Biodiversity and Conservation

Purpose and functions
Structure and contact details
Related projects / programmes categories
Policy and legislation
Related events with media products



A safe, healthy and sustainably managed environmental and natural resource base provides critical eco-system services that are a foundation for economic and social development. 

Our rich species, ecosystems and natural heritage which form the very foundation of our economy and society, providing eco-system services such as food security, clean and secure water provision, flood attenuation, biomass energy and building material as well as a resource base for the sustainable development and growth of the tourism, bio-technology, pharmaceutical, bioenergy, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and indigenous knowledge based sectors of the economy are threatened by growing human population and their increasing demands on the environment, climate change and invasive alien species amongst others.

The focus of the biodiversity and conservation programme is on the regulation and management of all biodiversity, heritage and conservation matters in a manner that ensures equitable and sustainable use, conservation, management and, where necessary, the restoration of this resource base as well as to mitigate threats to them as a basis for sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development facilitates sustainable economic growth and development.

Biodiversity richness is one of South Africa’s important natural assets as it provides goods and services which are vital for human well-being. The department is mandated to ensure the equitable and sustainable use, conservation, management and, where necessary, the restoration of this resource base as well as to mitigate threats to them as a basis for sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development.


Purpose and functions


Establishment, management and maintenance of ecologically representative national and cross-border systems of protected areas to advance the heritage of humankind as well as contribute to the three objectives of the CBD and Millennium Development Goals.


  • Establishment, development and management of comprehensive, ecologically representative and effectively managed regional network of transfrontier conservation areas
  • Establishment, development and safeguarding of the integrity of World Heritage Sites as well as implementation of world Heritage Convention in South Africa
  • Strengthen governance of the protected areas system in South Africa in line with national imperatives and international obligations
  • Establishment and development of a comprehensive and ecologically representative national network of protected areas that safeguards key ecological processes across the landscape and provides resilience against climate change
  • Development and implementation of policy and legislation relating to and monitoring performance of protected areas
  • Manage strategic, administration, logistical and financial support to the Chief Directorate.


Structure and contact details


Deputy Director-General Biodiversity and Conservation: Ms Mohlago Flora Mokgohloa
Chief Director Ms Skumza Mancotywa
Telephone: +27   
E-mail: Mail Ms Mokgohloa  

Chief Directorate: Biodiversity Management and Permitting:
Ms Skumsa Ntshanga

Chief Directorate: Protected Areas Systems Management:
Mr Sydney Nkosi

Acting Chief Directorate: Biodiversity Monitoring Specialist Services: Dr Tsepang Makholela


Chief Directorate: Biodiversity Economy and Sustainable Use: Mr Khorommbi Matibe


Chief Director Ms Skumza Mancotywa
Tel: +27 12 399 9514       Tel: +27 12 399 8621  
  Mail Ms Ntshanga
Mail Mr Nkosi Mail Mr Makholela   Mail Mr Matibe  


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Related projects and programmes categories



Project Overview

The South African Government, through the National Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme-Country Office, are implementing the Global Environment Facility (GEF) 6 funded project, which is aligned to achieving the objectives of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, and the draft National Biodiversity Economy Strategy (NBES).

The objective of the UNDP/GEF 6 Project is to strengthen the value chains for products derived from indigenous plants’ genetic resources with a view to contributing to the equitable sharing of benefits and conservation of biodiversity. The outcome of the project contributes to the following sustainable development goals:


The project objective has been proposed to be achieved via three technical project outcomes and one dissemination of project lessons outcome.





Rhino Dialogues South Africa

Rhino Dialogues consist of the views of organisations and individuals with an interest and stake in the sustainable conservation of the rhino population in South Africa. The aim of these dialogues is solicit well-considered views on how best to secure the protection, safety and sustainable conservation of the rhinos in the country.





Working for Wetlands

Combining environmental and social outcomes, Working for Wetlands weaves together the wise use of wetlands with employment creation and poverty alleviation. Using the rehabilitation of wetlands as a vehicle to achieve these outcomes, the programme follows an approach that centres on cooperative government and partnership creation with landowners, communities, civil society and the private sector.





Working for Land

Working for Land is an essential programme of the Natural Resource Management Programmes (NRMP). The key objective of the programme is to ensure that degraded ecosystems are restored to their formal or original state wherein they are able to maintain or support the natural species of that system.





Biomass Energy

The Concept of Biomass to Energy is still at its infancy in South Africa but holds promise for the future sustainable development.  Biomass is generally regarded as any carbon based material such as animal (including human) waste, plant material, food waste, algae, industrial waste such as reclaimed woody material such as planks, etc.  which when processed can produce organic fuels





Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

The South African Government through its Department of Environmental Affairs is committed to evidence based decision making through strengthening the science policy interface South Africa has supported the establishment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The objective is to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human wellbeing, and sustainable development.





Man and the Biosphere Reserves (MAB) Programme

The MAB Programme was launched in the early 1970s, and was substantially revised in 1995 with the adoption by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) General Conference of the Seville Strategy and the Statutory Framework of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). The MAB Programme proposes an interdisciplinary research agenda and capacity building initiative aiming to improve the relationship of people with their environment globally.




Policy and legislation


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Related events


People and Parks Conference

The People and Parks conference was inspired by the World Parks Congress which emphasised the need to consider communities as key stakeholders in parks management. The conference also includes the Kids in Parks programme which is an environmental education initiative that seeks to enhance access for learners and teachers to South African national parks. 

2014 conference  •  2012 conference



International Day for Biological Diversity

The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. When first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in late 1993, 29 December (the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity), was designated The IDB. In December 2000, the UNGA adopted 22 May as IDB, to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

2014 commemoration2013 commemoration • 2012 commemoration



World Rhino Day

World Rhino Day is on September 22 and celebrates all five species of rhino: black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos. World Rhino Day was first announced by WWF-South Africa in 2010. The following year, World Rhino Day grew into an international success, encompassing both African and Asian rhino species.

2014 commemoration2013 commemoration 2012 commemoration




World Wildlife Day

On 20 December 2013, the Sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) decided to proclaim 3 March, the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as World Wildlife Day. This day provides the ideal opportunity to, inter alia; celebrate the varied forms of wild fauna and flora; recall the privileged interactions between wildlife and populations across the globe, and raise awareness of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime.

2014 commemoration




World Ranger Day

World Ranger Day commemorates rangers killed or injured in the line of duty, and celebrates the work rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures. World Ranger Day is observed annually on the 31st of July, and is promoted by the 63 member associations of the International Ranger Federation (IRF), by the IRF partner the Thin Green Line Foundation, and by individuals who support the work of rangers and the IRF. The first World Ranger Day was observed in 2007 on the 15th anniversary of the founding of the IRF.

2014 commemoration




World Migratory Bird Day

Launched in 2006 - World Migratory Bird Day is an annually celebrated awareness raising campaign aiming to inspire the worldwide conservation of both migratory birds and their environments. The campaign is organized by two international wildlife treaties administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) - the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA). World Migratory Bird Day is also supported by a growing number of partners.

2014 commemoration • 2013 commemoration





World Wetlands Day

World Wetland Day (WWD) marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. WWD was celebrated for the first time in 1997 and made an encouraging beginning. Each year, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have acted to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general

 •  2014 commemoration2013 commemoration


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