South Africa hosts SADC ministers meeting in Pretoria

imageedit 2 4304533381South Africa has hosted the sectoral joint meeting of SADC ministers responsible for the development of environment and natural resources, fisheries and aquaculture as well as tourism from 20-24 November 2017 in Pretoria

The meeting comprised a three day senior officials meeting, followed by the ministerial meeting on 23–24 November 2017.

This meeting was hosted by the South African ministers of environmental affairs, agriculture, forestry and fisheries as well as tourism. More than 30 Ministers responsible for these sectors in the various SADC member states attended.

The meeting has focused on environment management, implementation of the SADC law enforcement and anti-poaching strategy, transfrontier conservation areas. In addition, the meeting has also reviewed current status of the wildlife, forestry, fisheries, aquaculture and tourism sectors in terms of implementation of regional projects, programmes and strategies.

Speaking about the role of natural resources for the development of the region, Dr Thembinkosi Mhlongo, deputy executive secretary for regional integration of SADC, said, “Biodiversity and ecosystems continue to play an important role in meeting the developmental objectives of our region. The biodiversity economy has grown in importance in recent years as it contributes significantly to the growth of gross domestic product and employment in all countries.”

“Similarly, the wildlife economy has become a fundamental economic activity and plays a key role in infrastructure building, competitiveness and trade facilitation,” Mhlongo added.

He noted that SADC need to play a meaningful role in the coordination and implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as well as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) ad etc.

“The development of common positions for these which are aligned to and bolster the African Common Positions will be key to obtaining outcomes from the global negotiations that are supportive of Africa and particularly SADC,” Mhlongo concluded.

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