18.01.2017

Engaging marine users in Marine Spatial Planning in Namibia

Workshop

Stakeholders discussing Namibia’s approach to MSP; Photo: GIZ

In an effort to raise awareness on Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) as well as on the planning process in Namibia, the government of Namibia hosted the first MSP Stakeholder Information Event on the 7th of December 2016 in Swakopmund. The active participation of 50 representatives from a variety of relevant sectors and ministries of Namibia reflects the beginning of a joint learning journey towards the nation’s first marine spatial plan.

Boat and DolphinNamibia’s marine ecosystem is driven by the cold Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME) which the country shares with South Africa and Angola. It is known for its extraordinary productivity and unique biological diversity. As a maritime nation with manifold maritime industries and marine users, Namibia recognizes the immense potential of its ocean resources towards blue growth and for sustainable development. In order to maximize of the socio-economic benefits that its ocean space provides, the Government of the Republic of Namibia has commenced a process to implement MSP in its ocean space in 2016. MSP is a decision-making process that guides where and when human activities occur in the ocean. Making sure the right activity takes place in the right area and at the right time will help the Namibian ocean economy to grow sustainably and to contribute to the implementation of the national development goals – benefitting humans and the environment alike.

The Namibian Government, as mandated steward of the ocean, has tasked the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) to lead the process of MSP in Namibia. In this capacity, MFMR will collaborate with all relevant 12 national authorities that have a mandate relating to marine planning and management through an Inter-Ministerial Working Group that is responsible for implementing the MSP process in the country.

Cargo holdThe MSP process in Namibia is still in its initial phase, focusing on the central Namibian ocean space as the planning area for the country’s first Marine Spatial Plan. The central Namibian ocean is the country’s area which has both management needs due to the growing economic interests and which shows existing and future possible overlapping human uses. The area is also of high ecological sensitivity and importance as it is overlapping with the Namibian Flyway Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Area (EBSA) as recognized under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Multiple users and stakeholders are active in the area and have a range of economic, social or environmental interests.

During the first MSP Stakeholder Information Event in December 2016, Mr. Kamwi, vice chairperson of the MSP Working Group, applauded all sectors for their interest to be part of the MSP process. The fruitful discussions amongst participants were univocal and received as a great success.

The implementation of MSP in Namibia is supported through the “Conservation and Sustainable Use of the BCLME” project which is a partnership between the Benguela Current Commission (BCC), its member states Angola, Namibia and South Africa and the government of Germany in pursuit of the sustainable development of the BCLME. The project is funded by the German Environment Ministry (BMUB) through its International Climate Initiative (IKI), with significant in-kind contributions by the BCC member states.

Cargo ship