Important South Africa-France partnership for biodiversity and marine conservation started

Friday 1 March 2024  saw the official launch of the activities for a crucial partnership for biodiversity assessment and marine protected area management between South Africa and France. Financed by the AFD (Agence Française de Développement – the French Development Agency), the partnership will see three key institutions in this sector collaborating together by exchanging knowledge and building capacity.

The Office Français de la Biodiversité (OFB – French Biodiversity Agency) is the French institution with a similar mandate to both the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the South African National Parks (SANParks). Like SANBI, the OFB reports on the conservation status of biodiversity and makes biodiversity information available to regulators, policy makers and managers.

Like SANParks, the OFB supports the management of France’s protected areas – including marine protected areas. This three-way partnership will establish technical exchanges and also facilitate broader engagements with other biodiversity agencies at international events such as the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity or World Conservation Congress.

On the SANBI side, the partnership will enable specific learning exchanges between French and South African experts on EDGE species (species that are both evolutionary distinct and globally endangered), key indicators on biodiversity and online dashboards, red listing of both species and ecosystems, and other key work being covered by the SBAPP Regional Project, also funded by AFD.

SANBI’s Directorate: Biodiversity Assessment is leading on the partnership, and other SANBI Directorates will be involved in the exchange opportunities. SANBI’s Dr Theressa Frantz (Chief Director: Biodiversity Research, Assessment and Monitoring) and Dr Farai Tererai (Director: Biodiversity Assessment) are members of the steering committee for the partnership, with day-to-day management of the partnership provided by Carol Poole and Sharndre Heuvel.

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