SA enviro minister cracks down on climate change

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 2 October 2019

‘South Africa is one of the world’s top three mega-biodiverse nations, along with Brazil and Indonesia. We are thus one of the richest countries in terms of the diversity of plants and animals (marine and terrestrial) and levels of endemism,’ said Barbara Creecy, Minister of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries in her keynote address at the 10th Oppenheimer Research Conference in Gauteng.

Following her return from the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 23 September, Creecy addressed researchers and conservationists gathered to network, share insights and attend workshops in the fields of the natural and environmental sciences. This year’s conference focuses on Advancing Conservation Consciousness, and kicked off yesterday on Tuesday 1 October in Midrand.

Also read: South Africans want half the Earth set aside for nature

‘An understanding of “conservation consciousness” among ordinary South Africans is essential if we are to measure how effective any of our consciousness-raising efforts have been, or will be,’ Creecy said.

Citing results from the 2018 Afrobarometer, Creecy alluded to stats indicating that the majority of South Africans don’t know what climate change is, and that rural residents and citizens with little-to-no formal education were naturally the least informed on the matter.

‘How do we ensure that scientists are not only talking to scientists?’ Creecy said at the conference, proposing that research should be more digestible and accessible. The environmental minister also celebrated the recent openings of SA’s 20 new Marine Protected Areas. ‘Unlike many of our game parks, these ocean parks have been identified scientifically and provide protection to an impressive 90% of our marine habitat types,’ Creecy pointed out.


SA’s rich biodiversity

Creecy cited benefits such as economic, social and spiritual wellbeing as a result of the country’s rich biodiversity, emphasising the need to preserve it.

Tomorrow, Thursday 3 October, the minister will launch SA’s third, newly-released National Biodiversity Assessment (NBA 2018), which assesses conservation performance and reports on the status of biodiversity in South Africa.

SA gets three new Marine Protected Areas

Featured image: Scott Ramsay

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