Benguela Current Convention Comes into Effect

Exchange signed copies of the Benguela Current Convention. Credit: UNDP

The Benguela Current Convention was signed in the Angolan city of Benguela, the seat of Government of the Province of Benguela on March 18, 2013, marking the establishment of the first multi-lateral Commission in the world based on the Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) approach to ocean governance; and ushering in a new era of cooperation between the governments of Angola, Namibia and South Africa.

The Convention is based on a long-term approach that aims to maintain ecosystem goods and services for sustainable use, while recognising that humans are an integral part of the process.

The signing ceremony was attended by the Angolan Ministers of Fisheries, Science and Technology, Agriculture, Transport and Mines & Energy; the Namibian Ministers of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Mines & Energy and Transport; and the South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Water. Also in attendance were representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF); both organisations have been providing funding and technical support for regional cooperation since the mid-1990s, and their backing was key to the successful establishment of the Benguela Current Commission (BCC) in 2007.

Highlights

  • With the signing of the Benguela Current Convention, the BCC becomes a permanent inter-governmental institution through which Angola, Namibia and South Africa will collaborate in promoting the long-term conservation, protection, rehabilitation, enhancement and sustainable use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME).
  • The BCLME is an area of ocean space stretching from Port Elizabeth in South Africa to the province of Cabinda in the north of Angola.
  • It is regarded as one of the richest ecosystems on earth, with ecosystem goods and services estimated to be worth at least US$ 54.3 billion per year.

With the signing of the Benguela Current Convention, the BCC becomes a permanent inter-governmental institution through which Angola, Namibia and South Africa will collaborate in promoting the long-term conservation, protection, rehabilitation, enhancement and sustainable use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME). The BCLME is an area of ocean space stretching from Port Elizabeth in South Africa to the province of Cabinda in the north of Angola. It is regarded as one of the richest ecosystems on earth, with ecosystem goods and services estimated to be worth at least US$ 54.3 billion per year. Offshore oil and gas production, marine diamond mining, coastal tourism, commercial fishing and shipping are some of the most important industrial activities that take place in the region.

Speaking at the signing of the Benguela Current Convention, Ms Maria do Valle Ribeiro, UN Resident Coordinator in Angola and UNDP Resident Representative, congratulated the three countries for creating the world’s first LME commission, saying it is “the ideal and most effective way to achieve the sustainable management of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem and ensure the sustainable future of the people who rely on it.” Ms Ribeiro further commended the strong leadership demonstrated by the government ministers present at the signing ceremony.

Her sentiments were echoed by Mr. André Laperriere, Deputy CEO of the GEF who said that holistic, adaptive management is essential to address increasing threats to complex coastal and marine environments. “Sustainable management is not possible without a legal framework such as the one jointly put in place today by the governments of Angola, Namibia and South Africa, The leaders of these countries have clearly shown that it is possible and desirable to see political solutions based on scientific knowledge in order to reverse marine degradation and resource depletion.”

The Executive Secretary of the Benguela Current Commission, Hashali Hamukuaya said, “…the historic signing of the Benguela Current Convention represents the culmination of many years of research, consultation and negotiation, all of which have been carried out in a spirit of trust and cooperation,”

Exchange signed copies of the Benguela Current Convention. Credit: UNDP

The Benguela Current Convention was signed in the Angolan city of Benguela, the seat of Government of the Province of Benguela on March 18, 2013, marking the establishment of the first multi-lateral Commission in the world based on the Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) approach to ocean governance; and ushering in a new era of cooperation between the governments of Angola, Namibia and South Africa.

The Convention is based on a long-term approach that aims to maintain ecosystem goods and services for sustainable use, while recognising that humans are an integral part of the process.

The signing ceremony was attended by the Angolan Ministers of Fisheries, Science and Technology, Agriculture, Transport and Mines & Energy; the Namibian Ministers of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Mines & Energy and Transport; and the South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Water. Also in attendance were representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF); both organisations have been providing funding and technical support for regional cooperation since the mid-1990s, and their backing was key to the successful establishment of the Benguela Current Commission (BCC) in 2007.

Highlights

  • With the signing of the Benguela Current Convention, the BCC becomes a permanent inter-governmental institution through which Angola, Namibia and South Africa will collaborate in promoting the long-term conservation, protection, rehabilitation, enhancement and sustainable use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME).
  • The BCLME is an area of ocean space stretching from Port Elizabeth in South Africa to the province of Cabinda in the north of Angola.
  • It is regarded as one of the richest ecosystems on earth, with ecosystem goods and services estimated to be worth at least US$ 54.3 billion per year.

With the signing of the Benguela Current Convention, the BCC becomes a permanent inter-governmental institution through which Angola, Namibia and South Africa will collaborate in promoting the long-term conservation, protection, rehabilitation, enhancement and sustainable use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME). The BCLME is an area of ocean space stretching from Port Elizabeth in South Africa to the province of Cabinda in the north of Angola. It is regarded as one of the richest ecosystems on earth, with ecosystem goods and services estimated to be worth at least US$ 54.3 billion per year. Offshore oil and gas production, marine diamond mining, coastal tourism, commercial fishing and shipping are some of the most important industrial activities that take place in the region.

Speaking at the signing of the Benguela Current Convention, Ms Maria do Valle Ribeiro, UN Resident Coordinator in Angola and UNDP Resident Representative, congratulated the three countries for creating the world’s first LME commission, saying it is “the ideal and most effective way to achieve the sustainable management of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem and ensure the sustainable future of the people who rely on it.” Ms Ribeiro further commended the strong leadership demonstrated by the government ministers present at the signing ceremony.

Her sentiments were echoed by Mr. André Laperriere, Deputy CEO of the GEF who said that holistic, adaptive management is essential to address increasing threats to complex coastal and marine environments. “Sustainable management is not possible without a legal framework such as the one jointly put in place today by the governments of Angola, Namibia and South Africa, The leaders of these countries have clearly shown that it is possible and desirable to see political solutions based on scientific knowledge in order to reverse marine degradation and resource depletion.”

The Executive Secretary of the Benguela Current Commission, Hashali Hamukuaya said, “…the historic signing of the Benguela Current Convention represents the culmination of many years of research, consultation and negotiation, all of which have been carried out in a spirit of trust and cooperation,”