19 October 2012

South Africa was elected to chair the Group of Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries (LMMC) at a meeting in India this week, the Department of Environmental Affairs said on Friday, 19 October 2012.

The LMMC represents countries that contain the majority of Earth's species and are therefore considered extremely biologically diverse.

The group of countries represents less than 10 percent of the global surface, but supports more than 70 percent of the biological diversity on Earth.

The election of South Africa, on Thursday, took place on the margins of the 12th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The position holds for two years until the next meeting of the Conference of Parties to be held in Korea in 2014.

The group was established in 2002 in Cancun, Mexico as a consultation and co-operation mechanism to promote the parties' common interests and priorities related to conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

Conservation International identified 17 megadiverse countries in 1998, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs.

The 17 members of the LMMC are: Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, and Venezuela.

South Africa ranks third in biological diversity, after Brazil and Indonesia.

Accepting the nomination, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa urged the LMMC Group to heighten co-operation among parties, in particular in respect of the ratification and implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and resource mobilization to facilitate revision and implementation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans.

The Nagoya Protocol, adopted on October 29, 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, will enter into force 90 days after the fiftieth instrument of ratification.

According to the Convention on Biological Diversity's website, its objective is "the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity".

The Department of Environmental Affairs said South Africa had also committed to host a workshop in 2013 to develop a roadmap for the group until 2020.

Source : Sapa

Date : 19 October 2012