Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem
As of: January 2022
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 key marine resources and sectoral marine land uses in the ecoregion are available.
- In South Africa, support was provided for the development of the National Marine Biodiversity Status Report (opus.sanbi.org/…), published at the end of 2019, which serves as an important input to the baseline mapping report. The Marine and Coastal Spatial Biodiversity Plan is currently being developed based on this.
- The draft Marine Spatial Plan (MRPs) for the central coast of Namibia has been finalised at the technical level and released by the ministries for stakeholder engagement.
- The draft MRP for the central coastal region of Angola has been agreed at the technical level, approved by the ministries and will be adopted as the basis for the extension of MSP to the entire Angolan Exclusive Economic Zone.
- The development of South Africa's MRP implementation strategy document, which provides the framework and guideline for the development of the four sub-national plans, is in place. South Africa's first MRPs are currently being developed by the national working group based on their respective sector priorities.
- In all three countries, national and transboundary descriptions of "Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas" (EBSAs) have been revised (16) or redefined (12). These are incorporated into the spatial planning process and form the basis for the designation of new marine protected areas. In March 2020 Namibia, in September 2020 South Africa an in May 2021 Angola submitted these EBSAs to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
- The regional protocol on MRP under the Benguela Regional Convention was adopted by the relevant commission in October 2018 and serves as a regional guideline for the implementation of MRP.
- In Namibia, a Blue Economy Policy is being developed by an inter-ministerial body.
- In mid-August 2019, Angolan President João Lourenço established a 16-member ministerial body on marine affairs by decree.
- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the law on MSP in April 2019 and has made it come into force in April 2021.
- A film on marine spatial planning "Marine Spatial Planning in a nutshell" (youtu.be/…) was translated into local Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu and Portuguese.
- Several articles were published in scientific journals and textbooks (1) doi.org/…; 2) doi.org/…; 3) doi.org/…).