International Law

Convention on Biological Diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a multilateral environmental agreement focused on conservation and sustainable use of wildlife (including plants) and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits which arise where wildlife is used. You can access the CBD here. Every member of the CBD is required to develop a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) setting out the strategy and plan for contracting parties to fulfil the objectives of the Convention, you can access the NBSAP for South Africa here.

You can access the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets here and you can access the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework here.


The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is a multilateral environmental agreement regulating the international trade and movement of species where it would be detrimental to wild populations.

CITES prescribes various permits depending whether the species is listed in:

  • Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction due to trade. An import and export permit will be required for international movement, and commercial trade is prohibited;
  • Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but may become so if the trade is not managed. Only export permits are required for these species.
  • Appendix III contains species protected in at least one country where that country has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade. Only an export permit is required for Appendix III species.

You can access CITES and the CITES appendices here.


The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) is a multilateral environmental agreement requiring the protection of migratory species of wild animals that live within or pass through countries national jurisdictional boundaries. CMS lists species in two appendices, Appendix I includes migratory species which are endangered and appendix II includes:

  • migratory species which have an unfavourable conservation status and which require international agreements for their conservation and management, or
  • Migratory species which have a conservation status which would significantly benefit from international co-operation.

You can access South Africa’s most recent national report to the CMS secretariat here.


South Africa is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), an organisation founded and maintained by countries in Southern Africa that aims to further socio-economic, political, and security cooperation among its Member States. You can access the SADC vision 2025 here, as well as the following SADC Strategies:

SADC Climate Change Strategy and Action

Green Economy Strategy and Action Plan for Sustainable Development 

Law Enforcement and Anti-Poaching Strategy