Pretoria: South Africa has been appointed as the new chairperson of the Group of Like Minded Megadiverse Countries (LMMC’s) for a period of two years.
This follows yesterday’s announcement by the outgoing chairperson of the LMMC, Philippine’s Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Ernesto Adobo, during the High Level Segment of the 12th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity held in India.
The LMMC was established in 2002 in Cancun, Mexico, as a consultation and cooperation mechanism in order to promote parties’ common interests and priorities related to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.
The declaration, establishing the group, acknowledged that biological resources and the associated environmental services have an immense strategic, economic and social value, and offer development opportunities to the populations of these countries and the international community.
Megadiverse countries are a group of countries that contain the majority of the Earth’s species and therefore considered extremely biologically diverse.
Conservation International identified 17 megadiverse countries in 1998. These countries represent less than 10% of the global surface, but support more than 70% of the biological diversity on earth.
The 17 members of the LMMC are Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, and Venezuela.
South Africa ranks third in biological diversity, after Brazil and Indonesia.
Accepting the nomination, Water and Environmental Affairs Ministers Edna Molewa indicated that South Africa was privileged to be chosen to lead such an auspicious group of countries mandated to conserve and protect the major chunk of the world’s prestigious biological and associated cultural resources, which underpin the countries’ economies.
“South Africa is not blind to the pressures facing Megadiverse countries and the rest of the world in light climate change, habitat loss and degradation, over-exploitation and unsustainable use of biological resources, pollution and invasive alien species, which concomitantly precipitate biodiversity loss,” said Molewa on the last day of the conference.
Molewa further urged the LMMC group to heighten co-operation amongst parties, in particular in respect of the ratification and implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, resource mobilisation in order to facilitate revision and implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans.
These efforts, she added, will go a long way in assisting to realise Rio+20 vision of the future we want.
South Africa has committed to host a workshop in 2013 to develop a roadmap for the group until 2020.
South Africa will hold the position of chair for a period of two years, until the next meeting of the Conference of Parties to be held in Korea in 2014.