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NEMA: Biodiversity Act

The Biodiversity Act encourages the sustainable use of natural and indigenous resources and provides for the management and conservation of South Africa’s biodiversity through the protection of species, natural environments and ecosystems, while promoting the sustainable use of indigenous biological resources. The Act enforces ratified international agreements relating to biodiversity which are binding on South Africa and provides for the South African National Biodiversity Institute to assist in achieving the objectives of the Act.

National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act

Act No. 10 of 2004

To provide for the management and conservation of South Africa’s biodiversity within the framework of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998; the protection of species and ecosystems that warrant national protection; the sustainable use of indigenous biological resources; the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from bioprospecting involving indigenous biological resources; the establishment and functions of a South African National Biodiversity Institute; and for matters connected therewith.

The purpose of this Act is:

to, under the National Environmental Act; conserve and manage biological diversity within the Republic; use indigenous biological resources in a sustainable manner; and ensure equitable sharing of indigenous biological resources among stakeholders benefiting from bioprospecting.

to give effect to ratified international agreements relating to biodiversity which are binding on the Republic;

to provide for co-operative governance in biodiversity management and conservation; and

to provide for a South African National Biodiversity Institute to assist in achieving the objectives of this Act.

Chapters of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act:

Chapter 1: Interpretation, Objectives and Application of Act

Objectives of Act
State’s trusteeship of biological diversity
Application of Act
Application of international agreements
Application of other biodiversity legislation
National environmental management principles
Conflicts with other legislation
Norms and standards

Chapter 2: South African Biodiversity Institute

Establishment, powers and duties of Institute
Governing board, composition and membersh
Operating procedures of Board
Administration of Institute
Financial matters
National botanical garden

Chapter 3: Biodiversity Planning and Monitoring

Biodiversity planning
Co-ordination and alignment of plans, monitoring and research

Chapter 4: Threatened or Protected Ecosystems and Species

Protection of threatened or protected ecosystem
Protection of threatened or protected specie
Trade in listed threatened or protected species
General provision

Chapter 5: Species and Organisms posing potential threats to Biodiversity

Alien species
Invasive species
Other threats
General provisions

Chapter 6: Bioprospecting, Access and Benefit-Sharing

Bioprospecting involving indigenous biological resources
Benefit-sharing agreements
Export of listed indigenous biological resources
Material transfer agreements
Establishment of Bioprospecting Trust Fund

Chapter 7: Permits

Permit system

Chapter 8: Administraton of Act

Consultation proces

Chapter 9: Offences and Penalties


Chapter 10: Miscellaneous

Repeal of Act 122 of 1984
Existing bioprospecting projects
Short title and commencement

Shark Biodiversity Management Plan

25 March 2015

"The purpose of the SBMP is to achieve and maintain a favourable conservation status for resident and migratory sharks within South African waters, taking into account the socio-economic and other values of these species, based on the best available scientific information. The SBMP would be the mechanism whereby this effort can be coordinated, directed and implemented on a national and international scale to the benefit of sharks and their habitats. The SBMP would also identify species and areas where additional interventions would be necessary to address threats to populations. The SBMP will be implemented in conjunction with, and takes cognizance of, the National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPOA), that has been developed by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and which focuses on shark fisheries management..."

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Additional Information

Alien and Invasive Species Regulations

NEMA Biodiversity Act (2014)

Marine Alien & Invsive Species

SANBI 2014

The Revised National list of Ecosystems that are Threatened and in need of Protection was updated using the updated IUCN Red List of Ecosystems framework. It covers 458 terrestial ecosystem types descibed in South Africa. The list identifies 120 threatened ecosystem types, of which 55 are Critically Endangered, 51 Endangered and 14 are Vulnerable.