“This is more so in the context of South Africa, where policies of the past were exclusionary, thus depriving the majority of our people from actively participating in sectors of the economy,” Molewa said.
Addressing the third Biodiversity Economy Indaba (BEI) at the International Convention Centre in East London, Eastern Cape, she said it can’t be justified that the custodians of the genetic resources and equally the holders of traditional knowledge are treated as non-equals in the beneficiation of their resources.
Molewa said government has, in response to this anomaly, developed and implemented the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy, which aims to promote a new generation of partnerships between communities, industry and the public sector. Molewa said this was done to realise the access, fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of biological resources.
“In order to ensure a coherent approach in the implementation of this strategy, detailed plans at a three-feet level were developed through the Operation Phakisa Model, organised in the form of the Biodiversity Economy Lab.
“This was an intense process which focused on identifying quantifiable targets centred on transformation, sustainability and economic growth, as well as the associated initiatives meant to deliver big fast results for the bio-prospecting, wildlife, and coastal and marine tourism subsectors,” she said.
Molewa said the country’s efforts in the bio-prospecting industry should create a sustainable, inclusive and commercially viable sector adding 10,000 new jobs and contributing R1.7bn to GDP at 10% per annum by 2030. In recent years, the biodiversity economy, which is an important contributor to job creation, has shown a constant annual growth of 6%.
The South African bio-prospecting sector encompasses organisations and people that are searching or collecting, harvesting and extracting living or dead indigenous specimens, or derivatives and genetic material for commercial and industrial purposes.
The third BEI Indaba brings together multiple and diverse stakeholders in the biodiversity economy, including the hunting and game farm sectors and the bioprospecting, natural products and biotrade industries.
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