The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs invites public comments on the norms and standards for biodiversity management plans for ecosystems
4 Jul 2012
The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa published for public comment under sections 9 and 43 of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004), the Norms and Standards for Biodiversity Management Plans (BMP) for Ecosystems in Gazette No. 35486 of 2 July 2012.
The National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004) provides for BMPs to be developed and published for an ecosystem, an indigenous species, or a migratory species. While the Act gives broad requirements for BMPs, it is not specific about the content or the process of developing a BMP. For these reasons, the Department, with the assistance of the South African National Biodiversity Institute, through a participatory process including scientists and stakeholders, has developed norms and standards for BMPs for Ecosystems (BMP-E).
The purpose of these norms and standards are to guide the development of BMPs for Ecosystems, providing a consistent approach to BMPs for Ecosystems across the country while being sufficiently flexible to accommodate the variability of ecosystems and their management requirements.
The norms and standards outline certain criteria for the development of BMP-E for which two filters are used, i.e. ecosystems of special concern (which include listed ecosystems and other ecosystems of special concern); and ecosystems for which management interventions can make a difference and for which a BMP-E is thus likely to be effective.
Since ecosystem boundaries are often inherently fuzzy, and there is no single correct delineation for most ecosystems, these norms and standards also provide guidance on how ecosystems should be delineated.
Normally the delineation of an ecosystem for a BMP-E will be determined primarily by where the management actions for that ecosystem need to take place (likely to be at the local scale rather than the landscape scale). However, it is proposed that large areas that are severely degraded or where natural habitat has been irreversibly lost must be excluded from the delineation of an ecosystem for the purpose of a BMP-E.
Any person, organisation or organ of state desiring to contribute to biodiversity management may submit a draft BMP to the Minister. A BMP-E must be developed for a minimum period of five years but may be developed for a longer period, subject to review every five years.
With regard to the content of a BMP-E, it must contain information relating to amongst others, the biodiversity significance of the ecosystem, a justification of why a BMP is warranted and the five-year management objectives which are related to long-term biodiversity objectives including indicators for assessing whether the management objectives are being met. It is also suggested that a brief monitoring report be drawn up at least annually to be made available as part of the five-year review process.
The process of developing and implementing a BMP-E follows eight phases: feasibility check; preparation phase; development phase; review of the draft plan; submission; approval and publication; implementation; monitoring and evaluation and the five-year review.
These norms and standards for BMP-E have been designed for terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and are therefore not intended for estuarine and marine ecosystems. They may however be suitable for some marine ecosystems.
Members of the public are invited to submit written comments to the Minister, within 30 days after publication of the notice in the Gazette. Written comments or inputs may be submitted to the following addresses:
By post to:
Department of Environmental Affairs
Attention: Wilma Lutsch
Private Bag X447
By hand at: 2nd Floor (Reception), Fedsure Forum Building, 315 Pretorius Street, Pretoria, 0001
By email: WLutsch@environment.gov.za
By Fax to: 012 320 7026
Comments received after the closing date may not be considered.
To access the Gazette, please click on the link below:
Cell: 083 490 2871
Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs
4 Jul 2012
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