The board of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi) has appointed Shonisani Munzhedzi as CEO of the organisation.
An entity of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Sanbi contributes to South Africa’s sustainable development by facilitating access to biodiversity data, generating information and knowledge, building capacity, providing policy advice, showcasing and conserving biodiversity in its national botanical and zoological gardens.
Munzhedzi’s appointment comes amid the public consultation into the Revised National Biodiversity Framework 2019 to 2024, which is an important policy instrument for the management and protection of species and ecosystems. Sanbi is closely involved in the preparation of the National Biodiversity Framework, and a bioregional plan or biodiversity management plans.
More than 26 years of public service
Munzhedzi most recently served as deputy director general: biodiversity and conservation in the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment. He has served in numerous environment and conservation portfolios in his more than 26 years of experience in public service. This has included serving the Department in areas of Climate Change Adaptation, Conservation and Biodiversity Management.
Munzhedzi served as the senior general manager responsible for environment and tourism in the Limpopo Province responsible for a strategic management of a package of environment and tourism disciplines of conservation, protected areas management, waste management, scientific services, integrated environmental management, environmental impact management, enforcement and compliance, regulatory services and tourism planning.
While working for the City of Johannesburg, he served in the Joburg City Parks as a general manager for environment, conservation and development, and then as director of natural resources management in the city.
He holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management, specialising in Conservation Management (UFS) and Master's in Business Leadership from Unisa.
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Lead negotiator on multilateral environmental agreements
He serves on the boards of the South Africa National Parks (SANParks), the African World Heritage Fund and the South African Wildlife College. Munzhedzi also served as a country lead negotiator on a number of multilateral environmental agreements and represented the country in, among others, the United Nations Convention of Biodiversity (UNCBD), UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He was instrumental in the establishment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). He represented the country on co-operative biodiversity and wildlife platforms of the SADC.