|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.