Biodiversity stakeholders draft action plan

KEY MILESTONE … The SADC Regional Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan will help SADC member states address the main drivers of biodiversity loss. Photo: Absalom Shigwedha

More than 80 representatives from Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states, the environment and agriculture sectors, development partners and the private sector met in Cape Town, South Africa, this week to review and validate the draft SADC Regional Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (SADC BSAP).

According to the workshop report, the SADC BSAP offers the opportunity to address the main drivers of biodiversity loss, such as over-utilisation and inappropriate use of external inputs in agriculture and climate change, to benefit of the people of southern Africa.

In addition, the document will also guide the review and update of National Biodiversity Strategies and Actions Plans, which are critical for the SADC member states to meet their obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity and other related Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs).

It was developed with technical and financial support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), under the European Union funded Capacity Building Related to MEAs in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries Phase 3 (ACP-MEAs 3) project.

The workshop, held from 8 to 10 April, was organised by the FAO in collaboration with the SADC Secretariat.

Biodiversity initiatives in the region are guided by the first SADC Regional Biodiversity Strategy of 2008 and the 2010 SADC Regional Action Plan.

The reviewed SADC BSAP will cover a 10-year period (2025-2035) and will be aligned with the African Union’s Biodiversity strategy and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

In his opening remarks, Aristofanes Pontes from Angola (the current SADC chair) said the validation workshop is a key milestone in implementing the whole of society approach that is envisaged in the Global Biodiversity Framework.”

FAO ACP MEAs 3 global coordinator KimAnh Tempelman said the SADC BSAP will be crucial for the integration of biodiversity in agriculture and for accelerating the transformation of agrifood systems to make them more inclusive, resilient and sustainable.

SADC senior programme officer for the Environment and Climate Unit Sibongile Mavimbela said she was delighted that the process of reviewing the SADC BSAP was finally coming to a close, following a review process of more than two years.

She said she was positive that SADC member states were now ready for implementation after a long journey which saw a series of consultations with member states, Convention on Biological Diversity focal points and agriculture biodiversity focal points, biodiversity stakeholders and more.

Out of all the strategies that were developed under the guidance of the SADC Secretariat, this one had been the most inclusive and rigorous, resulting in a high-quality product, Mavimbela added.

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