SOUTH AFRICA AND THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM CONCLUDE FRUITFUL DISCUSSIONS ON BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT
South Africa and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam concluded fruitful discussions in Pretoria on 28 March 2014 on issues related to biodiversity conservation and management.
The commitment to improving cooperation on biodiversity conservation especially controlling the illicit trade and poaching of wildlife, including rhino, has formed an important part of the working visit to South Africa by a high level delegation from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
The 20-member delegation to South Africa was headed by the Vice Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Associate Prof Dr Bùi Cách Tuyến. The visit to South Africa follows after the signing on 6 May 2013 of an Implementation Plan in terms of the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of Biodiversity Conservation and Protection that was signed in Hanoi, Vietnam, in December 2012.
The action plan was developed, and is being implemented, in accordance with the nature of the MoU. It is aimed at promoting cooperation between the Parties in the field of biodiversity management, conservation and protection, law enforcement, compliance with CITES, technology transfer, and other relevant legislation and international Conventions on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
The working visit comprised a visit to Cape Town’s table mountain, a three-day workshop in Pretoria and a visit to the Kruger National Park.
The visit took place in a week when the number of rhino poached in South Africa increased to 233 since January 1, 2014. A total of 144 rhino have been poached in the Kruger National Park, 32 in North West, 21 in Limpopo and 16 in KwaZulu-Natal. Fifty-four alleged poachers have been arrested.
Officials from the Departments of Environmental Affairs, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, SANParks and the South African Police Service briefed the delegation on subjects including:
- The implementation of biodiversity management legislation in South Africa;
- Curbing poaching and the illegal wildlife trade;
- Biodiversity management and the sustainable utilisation of resources;
- Lessons learnt on existing financing mechanisms and offsets in terms of biodiversity monitoring;
- Wildlife and protected area management, biodiversity conservation and management experiences;
- Forest management; and
- Enforcement-related matters.
Following the robust discussions, agreement was reached to advance the implementation of the Action Plan and to assist South Africa in meeting its international obligations.
Whilst it was noted that rhino poaching across South Africa and Africa has risen sharply in the past few years and has threatened to reverse the hard-won progress achieved by conservation authorities during the 20th Century, South Africa acknowledges and values the contribution and effort by Vietnam in the fight against Rhino poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife and its products.
“This resonates well with the purpose of the visit to South Africa which is to learn more about South African biodiversity conservation and management with specific focus on wildlife and protected areas management, the team’s specific intention for the visit is to strengthen cooperation among the two countries in controlling illegal wildlife trade including endangered species trade such as rhino in the context of the signed MOU on cooperation in the field of Biodiversity Conservation and Protection between the two countries through sharing of experiences, information, best practices and lessons learnt,” said the Director-General of Environmental Affairs, Ms Nosipho Ngcaba.
During the discussions, actions directed at specific areas of intervention were vigorously deliberated and agreed upon in order to address this problem. More....