International free trade and biodiversity conservation : towards 'sustainable trade'
Du Plessis, Alida Anél
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This dissertation examines the current state of South African legislation addressing biodiversity and international trade therein. Some international and domestic legal instruments promote free trade (including free trade of biodiversity resources), while environmental legal instruments promote the conservation of biodiversity and strictly controlled bioprospecting, including trade in biodiversity resources. This international conflict may influence the global and national strive for sustainable development. Currently there is no uniform national policy that regulates or control international trade expansion in South Africa's biodiversity resources. The new National Environment Management Biodiversity Bill (hereafter the Biodiversity Bill), addresses several components of biodiversity conservation on national level, but no protection of biodiversity resources within a framework of sustainable trade is provided for. This dissertation discusses the state of biodiversity in South Africa, the national expansion of trade in these resources and several national and international legal obligations, in order to prove why the above lacuna may be inhibiting sustainable trade of biodiversity resources in South Africa. The international obligations of South Africa with regard to international trade and biodiversity conservation, correspond with those of Australia. This dissertation accordingly recommends that, with regard to the legislative developments in Australia and with the existing South African framework policies such as the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998, the Environment Conservation Act 73 of 1989 and the Biodiversity Bill as basis, the national legislature should strongly consider the enactment of a comprehensive national policy that will render sustainable trade in biodiversity resources in South Africa.
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