Benguela Current Commission
Ensuring the long-term environmental sustainability of marine ecosystems in Africa
The Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem stretches northwards in the Atlantic Ocean from South Africa along the entire coastline of Namibia into Angola. It is one of the richest ecosystems on earth, with fish stocks and other goods and services worth an estimated $54.3 billion annually. Today, however, human activities – oil and gas exploration, diamond mining, marine transport and fishing – are endangering this natural habitat on which vast marine life depends.1
Towards a Solution
To remedy this challenge, government leaders from Angola, Namibia and South Africa have jointly established the transboundary Benguela Current Commission, which aims to improve the management of the ecosystem. The Commission promotes a coordinated regional approach to the long-term conservation, protection, rehabilitation, enhancement and sustainable use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem to provide economic, environmental and social benefits to participating countries without damaging the environment. It is considered an outstanding model of South-South cooperation that benefits countries throughout the region.
The Commission applies the large marine ecosystem approach to ocean governance, guided by explicit goals, executed through regionally agreed policies, protocols and practices, and made adaptable through research and monitoring. It does so using the best available understanding of the ecological interactions and processes needed to sustain ecosystem composition, structure and function. The method uses the tried and tested transboundary diagnostic analysis that identifies major transboundary stressors and focuses on positive actions to offset threats to the ocean in order to recover depleted fish populations, restore degraded habitats and reduce coastal pollution.
Although still in its early stages, the actions of the Commission have led to analyses and the creation of a strategic action programme and a regional scientific advisory body, which together provide a shared vision for action to protect participating countries’ economic and community interests in the Benguela Current.
As a result, the countries have committed more than $18 million to the action plan, including staff, laboratories, equipment and the use of research vessels. The Commission has also set up a regional support structure that features a regional network (connected to a global network) to share experiences, skills, knowledge and good practices that are changing the way in which participating countries develop and manage their common marine ecosystem. Sustainability is built into the Commission’s legally binding convention and its strategic action programme, with a strong capacity-building component for stakeholders and governments. Other regions and countries have already picked up on the Benguela example, such as the Humboldt Current Large Marine Ecosystem Project, the African large marine ecosystem projects (for the Canary, Guinea, Agulhas and Somali currents), the fisheries refugia in the South China Sea, and the Global Ballast (GloBallast) Water Management Programme. The replication of the model hinges on close cooperation and the funding of participating countries.
URL of the practice
|NAME OF SOLUTION||Countries||SDG||Project Status|
Accelerating the Transformational Shift to a Low-Carbon Economy in Mauritius Towards supplying 35 percent of the country’s energy needs with renewables by 2025
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Advanced International Training Programme on Municipal Finance and Local Democracy across Five African Countries Pioneering the proof of concept that greater impact in capacity development for local governments requires a hybrid of methodologies to unlock resource flows
|Angola, Namibia, South Africa||01 - No Poverty||Ongoing||View Details|
African School of Humanitarian Forensic Action Improving the forensic capacities of African countries
|Angola, Namibia, South Africa||17 - Partnerships for the Goals||Completed||View Details|
AGREM +: Making the Mining Sector a Lever for Local Development Support for improved governance of mining royalties
|Angola, Namibia, South Africa||16 - Peace and Justice Strong Institutions||Ongoing||View Details|
An Innovative e-Learning Approach for Health: Pre- and in-service training for medical students and health workers for quality health service coverage Improving coverage and quality of health services in disadvantaged areas of Viet Nam
|Angola, Namibia, South Africa||03 - Good Health and Well-being||Completed||View Details|