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Natural Resources (369)

There is an increasing global demand for food, water and energy. All three are inter-linked, a fact that has increasingly become the focus of attention for policy makers and governments.
The recently gazetted 'Reviewed broad-based black-economic empowerment charter for the South African mining and minerals industry, 2016', stipulates that legally constituted trusts must be created by communities and workers respectively to hold ownership stakes in mining assets.
China has published a notice that the processing and sale of ivory and ivory products 'will be stopped by December 31, 2017.' Following a decision taken at the latest Convention on International Trade in Endangered Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) conference to end all domestic trade in ivory, China has duly made a credible commitment to this end.
SAIIA Policy Briefing 153, November 2016
A farmer is weeding his fields by hand deep in rural Tanzania – it seems a timeless scene, far removed from the high-tech, interconnected world of today. Yet the weather forecasts that the farmer used to time his planting, the inexpensive mobile phone that he uses to check market prices before harvesting, and possibly even the potential to receive government assistance should his region be struck by drought all depend, in some or other way, on space technology.
With 27,000 African savannah elephants a year illegally killed for their ivory, the species is in peril. Now international action at CITES and the closure of domestic ivory markets are attacking the ivory trade at both ends. But we must also give our full support to 'elephant neighbour' communities.
The upcoming 2016 World Food Prize will honour contributions in the field of biofortification. With almost one person in four being undernourished in Africa, what do recent experiences tell us about the role that biofortified foods can play in ensuring nutritious and safe food for the continent?
There has been growing interest in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and in particular, whether this international conference will decide to extend the international ban on elephant ivory - in place since 1990 – into domestic markets.
A crucial international wildlife meeting is currently taking place in South Africa. But can these kinds of high-level conferences translate into local actions to protect endangered wildlife such the African elephant? In an article for The Mercury, SAIIA Senior Researcher Yu-Shan Wu discusses the findings of her latest research into the matter.
Dozens of wildlife species are endangered, pushed ever closer to extinction by habitat loss and illegal trade. This is an important and disquieting element of the so-called Anthropocene, the proposed geological epoch to describe the current period, in which the earth and its complex systems have been fundamentally shaped by human activity. The illegal wildlife trade, which has been estimated at $7 billion to $23 billion a year, is the world’s fourth-largest form of transnational organized crime.
Thursday, 22 September 2016

Time for Change

Tusk, in association with Stop Ivory and SAIIA, held a 'Time For Change' international lunchtime reception on the eve of CITES CoP17. The event drew the world's attention to the continuing crisis in poaching and the need to maintain momentum in tackling the issue.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 244, September 2016
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 243, September 2016
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international regulatory treaty between 182 member states. It was formed in 1973 and regulates the international trade in over 35,000 wild species of plants and animals.
The upcoming conference for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Johannesburg is set to be a firecracker political drama, given conflicting African proposals over elephant conservation efforts.
In the latest SAIIA event exclusively for our diplomatic and corporate members, we were pleased to host an Executive Briefing on 'CITES: Where to from here and how to improve?'.
SAIIA Policy Insights No 34, August 2016
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 239, September 2016
Three countries in southern Africa have banded together to press for the ban on international trade in ivory to be lifted. South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe have submitted a joint proposal to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). They are asking for permission to trade in ivory without which, they argue, there are no positive incentives to conserve elephants or their habitats.
SAIIA Policy Insights No 33, July 2016
The mineral resources minister recently gazetted an amended Mining Charter, which generated a good deal of controversy. Although the revised charter retains the principal target of achieving 26% ownership of mining companies by historically disadvantaged South Africans, it adds the requirement of retaining this level continuously. A further amendment stipulates that workers, through the establishment of employee share ownership plans (Esops), are to be allocated a minimum stake of 5% that counts towards the 26% total black economic empowerment (BEE) equity.
Following our beautiful photo report from Botswana, we offer you another look behind the scenes at SAIIA's work in the field. Join researchers Romy Chevallier and Ross Harvey as they travel to Tanzania to investigate small scale mining and sustainable management of the country's forests and wildlife.
The drought that has hammered Southern Africa over the past years is a potent reminder (if ever it was needed) of the foundational importance of agriculture to the continent’s fortunes. Agriculture remains a mainstay of Africa’s economy, accounting for around a third of GDP and two thirds of employment.
In early May, the governments of Zimbabwe and Namibia took the unusual step of petitioning the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) to remove their elephants from CITES protection, which currently prohibits them from selling elephant ivory. Arguing that the international ban – imposed in 1989 - of selling ivory has been a costly and unsuccessful 26-year ‘experiment’, officials from the two Southern African countries are trying to make a case for releasing their ivory stockpiles onto the global market and thereby turn a profit.
The ‘Land Question’. From legislation under consideration – such as the new Expropriation Bill – to a reopened land claims process, to violent evictions in Hammanskraal, to emotive rhetoric around current landholding patterns, the politics of land is shaking South Africa. In this, South Africa is not unique.
If Dickens were observing South Africa’s mining sector, in the context of an economy that is growing at less than one percent a year, and a political landscape fractured by state capture and ratings downgrade threats, he may have started his famous novel with the line, ‘It was the worst of times’, and left it at that. Mining production has declined 18% year-on-year to May and job losses are growing.
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