While individual conservation projects are vital to safeguarding specific species or sites, laws and policies set the wider framework into which all conservation efforts fit. Ensuring that our legislation and policies create a system whereby biodiversity protection is enhanced and mainstreamed is essential if conservation actions are to have far reaching positive impacts. Influencing legislation and policy is often not easily achieved. If successful, however, these efforts have the power to alter entire sectors, whether by providing positive incentives for conservation or by regulating activities that pose a threat to biodiversity and holding environmental abusers accountable.
Even with robust legislation and policy commitments in place, deliberate intervention, namely advocacy work, is needed to ensure genuine implementation. This is where policy and advocacy work hand-in-hand to create the framework for biodiversity conservation.
BirdLife South Africa’s Policy and Advocacy Programme provides cross-cutting support to the organisation’s other conservation programmes. It aims to strategically address the environmental challenges facing these programmes – both by working to integrate conservation objectives into relevant laws and policies, and through reactive advocacy.