Overcoming the Covid-19 Cash-strapped conundrum

By admin on Sep 16 in Local news, SAPFIA news.

Available at: https://www.fishingindustrynewssa.com/2020/09/09/overcoming-the-covid-19-cash-strapped-conundrum/  . [Accessed 14th September 2020].

A member of parliament recently asked what the South African Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries is doing about current levels of protection in parks looked after by the cash-strapped Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. This in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced all government departments to restructure their budgets.

The emergence of zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19 is related to environmental destruction which has led to a decline in global populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish.

Its an issue Minister Barbara Creecy of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, is well aware of. She admits that the impact of COVID-19 has strained the resources for the biodiversity and conservation sectors especially conservation management authorities who are feeling the pinch.

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Action taken

From a government perspective proactive action has been taken and includes:

  • The revival of a programme to investigate the rationalisation of the protected areas systems. This is related to a 2012 study entitled “Review of Institutional Arrangements for Management of Protected Areas”. Work, she said, is currently underway to review the recommendations for consideration over the coming year.
  • Setting up a Ministerial Task Team on Resource Mobilisation for biodiversity to raise funding to cushion against the impact of COVID-19. The team comprising of experts from varied backgrounds, will need to consider innovative approaches to sustained funding for the conservation sector. Initial work is focusing on emergency response but with a view to longer term sustainable funding mechanisms and models. The finance needs of each management authority have been prioritised and diverse investment sources are being considered.
  • Supporting an initiative with the non-governmental sector under the leadership of the IUCN and Endangered Wildlife Trust to support the post COVID-19 response and recovery in the biodiversity and conservation sector.
  • Pursuing options to enhance biodiversity scientific capacity and institutional arrangement for the scientific authority in line with Section 31 of the National Environment: Biodiversity Management Act (NEMBA). This will ensure evidence-based and targeted approaches to the management and monitoring of wildlife resources.Call to End Wildlife Markets. No Longer Plane Easy
  • Prioritising financial solutions to develop sustainable financing strategies for Protected Areas. This is through the Biodiversity Financial Initiative which is a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme.

Other details are available on the re-prioritised budget policy statement for the 2020/21 financial year which was detailed in the Department’s budget vote on 23 July.

Available at: https://www.fishingindustrynewssa.com/2020/09/09/overcoming-the-covid-19-cash-strapped-conundrum/  . [Accessed 14th September 2020].

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