The Department of Environmental Affairs has announced that South Africa, represented by Water and Environmental Affairs Minister, Edna Molewa, will sign the Benguela Current Convention, an environmental treaty with the governments of Angola and Namibia. “The is a formal agreement between the three governments and seeks to promote 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,” the department said.
Minister Molewa is the current chairperson of the Benguela Current Convention and, as such, South Africa had played an important role in drafting and negotiating the Convention text. The Benguela Current constitutes the boundaries of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME), an area of ocean space stretching from Benguela in western Angola to Port Elizabeth in South Africa.
The department said by signing the Benguela Current Convention, Angola, Namibia and South Africa will agree to manage the BCLME in a cooperative and sustainable way for the benefit of coastal people who depend on the ecosystem for food, work and well-being. The Convention will also establish the Benguela Current Commission – in existence since 2007 – as a permanent inter-governmental organisation with a mandate to promote the long-term conservation, protection, rehabilitation, enhancement and sustainable use of the BCLME. “At the heart of the Convention is the concept of the ecosystem approach: 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.”