Angola has a coastline of 1.600 kilometers and an extensive Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the South-East Atlantic Ocean. Its ocean territory forms part of the shared Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem with Namibia and South Africa that is known for its extraordinary productivity and unique biological diversity.
In 2007, the coastal states of Angola, Namibia and South Africa launched an initiative on transboundary management of the region – the Benguela Current Commission (BCC). Last year, the member states ratified a joint convention, the first of its kind, for a marine ecoregion in Africa. Since 2014, the project "Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem", which is financed by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB), is supporting the BCC and its member states in implementing the Benguela Current Convention.
Environmentally sound development planning of the ocean space of the three countries is being supported through the introduction of spatial planning that takes into account the marine biodiversity and natural resource values of the ecoregion. As part of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), the project supports the BCC member states in identifying and managing the region’s Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs).
In February 2016 an introductory training workshop on MSP was held in Luanda, Angola. Key officials from all concerned maritime ministries like petroleum, environment, transport, and fisheries, civil society and the private sector contributed actively in the training which mapped out the first steps towards introducing MSP in Angola as a process enabling sustainable ocean development.
Angola is one of Africa's leading petroleum exporters. With the depressed oil prices, fisheries and other maritime sectors need to improve their performance to balance the blue/ocean economy. MSP aims to harmonise the human activities while protecting the countries environment, thereby aiming to maximise productivity in all sectors with sustainable use of the ocean natural resources.
The successful workshop contributed significantly to raising awareness for the need to plan and manage the Angolan marine area in a cross-sectoral and adaptive manner through MSP which requires inter-ministerial coordination and cooperation. The capacity of relevant policy- and decision-makers as well as managers in Angola was enhanced to strengthen existing national efforts towards the long-term sustainable use of the Angolan ocean and its marine resources. This workshop completes the first training phase in the introduction of MSP in the BCC member states as similar workshops were held in Namibia and South Africa in the last quarter of 2015.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is responsible for the implementation of the BMUB-IKI project in cooperation with the BCC Secretariat and the relevant ocean-related ministries of the three BCC member states. The project has a volume of EUR 9 million and runs until April 2020.