The strategies outlined the National Climate Change Response Strategy for South Africa, 2004 are designed to address issues that have been identified as priorities for dealing with climate change in South Africa. The point of departure reflected in this strategy is achievement of national and sustainable development objectives, whilst simultaneously responding to climate change.
One of the objectives in the strategy is to offset South Africa’s vulnerability to climate change. The strategy identified plant and animal biodiversity as one of the areas of highest vulnerability to climate change, which needs to be targeted for climate change adaptation measures.
The National Protected Area Expansion Strategy for South Africa, 2016 (NPAES, 2016) presents a 20-year strategy for the expansion of protected areas in South Africa. NPAES, 2016 represents the first full revision of the National Protected Area Expansion Strategy for South Africa, 2008.
South Africa’s protected area network currently falls short of representing all ecosystems and maintaining ecological processes. In this context, the goal of the NPAES is to achieve cost effective protected area expansion for improved ecosystem representation, ecological sustainability and resilience to climate change.
It sets protected area targets, maps priority areas for protected area expansion, and makes recommendations on mechanisms to achieve this. The NPAES provides a common set of targets and spatial priorities to guide efforts and enable co-ordination among the many role players involved in protected area expansion. This is particularly important in the context of South Africa’s globally exceptional biodiversity richness on the one hand, and significant financial and human resource constraints on the other.
The National Botanical Garden Expansion Strategy 2019–2030 describes a strategy for the establishment, expansion and maintenance of a network of botanical gardens across South Africa until 2030, so as to align with the time frame prescribed for South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030.
The goal of this strategy is to raise awareness, contribute to education about biodiversity, and to support conservation by establishing, maintaining and expanding a representative network of botanical gardens with their associated biodiversity and ecological interactions, across South Africa.
This goal will be achieved through:
The National Development Plan 2030 (NDP) recognises as biodiversity and ecosystems in conservation areas as national assets. The maintenance of ecosystem services (such as those providing food and clean water, regulating climate and disease, supporting crop pollination and nutrient cycles, and delivering cultural benefits such as recreational opportunities) is fundamental to achieving South Africa’s social and economic development objectives.
The NDP states that long-term planning to promote biodiversity and the conservation and rehabilitation of natural assets is critical, and should be complemented by a strategy for assessing the environmental impact of new developments as an important component of overall development and spatial planning.
Where damage cannot be avoided or mitigated, and where the social and economic benefits justify the development, a commensurate investment in community development and the rehabilitation and conservation of biodiversity assets and ecosystem services is required.