SA signs new Benguela Current pact

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South Africa has signed and adopted the new Benguela Current Commission (BCC) with Angola and Namibia, which will see the three countries work together in marine conservation matters.

The agreement is a five-year strategic plan that aims to promote the long-term conservation and protection of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem.

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa on Thursday adopted the agreement on behalf of the South African government in Namibe, Angola.

Her delegation comprised the Mineral Resources, Transport and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Departments.
“The convention gives us all an opportunity to work together in addressing all these cross-cutting constraints that we face as member states of this commission,” said the Minister.

She said the BCC was a platform for the three countries to find sustainable ways of using the mutual ocean space.
“…We have tremendous potential to enhance our respective economies. It is therefore befitting to say that alone one can go fast, but together we can go very far,” said Minister Molewa.

The agreement also seeks to promote a coordinated regional approach to rehabilitation, enhancement and sustainable use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem to provide economic, environmental and social benefits.

The partnership between the countries is expected to address key issues around the sustainable development of oceans, which will see the countries benefiting from marine transport and manufacturing, offshore oil and gas mining and fisheries.

The new plan comes soon after the governments of the three countries had recently completed the domestic ratification processes for the formal establishment of the convention.

The BCC gains even more prominence in the South African context, as the country implements Operation Phakisa, which places marine resources at the centre of the economy.

Operation Phakisa is aimed at fast-tracking the delivery of the priorities outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP), which is the country’s blueprint for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality.