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Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem

As of: May 2021

The Benguela Current marine ecosystem extends along the coasts of South Africa, Namibia and Angola and is one of the world’s most biodiverse regions. The Benguela Current Convention (BCC) protects the marine biodiversity of the area and integrates it into a concept for sustainable development. The ecosystem is nevertheless under increasing threat and to counteract this, the project is improving sustainable management by developing the relevant know-how of the BCC and its members, including the identification of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) and advising the project partners on establishing an adequate management system. The project also institutionalises and implements a regionally coordinated approach to marine spatial planning (MSP). Experiences, results, concepts and instruments for the management of EBSAs and MRP are disseminated throughout the region and beyond in order to integrate them into national, regional and international policy and negotiation processes.

State of implementation/results

  • The three baseline mapping reports for the most important marine resources and sectoral marine uses in the ecosystem are available.
  • In South Africa, the development of the national status report on marine biodiversity published at the end of 2019 was substantially supported and serves as an important contribution to the baseline mapping report.
  • The draft of the marine spatial plan for the central coast of Namibia has been coordinated on a technical level and is available.
  • The draft marine spatial plan for Angola's central coastal region was coordinated at a technical level and approved by the directors of the main ministries.
  • The development of the South African strategic document for the implementation of marine spatial planning (MSP), which provides the framework and guideline for the development of the four sub-national marine spatial plans, is in the final stages of technical and political coordination. The first marine spatial plan is currently being developed by the national working group.
  • In all three countries, national and cross-border EBSA ("ecologically or biologically significant marine areas") descriptions were revised (16) or newly defined (12). These are used in the spatial planning process and are the basis for the designation of new marine protected areas. For Namibia, two new EBSAs and five already identified EBSAs have already been revised. In March 2020, Namibia submitted these EBSAs to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Angola and South Africa also plan to submit the new and revised EBSAs to the CBD.
  • The regional protocol on marine spatial planning under the regional Benguela Current Convention (BCC) was adopted by the BCC Commission in October 2018 and serves as a regional guideline for the implementation of marine spatial planning.
  • In Namibia, a Blue Economy Policy was developed in 2019 by an inter-ministerial committee, which represents an overarching framework for marine spatial planning.
  • In mid-August 2019, Angolan President João Lourenço issued a decree establishing a 16-member ministerial-level body on maritime affairs, which has already begun its work.
  • In July 2019, members of the South African Working Group on Marine Spatial Planning conducted a study trip to Germany and Sweden.
  • South African President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the MSP Act at the end of April 2019, creating the legal framework for MSP. Training workshops on marine spatial planning were conducted in the three target countries with strong participation of all relevant sector ministries. The project has supported the formation of national and regional interministerial working groups on EBSAs and marine spatial planning.

Project data

Angola, Namibia, South Africa

Political partner(s):
  • Benguela Current Commission (BCC)

Implementing partner(s):
  • Benguela Current Commission (BCC)
  • Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries - South Africa*
  • Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) - South Africa*
  • Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) - South Africa
  • Ministry of Environment (Ministério do Ambiente) - Angola
  • Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) - Namibia
  • Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources - Namibia
  • Ministry of Mines and Energy - Namibia
  • Ministry of Works and Transport - Namibia
  • Oil Ministry (Ministério dos Petróleos) - Angola

BMU grant:
10.600.000,00 €

08/2014  till  02/2022


Marisma - Enabling Sustainable Ocean Use in the Benguela Current Region (PDF | 3.29MB)

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