6.5 South Africa: Institutional Arrangements
According to the South Africa legislation the institutions involved in the ABS process are the issuing authorities and the Bioprospecting Trust Fund.
Under Rule 6 of the ABS regulations, there are two issuing authorities. These are the Minister for environment and the MEC. The Minister is the issuing authority for bioprospecting permits and integrated export and bioprospecting permits if the indigenous biological resources are being exported for the purposes of bioprospecting. The MEC is designated as the issuing authority for export permits if the indigenous biological resources are being exported for research purposes other than bioprospecting, and the indigenous biological resources to be exported are collected, gathered or curated in the province for which the MEC in question is responsible.
Issuing authorities have powers and duties that include: processing applications within a reasonable time; satisfying themselves that the impact of any authorized activity will be negligible, minimised or remedied; and, that the relevant activity will not deplete an indigenous biological resource beyond the level where its integrity is jeopardised (Rule 7). The issuing authorities also have responsibilities to receive status reports of research undertaken pursuant to permits issued.
The Bioprospecting Trust Fund (BTF) is an institution established under section 85 of the national Environment Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004. The BTF is established for the purpose of receiving and paying all money arising from benefit sharing agreements and material transfer agreements, and due to stakeholders. Under Rule 19 of the South Africa ABS regulations, the BTF is required to be managed in accordance with Treasury Regulations issued in terms of the Public Finance Management Act.
The individual responsible for managing the BTF is the Director General. Thus, the Director General in the course of managing the fund must:
- Notify all issuing authorities of the banking details of the BTF, which details must be handed to permit holders on issuance of every permit;
- Advise parties to a benefit sharing agreement of any money received in respect of that agreement and the amount due to each stakeholder in terms of that agreement;
- Distribute all monies received in accordance with the relevant benefit sharing agreement.