Angola meets Portugal on sustainable ocean development

The Angolan delegation with the officials responsible for marine spatial planning in Madeira; Photo: GIZ

The Angolan delegation with the officials responsible for marine spatial planning in Madeira; Photo: GIZ

The Angolan Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) National Working Group (NWG) undertook a study tour to Lisbon and Madeira (Portugal) between 8 and 13 April 2018. The government officials of Angola and Portugal were able to establish good government-to-government relationships. The objective of the visit was to learn from each other’s successes and challenges how best to implement MSP.

The Angolan Government has prioritised ocean issues and, with its new working group, is in the process of developing its first marine spatial plan. The group is identifying the country’s marine areas of high natural value (so-called Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas, or EBSAs for short) which are envisaged to become protected areas. An ocean policy will be developed which will set out the Angolan path towards sustainable ocean development.

Given the common language and the high priority of sea affairs within the Portuguese Government, the Angolan National Working Group on MSP visited Portugal to exchange knowledge and experiences with the Portuguese Ministry of the Sea and the Autonomous Region of Madeira on how to implement an integrated marine management approach.

The study tour was a unique opportunity for the 14 group members, representing five ministries and two research institutions, to get to know the Portuguese MSP system at both the national and regional levels.

The Director of Sea Affairs Dr Antonio Barradas of the Angolan Ministry of Fisheries and the Sea addressing the media in Madeira; Photo: GIZ

The study tour included exchanges with the Directorate General for Maritime Policy on MSP legislation, exploring the cooperative governance arrangements that exist between the central government and regions (such as Madeira) as well as between various sector ministries. The group also learned about a geoportal based on a Geographic Information System (GIS), which is used jointly by various institutions.

While visiting a marine protected area near Lisbon, the group discussed some of the jurisdictional challenges faced when managing protected areas in close cooperation with several ministries. On the island of Madeira, the Angolan delegation visited offshore aquaculture farms, tourism sites and marine protected areas. One particular focus was the intricate balance maintained between the different interest groups as well as the rights of artisanal fisherman since traditional artisanal fishing plays an important role in Angola.

The group valued the exchange as these lessons learned will help inform the Angolan process. ‘It was an eye-opener’ – the Angolan delegation concluded. Portugal and Angola will continue to use the established relationship between the authorities responsible for MSP and sea affairs to support each other through joint learning on their respective journeys towards improved marine management.

The study tour was organised by the project Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem, which is funded by the German Environment Ministry’s International Climate Initiative (IKI).