Johannesburg - South Africa has signed the Nagoya Protocol, as part of efforts to protect indigenous fauna and flaura, the environmental affairs department said on Sunday.
"The Nagoya Protocol is a legally binding agreement outlining a set of terms prescribing how one country will gain access to another country's genetic resources and how the benefits derived, will be shared," departmental spokesman Albi Modise said.
"[It] provides for measures to regulate and facilitate access to and the utilisation of the indigenous fauna and flora of a country as well as their associated traditional knowledge."
The country was the 12th to join the initiative after Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, India, Jordan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mauritius, Mexico, Panama, Rwanda, and the Seychelles.
Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said with South Africa being in the top three of the world's most biologically diverse nations, joining the protocol was a positive move.
This was the latest attempt to preserve the country's indigenous fauna and flora following the department's implementation of the national Environmental Management Biodiversity Act 2004. This makes it illegal for anyone to obtain and use extracts from indigenous fauna or flora for commercial use without a permit.