Authored by Michelle Hamer, Karin Behr, Ian Engelbrecht and Leigh Richards, this commentary published in the South African Journal of Science highlights the challenges, flaws and limitations that come with the different permits that South African scientific institutions and researchers have to comply with. In recognising and acknowledging the importance of the permits, they also put forward recommendations for solving the problems.
Here are some of the points raised:
- The permitting system’s requirement have become a nightmare for biodiversity scientists, and this has a negative impact on research, capacity development and natural science collection community’s mandated work.
- It is clear that the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Nagoya Protocol, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) all acknowledge the need and encourage research on biodiversity.
- The challenge that researchers face with regards to the Threatened or Protected Species (ToPS) is the number of processes that must be followed when applying for permits, and they are confused about who the responsible authority is.
- If you are an expert conducting surveys in the field and you come across a ToPS listed species, you cannot collect it without a permit. You need to go through the lengthy process of applying for a permit, and then go back to the site where you saw it last, hoping to find it.
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