 1897

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