The White Paper sets forth the following vision: "A prosperous nation, living in harmony with nature, where biodiversity is conserved for present and future generations, and secures equitable livelihoods and improved human well-being". The White Paper is aspirational and advocates activities that enhance the well-being of people and nature at the same time. The approach identifies the path, out of unsustainable practices, toward a world where all people have a high quality of life, a voice, and a nurturing earth supporting them. As such, the policy sets out the following impact statement: 'Thriving People and Nature'.

The Draft White Paper was released by South Africa's Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment in July 2022 for public comment.