Draft National Biodiversity Offsets Policy: South Africa

The Draft National Biodiversity Offset Policy has been published for public comment, the Department of Environmental Affairs said. The draft policy was published in Government Gazette 40733 (Notice No. 276), in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998) (NEMA). The aim of the National Biodiversity Offset Policy is to ensure that significant residual impacts of developments are remedied, as required by NEMA, thereby ensuring sustainable development takes place in line with the Constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to the health and well-being of all who live in South Africa, the department said. It also responds to the National Development Plan (NDP), which requires that South Africa’s ecosystems and natural resources are used efficiently. Habitat loss is recognised as the primary driver of biodiversity loss and biodiversity offsets are becoming an internationally accepted tool that can be used to ensure that development is ecologically sustainable by enhancing the conservation and sustainable use of priority ecosystems and fragile biodiversity-rich areas not under formal protection.