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Regional Law Regime



Regional law plays an especially useful role in transboundary management of common water resources. Watercourses often traverse the political boundaries between countries. Therefore, South Africa has to work with other countries to appropriately secure and properly manage important river systems in the SADC region or on the African continent more generally, since those water resources need to function properly to sustain South Africa's water supply in the long term. Agreements at a SADC regional scale may be entered into with a view to managing shared water resources in a sustainable way. The 1995 Protocol on Shared Watercourse Systems in the Southern African Development Community Region is an example of such an arrangement.


African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).


African Model Legislation for the Recognition and Protection of the Rights of Local Communities, Farmers and Breeders, and for the Regulation of Access to Biological Resources. It seeks to “recognise, protect and support the inalienable rights of local communities including farming communities over their biological resources and crop varieties, knowledge and technologies.”

Revised African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. It provides a comprehensive account of issues that relate to biodiversity, including:

  • Protected area declarations
  • The protection and utilisation of fauna and flora
  • The listing of threatened species
  • The regulation of trade in species


Draft Revised African Model Law on Biosafety is “to contribute to ensuring an adequate level of protection in the making, safe transfer, handling and use of genetically modified organisms and products of genetically modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.” It also seeks to enable countries that are members of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to implement the provisions of the Protocol at the national level.


Protocol on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement, which is a protocol linked to the SADC Treaty. The protocol had force and effect as of 2003.  Various aspects of biodiversity are regulated by the protocol, including:

  • Conservation and sustainable utilisation of natural resources
  • Information exchange and co-operation
  • Transboundary enforcement
  • Establishment of trans-frontier conservation areas
  • Community-based natural resource management

Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the East African Region (the Nairobi Convention) was adopted, along with its protocol, by the majority of the East African countries. The Nairobi Convention and the protocol (Protocol Concerning Protected Areas and Wild Fauna and Flora in the Eastern African Region) was developed in 1985 under the UNEP’s Regional Sea Programme.

  • Alien invasive species
  • Protected areas
  • Migratory species
  • Environmental education
  • Information exchange
The overarching vision of the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy (2050 AIM Strategy) is to foster increased wealth creation from Africa’s oceans and seas by developing a sustainable thriving blue economy in a secure and environmentally sustainable manner.