The most recent meeting of the Technical Committee on Environment of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), 5-7 August 2015, Pretoria, South Africa, offered an important opportunity for the presentation of the SADC Guidelines for Mainstreaming Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Extractive Industry. The Guidelines, which are the first of their kind at the regional level, will facilitate the strategic and operational mainstreaming of biodiversity considerations into the development of extractive industries in the region.
Supported through the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme in this region, the SADC Guidelines for Mainstreaming Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Extractive Industry was developed in line with one of the key actions in the SADC Biodiversity Action Plan, to “develop guidelines on the exploitation of natural resources such as minerals in reserves or protected areas”.
A framework for the content of the guideline was drawn up by consensus at a SADC regional workshop convened in September 2014 in collaboration with IUCN through BIOPAMA, a programme that focuses its capacity development efforts in this region around supporting cross-sectoral dialogue to improve decision-making for protected areas and biodiversity. This framework, coupled with global and regional best practice information, guided the development of these guidelines that were recently introduced to the SADC Technical Committee on Environment.
The main audiences for the guidelines are governments and the private sector as the key actors, but it is intended to also support civil society, communities and other stakeholders to better understand the development processes and identify intervention points where they might be able to engage in the process.
The guidelines will be further presented for endorsement to the SADC Ministers for Environment, who will meet in October 2015.