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sustainable development. At the time of the WSSD, achieving the three objectives of the CBD, (1) conserving biodiversity, (2) the sustainable use of biological resources and (3) the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources, was seen as a prerequisite to sustainable development and alleviating poverty. This is further indication of the links being made between human well-being, biodiversity, ecosystems and sustainable development. More recently, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment completed in 2005 aimed at establishing a scientific basis for action necessary to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems (and biodiversity as a key component of ecosystems) and their contribution to meeting human needs.

2005. For example, the establishment of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the development of the National Spatial Biodiversity Assessment in 2004. Various industry, business and service sectors are similarly responding to the evolving policy framework towards sustainable development. For example, environmental impact assessments are increasingly becoming commonplace with all new commercial and residential developments. More and more industries are becoming concerned with the impact of productive operations on the environment and are seeking ways to minimise impact. The forestry and agricultural sectors have become more concerned with issues associated with land use change and are responding through exploring more sustainable forestry and agricultural practices. The growing tourism sector, recognising the importance of biodiversity for this sector, has become concerned with promoting eco-tourism that balances job creation with the sustainable use of natural resources. Various agencies working within a marine and coastal environment are exploring ways of encouraging the sustainable use of marine resources to support the livelihoods of surrounding communities. Some local government initiatives, for example, Local Agenda 21 programmes, are seeking to encourage community participation in creating healthy and sustainable environments. This evolving policy and action framework, underpinned by the South African constitution that promotes the right to a healthy and protected environment, mirrors international trends and patterns in conceptualising the close link between human well-being, the environment and sustainable development.

Concern for biodiversity loss and ecosystems degradation, a reconceptualisation of biodiversity conservation and the development of institutional frameworks and practical strategies to address biodiversity loss and ecosystems degradation can similarly be seen in the South African national context. In 1998 South Africa became a signatory to the CBD, committing the country and its people to striving towards the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources to the equal benefit of all people. This commitment to conserving biodiversity and promoting the sustainable use of biological resources is evident in a range of environmental policy initiatives, amongst others the National Tourism Act (1993), the Agriculture and Conservation Act (No. 88, 1996), the National Environmental Management Act (No. 107, 1998), the National Water Act (No. 36, 1998) and the Biodiversity Conservation Act (2004).

Concern for, and commitment to conserving biodiversity is similarly evident in the rapid expansion of bioregional programmes in 2004 and

Within this international and national policy framework and the increasing development of strategic and practical processes to address increasing biodiversity loss, ecosystems degradation and sustainable development,

Learning Opportunities for Careers in Biodiversity Conservation

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