The third Biodiversity Economy Indaba (BEI) has ended with pledges by stakeholders in the wildlife, bio-trade and eco-tourism sectors to ensure greater inclusivity and transformation.
Recently held under the theme ‘Entrepreneurs meet investors for a thriving and inclusive biodiversity economy’, the indaba was also an opportunity for stakeholders to propel discussions on growing the sector’s enormous economic potential, especially for rural communities.
Environmental Affairs Minister, Dr Edna Molewa, said previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs), who are participants in the sector, must be supported to use their indigenous knowledge to open and introduce new products in the bio-prospecting sector of the biodiversity economy.
Transformation of the biodiversity economy sectors and inclusion of PDIs in the sector were adopted as key outcomes of the three-day indaba, which was attended by more than 800 national and international delegates.
“This is more so in the context of South Africa, where policies of the past were exclusionary, thus depriving the majority of our people from actively participating in sectors of the economy.
“It can’t be justified that the custodians of the genetic resources and equally the holders of the traditional knowledge, are treated as non-equals in the beneficiation of their resources,” Minister Molewa said.
In recent years, the biodiversity economy, which is an important contributor to job creation and rural development, has shown a constant annual growth of 6%. – SAnews.gov.za