Monday, August 23, 2010

Second BCC Ministerial Conference

The second Ministerial Conference of the Benguela Current Commission (BCC) is scheduled to take place in Cape Town on 2 September 2010. While the Minister's of Fisheries from Namibia and Angola will attend as representatives of their respective countries, it is unclear who will represent South Africa. It could either be the Minister of Fisheries or the Minister of Environmental Affairs.

The first Ministerial Conference took place two years ago and addressed a number of critical institutional arrangements affecting the management and administration of the BCC. The second Ministerial Conference will no doubt have to address the fundamental issue of adopting a final agreement establishing the BCC as the current BCC was established in terms of an interim agreement. A final agreement is required in order to secure long term and sustainable funding for the various regional marine ecosystem projects and for administration and operational costs.

The second Ministerial Conference will also be attended by fisheries ministers who have never previously participated in the BCC and they may wish to stamp their respective marks on the objectives of the BCC and the projects undertaken over the next two years at least. For example, the various funded BCC projects have a complete bias toward research and marine science with no emphasis on fisheries management or understanding the socio-economic relevance of fisheries and marine aquaculture in developing countries. If the BCC is to remain remotely relevant to the economies of Angola, Namibia and South Africa, this skewed bias toward research and science will have to be corrected.

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