Implementation of the NBSAP
The first NBSAP was developed in 2001. It contained four core goals to: conserve a viable set of representative samples of the country’s full range of natural ecosystems through a protected areas network; sustainably use the biological resources of natural ecosystems outside the protected areas network; efficiently conserve the genetic base of Swaziland’s crops and livestock breeds; and minimize the risks associated with the use of LMOs. Although targets were set, the plan was not fully implemented because it was not formally adopted as a national policy instrument. Furthermore, other implementation partners were unaware of their implementation obligations or options.
NBSAP achievements include the preparation of red data lists for some taxa, such as higher plants and vertebrates, and an atlas for trees. Moreover, the National Plant Genetic Resource Centre currently holds about 960 accessions of cultivated species, and surveys of farm genetic resources have been carried out. Swaziland has also developed and approved a policy on biotechnology and biosafety, as well as enacted the Biosafety Act in 2012 along with guidelines and regulations to support implementation of the Act.
The revision of the NBSAP, including the establishment of national targets and associated indicators, is currently underway. The new NBSAP will be aligned with the global framework as well as with the country’s National Development Strategy (NDS). It will highlight and seek to maintain the contribution of biodiversity and ecosystem services to human well-being, and also include measures to mainstream biodiversity into sectoral and cross-sectoral policies and programmes.
Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets
The fifth national report confirms that, to date, substantial achievements have occurred in regard to Target 1 (Awareness increased) and Target 11 (Protected areas increased and improved).
Seminars and workshops have been held for educators, policy-makers, media personnel, the private sector and communities, among other groups. Chiefs and rural groups have taken leadership and action in the management of indigenous forests. Targeted programmes in the National Environmental Education Programmes (NEEP) seek to raise awareness and understanding among decision-makers, including at the level of Parliament.
At present only 3.9% (64,100 ha) of the country is formally protected as reserves, with a small percentage of land being informally conserved and managed by private land owners and communal land users. The GEF project envisages strengthening the management effectiveness of the protected area (PA) systems of Swaziland to ensure a viable set of representative samples of the country’s full range of natural ecosystems are conserved through a network of PAs. The project’s objective is to efficiently expand, manage and develop the country’s PA to 10%. A survey conducted in 2002 identified 44 protection-worthy areas to prioritize.
The Biodiversity Conservation and Participatory Project (BCPD) identified an east-west corridor in the northern part of the country, described as the Northern Biodiversity and Tourism Corridors (BTC), linking the coastal areas of Mozambique and South Africa with the Drakensberg escarpment (Songimvelo, Malolotja, Makhonjwa), and a north-south corridor in the eastern part of the country (The Eastern BTC) defined by the entire length of the Swaziland Lubombo plateau and escarpment.
It was conceptualised that the biodiversity conservation and management in the corridors will be underpinned by complementary activities maximizing economic benefits to rural communities through sustainable livelihoods, targeted infrastructure interventions and the development of tourism routes capitalizing on existing regional tourism dynamics.
Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)
Swaziland is making steady progress towards mainstreaming biodiversity in both the public and private sectors, although there are still challenges. The National Development Strategy (NDS) sets out the framework for sustainable development in a comprehensive manner across all sectors. It is an umbrella strategy for all other policies and strategies. Environmental integration in sectoral and macro-economic policies has taken place in a number of recent sector policies, notably the National Rural Resettlement Policy, the National Forest Policy (which encourages community-based resource management), the Comprehensive Agricultural Sector Policy, the National Food Security Policy and the National Energy Policy. The Forest Bill (2010) envisages to further enforce the management and increase of carbon sinks in the form of forests. In addition, the National Climate Change Policy, currently being finalized, aims to provide a national strategic framework for Swaziland to address the challenges and annex benefits as well as opportunities presented by climate change.
The National Trust Commission (Amendment) Bill (2009) was developed to amend the National Trust Commission Act (1972) to include new protected area categories and governance types.
The National Alien Invasive Plant Species Control and Management Strategy aims to promote cooperative, coordinated and integrated management and control of alien invasive plant species.
The Environmental Management Act (2002) requires Strategic Environmental Assessment (StrEA) of policies, programmes, strategies, action plans and legislative bills to be subjected to this form of assessment. Furthermore, mainstreaming biodiversity has been done mainly through the use of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA).
The Guidelines on Mining and Biodiversity are under development with the engagement of various stakeholders to secure the mainstreaming of biodiversity in the mining sector.
Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation
The revised NBSAP 2 will have a monitoring and evaluation framework that will form part of a continuous process to evaluate the implementation of the actions outlined in the NBSAP.