Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem
As of: July 2020
Objective and activities
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 project is lending significant support to the drafting of the South African strategy document for the implementation of marine spatial planning (MSP) that sets out the parameters and framework for the development of the four sub-national marine spatial plans.
- In Namibia, the project cooperates with the third phase of the regional GEF-financed UNDP project to support the Benguela Current Convention (BCC).
- Training workshops on marine spatial planning have been held in all three countries with substantial participation by all relevant sector ministries. As a result it was also possible to take initial steps towards convening a multi-sectoral, inter-ministerial national working group on marine spatial planning in Namibia.
- The project has supported the formation of national and regional inter-ministerial "Communities of Practice", which serve the exchange of knowledge on and the further development of "ecologically or biologically significant marine areas" (EBSA) and MRP.
- In all three countries, national and cross-border EBSA descriptions were revised or newly defined. For Namibia, 2 new and 5 revised EBSAs have already been submitted to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
- The draft MRP protocol for the BCC, whose development were supported by the project, was finalised and adopted by the BCC Commission in October 2018.
- Project partners from Namibia and Angola participated in the MRP Forum of IOC-UNESCO and the European Commission on La Réunion at the end of March 2019, where project results were presented successfully to the expert public.
- In July 2019 a study trip to Germany and Sweden was organised for members of the South African Working Group on Marine Spatial Planning.
- In Namibia a Blue Economy Policy was developed by an inter-ministerial committee and advised by the project.
- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the MRP Act at the end of April 2019, creating the legal framework for MRP.
- In mid-August 2019, Angolan President João Lourenço issued a decree establishing a 16-strong body at ministerial level on maritime affairs, which has already begun its work.