S Africans called to invest in biodiversity

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pretoria - Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Buyelwa Sonjica has called on South Africans to unite in a global alliance to protect life on earth by investing in biodiversity.

Speaking at the official launch of the International Year of Biodiversity on Monday, Sonjica said all communities ought to guard their natural resources against unscrupulous people who loot the country's resources to a point of depletion.

"Our local communities need to be made aware of the importance of for example, the bull frog and the elephant, in their daily existence," Sonjica said, adding that indigenous knowledge needed to be harnessed in order to allow communities to adapt to changing conditions.

The United Nations declared 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity, a celebration of life on earth and the recognition of the links between biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well being.

Celebrations for the International Year of Biodiversity will take place under the theme, "Biodiversity is life, Biodiversity is our Life"

The theme aims to raise awareness of the importance of conserving biodiversity for human well-being, promote the understanding of the economic value of biodiversity, enhance public knowledge of the threats to biodiversity and means to conserve it.

The department has developed dedicated themes for each month linking the benefits of biodiversity to society. The theme for February is Biodiversity is Precious.