President Jacob Zuma has rallied to the defence of the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hunting industryÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ which he says generates over R1-billion per year, www.timeslive.co.za reported recently.
Delivering the opening address at the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) in JohannesburgÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ Zuma said natural resources did not only sustain livelihoods of communities.
They were also critical in promoting economic developmentÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ he told delegates. Examples of this included the lawful trade in wildlifeÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ including the practice of huntingÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ which was criticised by many.
"The hunting sector in South Africa generates well over R1bn a yearÃ¢â‚¬Å¡" Zuma stated.
Zuma said South Africa was fully behind the COP17 conference because it was committed to conservation which contributed significantly to socio-economic development of poor and rural communities.
"The sustainable use of the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s indigenous biological resources is fundamental to the development of South AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s economy and social transformation.
"In this regardÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ game farmingÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ the hunting industryÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ eco-tourism and bio-prospecting play a significant role. The management interventions that we apply are therefore aimed at enhancing the livelihoods of the communities to whom they are entrusted."
South AfricaÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ he saidÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ was already running successful green and ocean economy programmesÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ as well as a biodiversity economy linked directly to the bio-prospecting and wildlife sectors.
"What we are doing is in line with the continental strategyÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ Agenda 2063Ã¢â‚¬Å¡ which recognises the important role that natural resources play in AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s development and socio-economic transformation.
"In additionÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable DevelopmentÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ adopted at the United Nations a year agoÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ also includes goals that promote the protection and sustainable utilisation of natural resourcesÃ¢â‚¬Å¡" Zuma told the conference.
The countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wildlife also contributed immensely to the GDP through the tourism sectorÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ anchored in the main on nature-based tourism with the Big Five.