The Development of the BCLME Programme
The Development of the BCLME Programme

The Benguela Fisheries Interaction Training Programme, BENEFIT, was established by Angola, Namibia and South Africa in 1995. The primary goals of BENEFIT are to promote the optimal and sustainable utilisation of the Benguela ecosystem’s living resources, by studying the fisheries resources of the region and the environmental factors which influence these resources.

A key objective of BENEFIT is to develop human capacity and infrastructure in marine science and technology, particularly in Angola and Namibia.

The BCLME Programme developed simultaneously with BENEFIT. A draft proposal was submitted to the GEF for funding through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 1997. The proposal was subsequently approved by GEF/UNDP and a schedule of activities was drawn up.

A PDF Block B-grant of U$344,000 was allocated the region for the purpose of developing the BCLME Programme. At the time, the BCLME Programme was managed by a steering committee representing the fisheries, environment and energy sectors of Angola, Namibia and South Africa, under the direction of a regional coordinator. The project funds were administered by the UNDP office in Windhoek, Namibia.

First Regional Workshop

In July 1998 the first regional BCLME workshop was held in Cape Town. The workshop, which was attended by approximately 100 regional and international experts and stakeholders, and moderated by an independent international facilitator, generated a wealth of information relevant to the development of a viable BCLME Programme.

The objectives of the Workshop were to identify environmental issues, problems and constraints in the Benguela; to attempt to prioritise these and propose possible solutions; to forge consensus among the various stakeholders and role-players; and to develop a feasible work plan and a mechanism for consultation and cooperation.

A stakeholders’ meeting, which was held after the workshop, focused on issues such as communication, budget, donor involvement, studies and consultancies, project coordination and the work plan.

Synthesis and Assessment of Information on the Benguela Current LME

Subsequent to the first regional workshop, consultants were appointed to prepare comprehensive syntheses and assessments of information on the Benguela Current LME. This resulted in the production of six thematic reports, or integrated overviews, on:

  • Fisheries

  • Oceanography and environmental variability

  • Diamond mining

  • Coastal environments

  • Off-shore oil and gas exploration/production

  • Socio-economics of some key maritime industries

(Click here to view the Thematic Reports)

Second Regional Workshop

A second regional BCLME Workshop was held near Windhoek, Namibia, during April 1999. At this workshop, the thematic reports were briefly reviewed. These syntheses, together with the output from the first workshop, served as a basis for the development of a draft Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA). The 40 participants, all of whom were either regional experts on the Benguela region, or international LME experts, addressed the three major issues in the BCLME, including:

  • Utilisation of resources;

  • Environmental variability; and

  • Ecosystem health and pollution.

Excellent progress was made at the workshop. The essential elements of the TDA were formulated and prioritised and the proceedings of the workshop formed the basis for the current TDA. Prior to the conclusion of the workshop, the framework for the Strategic Action Plan was defined and a work plan for the BCLME Programme’s project development phase was formulated.

The Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA)

The Transboundary Diagnostic Analyses (TDA) provides and overview of major transboundary problems, generic root causes and areas requiring action in the BCLME. Seven major transboundary problems were identified, their root causes established, and suites of action formulated.

Regional action was identified in three main areas:

  • Sustainable management and utilisation of resources;

  • Assessment of environmental variability, ecosystem impacts and improvement of predictability; and

  • Maintenance of ecosystem health and management of pollution.

(Click here to view the TDA).

Strategic Action Programme (SAP) for the BCLME

The Strategic Action Programme is a concise document that outlines regional policy for the integrated sustainable management of the BCLME, as agreed by the governments of Angola, Namibia and South Africa. The SAP:

  • Details the challenges faced by the region

  • Establishes the principles that are fundamental to integrated management in the region;

  • Specifies the nature, scope and timetable for deliverable management policy actions;

  • Details the institutional arrangements for ensuring delivery;

  • Elaborates on cooperation between the BCLME region and external institutions;

  • Specifies how the BCLME Programme will be financed during the start-up and implementation phase;

  • Outlines approaches to ensure the long-term self-funding of the integrated management of the BCLME.

The Strategic Action Programme was signed by seven ministers from Angola, Namibia and South Africa in January 2000. (Click here to view the SAP)

The Project Brief and Project Document

The Project Brief contains a concise description of the BCLME Programme. It also contains information about baseline contributions from the three participating countries, co-financing by regional programmes such as BENEFIT, and incremental funding from the GEF. The Project Brief sets detailed timelines.

In January 2000, the Project Brief was sent to the GEF Secretariat for submission to the GEF Council. It was also sent to the GEF Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STAP).

In March 2000, the GEF Council approved the BCLME Programme and the Interim Steering Committee met to consider the appointment of a Chief Technical Advisor for the Programme.

The Project Document was developed after the Project Brief. It is a more complete version of the Project Brief and is regarded as the business plan for the implementation of the BCLME Programme. It is a legally binding document and was formally signed by Angola, Namibia and South Africa, UNDP and UNOPS in March 2002.

(Click here to view the Project Document)

Following the appointment of a Chief Technical Advisor, the implementation phase of the BCLME Programme began.