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The BCLME Programme

BCLME logoThe BCLME Programme was implemented in the Benguela region between 2002 and 2008. Its objective was to improve the structures and capacities of Namibia, Angola and South Africa to deal with the environmental problems that occur across national boundaries, in order that the BCLME may be managed in a coordinated and integrated way.

The BCLME Programme was funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which contributed USD15.2 million through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the regional initiative. The GEF's funding complemented an investment of USD16 million by the three countries, and over USD7 million from other sources such as the Benguela Environment Fisheries Training Interactions Programme, BENEFIT.

The BCLME Programme gathered a wealth of knowledge about the Benguela Current LME. By funding and supporting 75 projects and activities, the BCLME Programme was able to construct a comprehensive picture of the status of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem. The projects were implemented by a wide variety of clients, including government institutes, universities, private consultancies and BENEFIT. Each project was designed to address trans-boundary environmental problems and contribute to the integrated and sustainable management of the Benguela Large Marine Ecosystem.

For instance, a cluster of projects investigated the cumulative impact of offshore marine diamond mining on the Benguela Current LME while a second cluster of projects assessed and mapped the biodiversity of the estuarine, coastal, near-shore and offshore environments of the region.

Fisheries were a major focus of the BCLME Programme, not only because they are a vital source of food and employment for people in coastal villages, towns and cities throughout the region, but also because they are severely affected by environmental change.

Extreme environmental events, including the sustained warming of the ocean (called Benguela Niño) and large-scale eruptions of sulphur were also assessed by the Programme.

The knowledge generated by the BCLME Programme resulted in an acknowledgement by the governments of Angola, Namibia and South Africa that improvements in policy, legislation and management practices are required to guarantee the future sustainability of fisheries and the associated environment of the Benguela Current LME.