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Molewa signs agreements with China at Brics summit

WATER and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa this week signed two memorandums of understanding with the Chinese government, she said on Wednesday evening.

A Chinese delegation travelled to South Africa for the Brics summit in Durban, where a number of agreements between the Brics nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — were concluded.

The two memorandums of understanding dealt with oceans and coastal management, and ecosystems and biodiversity protection, Ms Molewa told Business Day in an interview.

The memorandum of understanding dealing with biodiversity was similar to that signed with Vietnam last December, and encompassed a "list of actions that need to be taken" on the illegal trade in rhino horn, she said.

These included joint security and cross-border actions, capacity building, greater harmonisation of legislation, education and awareness of the negative effects of the black-market trade in rhino horn, and training for government officials.

South Africa is home to more than 90% of the global rhino population, and scientists have warned that if poaching increases at the same rate as it did between 2009 and 2011, when the tally jumped from 122 to 448, just more than a threefold increase, the species will be extinct by mid-century. It could go into decline by 2016.

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