the BCLME Programme
| The Benguela region |
About the BCLME Programme
The Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME) Programme is a multinational cross-sectoral initiative by Angola, Namibia and South Africa to manage the living marine resources of the Benguela Current LME in an integrated and sustainable manner and to protect the marine environment. It is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under its International Waters portfolio and is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with the United Nations Office of Programme Services (UNOPS) as an executing agency. The three member countries provide financial and in-kind contributions.
The BCLME Programme focuses on a number of key areas, including fisheries, environmental variability, seabed mining, oil and gas exploration and production, coastal zone management, ecosystem health, socio-economics and governance. The area of interest is the region extending from the northern border of Angola (Cabinda Province) to Port Elizabeth on the southeast coast of South Africa. The east-west boundary extends from the high water mark out to the edge of the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone and further seaward in the region of the Angola-Benguela front.
The Programme has run for five years - from 2002 to 2006 - and was recently extended for a further year, until January 2008. It has a total budget of US$38 million, including in-kind and cash contributions by stakeholders. It designed to address transboundary problems in three key areas of activity: the sustainable management and utilisation of living resources; the assessment of environmental variability, ecosystem impacts and improvement of predictability; and maintenance of ecosystem health and management of pollution.
The BCLME Programme has close associations with other marine orientated GEF-UNDP funded initiatives in the region and with the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The implementation phase of the BCLME Programme began in 2002 when three activity centres were established - one in each of the three partner countries - and a Programme Co-ordination Unit (PCU) was set up in Windhoek, Namibia. One of the main objectives of the activity centres has been to develop and implement projects in the areas of biodiversity, ecosystem health, pollution, marine resources and environmental variability. By January 2007, a total of 75 projects had been formulated and allocated to a wide variety of clients, including government institutes, universities, private consultancies and the regional marine science and training programme, BENEFIT. Many of these projects have been posted to this website.
One of the main goals of the BCLME Programme is to create a Benguela Current Commission (BCC) whose functions and responsibilities include the production of annual assessments, annual ecosystem reports, the provision of advice on harvesting marine resources and other matters related to sustainable resource use, particularly fisheries and the management of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem as a whole.
In August 2006, five government ministers from Angola, Namibia and South Africa, met in Cape Town to sign an Interim Agreement which will lead to the establishment of a Benguela Current Commission. The agreement was later signed by two government ministers from both South Africa and Angola, thereby ushering a new era of cooperation between the three countries of the Benguela.
The BCLME Programme is managed by a Programme Steering Committee (PSC) representing fisheries, environment and energy ministries from Angola, Namibia and South Africa, as well as representatives from SADC, UNDP-GEF and the BENEFIT Programme. It is under the direction of a Chief Technical Advisor, Dr Michael O’Toole, with support from national co-ordinators, Dr Ben van Zyl (Namibia), Dr Larry Hutchings (South Africa) and Mr Nkosi Luyeye (Angola).