Swaziland’s Biodiversity related policy and legislation
The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland Act (Act No: 001 of 2005) touches on the environment and biodiversity in a number of places. Chapter XII on land, minerals, water and environment declares natural resources as national resources and further places an obligation on the State to protectand make rational use of both natural resources and its fauna and flora and to further take appropriate measures to conserve and improve the environment. The constitution also refers to protection of the environment and or sustainable management of natural resources in a number of places. Section 216 (1) calls on every citizen to promote the protection of the environment for the present and future generations.
Vision 2022 and National Development Strategy
The NDS articulates the country’s development vision and aspiration for the period 1997 -2022. It focuses on improving the standard of living in the country with particular emphasis on poverty eradication, employment creation, gender equality and environmental protection.
The Wild Mushroom Control Order, 1973
This instrument prohibits the sale, export and picking of wild mushrooms without a licence. It regulates the wild mushroom industry by prohibiting collection, gathering, packing or canning of wild mushrooms for purposes of sale or export without a license.
The Plant Control Act No. 6 of 1991 provides for the control of movement and growing of plants and related issues. It establishes a Nursery Registration Board whose function is to oversee the registration of nurseries as well as ensuring their compliance with the key provisions of the Act. The Act also provides for the control of plant diseases, pests, noxious weeds and alien animals. The Act prohibits propagation Alien invasive species.
The Game Amendment Act amend the Game Act of 1953 with the objective of providing for better preservation of some types of wild life in Swaziland. The Act prohibits hunting of protected game and being in possession of trophies of such game without a valid permit.
The Grass Fires Act is aimed at controlling grass fires in the country. The Act prohibits property owners and occupiers from burning grass at intervals shorter than 24 months. In addition, it provides for prior authorization before the burning of grass and lays specifications on how to burn grass and further mandates passers-by to ensure that wild fires are extinguished before proceeding with their trip failing which they are guilty of an offence.
The Waste Regulations 1999
The Waste Regulations 1999 were developed under Section18 of the Swaziland Environment Authority Act 1992 with the objective regulating the management of solid waste and liquid waste disposed of on land in order to minimise adverse effects on the environment which includes the natural and/or environment, any form of life as well as the social, economic and/or cultural conditions that influence human life, or on any interrelationship between these elements or factors. The regulations stipulate that landfill sites shall be located and operated in such a manner that does not create significant negative impacts on flora and fauna on adjoining land.
The Environment Audit, Assessment and Review Regulations 2000
The Environmental Audit, Assessment and Review Regulations (Legal Notice No.31 of 2000require Environmental Impact Assessment prior to any development that may have negative impacts on the environment. They also place a requirement for provision of mitigation measures in line with sustainable development principles. Public participation is an important consideration of these Regulations.
The Flora Protection Act 2000
The Flora Protection Act repealed and replaced its predecessor i.e. the Flora Protection Act (Act No. 45 of 1952) with intent to provide for more effective protection of indigenous flora and related issues. It gives the Minister authority to establish flora reserves, botanic gardens and or special habitats and extend their boundaries as appropriate for the purpose of protecting flora. The Act also prohibits picking, plucking, gathering, cutting, uprooting, causing injury, breaking, destroying or processing of any part of protected flora, including seeds except where a permit has been granted by the Minister.
Where conflict arises between the Flora Protection Act and any other related legislation, the Flora Protection Act assumes supremacy.
The Environment Management Act, 2002
The Environment Management Act (EMA) provides for and promotes the enhancement, protection and conservation of the environment and sustainable management of natural resources. The Act incorporates universally accepted principles for environmental management and sustainable development.
The National Water Act, 2002
The National Water Act establishes the National Water Authority as a body corporate and defines the constitution which includes representatives of four government ministries i.e. Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Economic Planning & Development, Ministry of Natural Resources & Energy & Ministry of Health & Social Welfare. The Act requires the National Water Authority to develop a Water Resources Master Plan which has as one of its objectives, protection of the aquatic environment. The Act also established the Department of Water Affairs as a Secretariat to the Authority. It also provides for water pollution control by making it mandatory for water users who take water for industrial, local authority use to apply for an effluent control permit.