Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem

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.

Project data

Angola, Namibia, South Africa
IKI funding
10,880,000.00 €
08/2014 till 09/2022
Implementing organisation
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Political Partner
  • Benguela Current Convention (BCC)
Implementing Partner
  • Benguela Current Convention (BCC)
  • Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) - South Africa
  • Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) - South Africa
  • Department of Transport - South Africa
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries –Angola
  • Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Environment - Angola
  • Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism - Namibia
  • Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources - Namibia
  • Ministry of Mineral Resources, Petroleum and Gas - Angola
  • Ministry of Mines and Energy - Namibia
  • Ministry of Transport - Angola
  • Ministry of Works and Transport - Namibia

State of implementation/results

  • The three baseline mapping reports for key marine resources and sectoral marine spatial uses in the ecoregion are available.
  • The BCC regional geospatial data portal provides free access to spatial data relevant to planning in BCC countries:
  • In South Africa, support was provided for the development of the National Marine Biodiversity Status Report (…), published in late 2019, which serves as a key input to the Baseline Mapping Report. Based on this, the Marine and Coastal Spatial Biodiversity Plan is currently being developed.
  • The draft Marine Spatial Plan (MRPs) for the central coast of Namibia has been finalized at the technical level and is currently being validated with stakeholder involvement. In addition, a strategic environmental assessment is taking place.
  • The draft MRP for the central coastal region of Angola has been agreed at the technical level, approved by the directors of the relevant ministries. Currently, the MRP is being extended 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 subnational 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 designating new marine protected areas. In March 2020 Namibia, in September 2020 South Africa and 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 MRP implementation.
  • 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 MRP in April 2019, and it will come into force in April 2021.
  • A film on marine spatial planning, "Marine Spatial Planning in a nutshell" (…), was translated into local Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu, and Portuguese.
  • Several articles have been published in scientific journals and textbooks (1)…; 2)…; 3)…

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