Ministers converge to discuss Benguela Current

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pretoria - Government Ministers from Angola, Namibia and South Africa will meet on Friday to take part in the Ministerial Conference of the Benguela Current Commission.

Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, who is chairperson of the Commission, will be among the five ministers discussing the Commission's progress.

Angola's Deputy Ministers for Petroleum Syanga Kivula Samuel Abilio and Anibal Octavio Da Silva, that country's Secretary of State for Fisheries Victoria de Barros Neto and Nambia's Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Bernard Esau, will also be part of the discussions to take place in South Africa.

The Commission was established by the three countries to help them restore, maintain and conserve the biological integrity of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME), which stretches from Port Elizabeth in the south to the Angolan province of Cabinda in the north. 

The BCLME is considered to be one of the most productive ecosystems in the world and supports important economic activities, such as fishing, mining and oil and gas production. 

While the meeting is expected to deal mostly with matters of institutional capacity building, the ministers are also expected to hear about progress towards a legally binding multilateral convention that will formalise and entrench the Benguela Current Commission, the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs said.

"The three countries are hoping to ratify the convention in 2012. In doing so, they will recognise the unique character of the BCLME and commit themselves to taking joint responsibility for its sustainable management," it added.