Finalist-PhilBlogAwards 2010

Finalist-PhilBlogAwards 2010
Finalist for society, politics, history blogs



Sunday, June 30, 2013



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

A movement to include the disabled persons is now rolling across the globe. The goal is to include those with disabilities in the development game. This is a most welcome development for the disabled persons, which includes me as my eyes are now badly near-sighted (w/ -700 diagnosis on each eye) complicated by blurred vision and color blindness.

There is a problem though in the gathering of data for the disabled, and also in the accessibility to data. The problem has created a data gap that has served as quite a barrier to effective policy-making and executory interventions for those with disabilities.

In the Philippines, there has been a rough estimation of the frequency of the disabled, with the thumb rule fixed at 10% of the total population. Legislators, with the aid of social research experts, better review the social policies that address the Disabled Persons, as the total of disabled persons could be much higher.

The Philippine country case validates the observation that there has been an underreporting of the frequency of disabled persons. Which now implies that the legislation enabling policy interventions for the disabled ones is largely a mish mash of politicized guesswork.

Below is a discussion on the subject culled from

[Manila, 20 June 2013]

Focus on Disability: Policymakers need accurate data

Sue Coe
12 June 2013 | EN
Data gaps on disability need to be filled if future development goals are to be robustly monitored, says Sue Coe.

A UN panel's report last month on the post-2015 development agenda called for a 'data revolution' to monitor the impact of new global development goals and ensure the world's poorest people get the support they need. The report says that large data gaps and data inaccessibility lead to unreliable baseline data against which to judge progress.

The global disability movement will applaud this finding. Lack of investment in accurate data capture on disability has hindered the advancement of disability inclusion in development work for decades.

·                       Data gaps hinder the advancement of disability inclusion in development work
·                       National surveys often hugely under-report disability
·                       New methods could ensure data collection considers disability accessibility and inclusion
Robust research has established that the true proportion of people with impairments in developing countries is in the ten to 20 per cent range. Yet national census data tend to report rates of one to three per cent. [1]

A key reason for statistical under-reporting on disability is that most surveys do not seek to capture information on impairments. Another widespread — but generally unacknowledged — issue is that people with disabilities are often not regarded as worthy of declaration for data inclusion. Disabled children in particular are sometimes regarded as almost 'subhuman'. Such stigma also leads families and communities to hide disabled children and adults when data surveyors visit homes to ask questions on the household and the community.

Future data collection on disability must be based on the human-rights principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Since its advent in 2008, 131 countries have ratified the convention. Article 31 obliges these states to collect disaggregated data to inform policies, while still ensuring confidentiality and respect for the privacy of disabled people. [2]

A relatively new approach to data collection on disability is emerging from the UN-convened Washington Group on Disability Statistics. It provides highly practical approaches to statistical data collection based on a short set of simple questions on functionality, rather than interviewees self-declaring whether or not they have a "disability". Examples include "Do you have difficulty seeing, even if wearing glasses" and "Do you have difficulty walking or climbing steps".

And 2013 is yielding new, exciting developments in data-collection approaches, building upon the Washington Group questions. The Model Disability Survey, sponsored by the World Health Organization and the World Bank, is seeking to develop standardised questions to monitor the CRPD's implementation. [3]

Approaches such as these could help ensure that the collection of up-to-date development data to monitor the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals fully takes disability accessibility and inclusion into account.
Sue Coe has worked in international development for 25 years across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Now a development and disability inclusion consultant, she previously worked for World Vision, Practical Action (formerly ITDG), VSO and Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID). Coe can be contacted at


[1] Samman, E. and Rodriguez-Takeuchi, L.K. Old age, disability and mental health: data issues for a post-2015 framework (Overseas Development Institute, May 2013)

[2] UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN, 2006)

[3] Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München ModelDisabilitySurvey (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, retrieved 11 June 2013)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

The World Commission of the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge [COMEST] has been among the global initiators for drafting a framework governing the adaptation of ethical standards and practices by the countries of the planet. Many international agreements and resolutions on climate change were already generated from 1990 onwards, and more are in the pipeline.

Given the diversity of cultural and political systems across the globe, it is a big challenge for member countries of the United Nations to agree on a unified set of ethical standards. So the minimum output of international summits is to draft frameworks for the moment.

The principles adopted or agreed upon include the “need to avoid causing unnecessary harm.” Related to this is “to treat all individuals fairly and to provide equitable access to a decent standard of living.”
Who on earth would disagree with such ethical principles?

Below is a reportage on the subject matter.

[Manila, 11 June 2013]

Experts push ethical case for climate adaptation policies

David Dickson
30 May 2013 | EN
[BRATISLAVA] The strong ethical case for governments and individuals to help communities adapt to the threats of climate change — on top of purely practical or political factors — is emphasised in a report by the top UN committee responsible for monitoring science ethics.

Climate adaptation policies need to acknowledge and express ethical principles already enshrined in international agreements, according to the report approved yesterday (29 May) by the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) at a meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia.

·                       Adaptation policies should express principles in existing international agreements
·                       These include the need to avoid unnecessary harm and the right to access data
·                       A new report fleshes out a framework for adaptation policies
Such principles include the need to avoid causing unnecessary harm, to treat all individuals fairly and to provide equitable access to a decent standard of living, says the commission, which operates under the auspices of UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

The principles also include the need to recognise the right to access and benefit from scientific information, which could strengthen poorer developing countries' demands for access to climate data obtained by richer nations using complex or expensive monitoring equipment.

"The report sets out what anyone who is involved in policymaking on climate change adaptation should be responsible for," said Rainier Ibana, chair of the philosophy department of the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, as well as of the COMEST working group on environmental ethics, which produced the report.

"We are not only addressing [central] government policymakers," Ibanez told SciDev.Net during the meeting. "At a local level, for example, we hope that our principles could be put up on the wall of a mayor's office."

According to Ibanez, one important aspect of the report is its emphasis on the ethical reasons for addressing the needs of the most vulnerable members of any community, expressed as the need to respect "intellectual and moral solidarity".

The report says: "Because the poorest people are already struggling with day-to-day survival, the poorest countries will face more difficulties as they attempt to overcome the damage done by climate change — flood, storm, rainfall, weather-related illnesses — and to find ways to adapt themselves".

It also underlines some of the responsibilities that need to be exercised by all those involved in creating and applying adaptation policy.

For example, the report says that the exchange of knowledge vital for adaptation policies should not be a one-way street, with policymakers learning about these issues not only from scientists but also from local and indigenous sources.

"[Such sources] also have specific knowledge relevant to adaptation to climate change that should be drawn on, and indeed shared where relevant", it says.

The report provides a detailed justification of a two-page declaration that the commission adopted in 2011 as an ethical framework for climate adaptation policies.

The framework followed a 2009 decision to abandon efforts to produce a universal set of ethical principles on combating climate change due to countries' cultural and political differences.

By limiting itself to providing a framework, COMEST has left it to individual countries to decide how they will express their own ethical principles in their climate change policies and related activities.

The commission also decided that, to speed up deliberations, it would initially focus on the ethics of adaptation policies, setting to one side the trickier area of the ethics of mitigation policies.

COMEST member Workineh Kelbessa Golga, associate professor of philosophy at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, said the report will be "a very useful document, particularly for those in developing countries who need to know what their responsibilities are for combating climate change".

According to Ibana, the next step will be to expand the working group's agenda to include the ethical aspects of climate mitigation.

Monday, June 17, 2013



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Retooling our small farmers in the developing world in order to catch up on precision farming is the trend of the present. Among the benefits of the farming trend are the usage of GPS and related satellite-tracked knowledge to constantly monitor soil content and analysis.

Having been engaged in tasks concerning food security before, inclusive of micro-finance for marginal farmers and fisherfolks, I am aware of the fact that knowledge of farming in the poor rural communities is a matter of communitarian sharing of what community members know and practice in food production. The small planters in my country in particular have already retooled massively across the decades, thus exhibiting an innovative behavior [as sociologist Gelia Castillo described it] that made them depart radically from small planters of past generations.

Capacitating farmers to tool anew for precision farming is a viable undertaking in the developing world, this I can guarantee as a development worker. The first thing to do is to install rural interconnectivity internet in all rural communities [this technology was already perfected in the University of the Philippines c. 2007 yet]. All other facets of technology learning will follow from this one.

Many sons and daughters of small planters are computer literate, so the younglings can be pooled into a resource group to help the peasants in their technology literacy. Compact computers [laptops, notebooks, Ipads] are now available at very affordable prices, which can be surfed so easily in any rural community that has its own internet connectivity facility.

An article from the is shared below that tackles the subject matter of precision farming and traditional knowledge.

[Manila, 06 June 2013]

Traditional knowledge 'can enable precision farming'

Lou Del Bello
28 May 2013
Farmers in developing countries could take advantage of the emerging field of precision farming without needing the expensive technology usually associated with it, a geostatistics expert says.

Crop yields could be improved by applying traditional knowledge to mirror precision techniques such as using the satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) to analyse farm land, says Margaret Oliver, a visiting research fellow at the University of Reading's Soil Research Centre in the United Kingdom.

In a paper in Significance, she says geostatistical analyses of data from sensors both on land and from satellites are "becoming increasingly standard for all kinds of crop production and will be of crucial importance in the near future as the world faces increasing issues of food security".


·                       Precision farming uses high-tech methods to maximise crop yields
·                       But smallholder farmers can apply local knowledge to similar effect
·                       Large-scale precision farming is also taking off in parts of the developing world
Such data can be used to build a map of soil biochemistry, which can help farmers improve crop yields and resistance to disease. The cost of technology, which can also include high-tech farming machinery, has so far kept precision farming methods mostly in developed nations, although emerging economies are taking it up.

But Oliver says smallholder farmers can instead apply their traditional knowledge. "By working on the same area for years, they can map ­the soil like GPS would do, knowing which corners are more or less productive, which are drier or wetter," she tells SciDev.Net.

They can then spread manure in the best places, design more targeted irrigation systems and plant seeds where the soil is more fertile.

"In the developing world, farming is more about knowledge, which is shared within the community, than expensive machinery," adds Oliver.

She believes a first step towards combining traditional and precision agriculture should be education.

"Farmers should be helped to realise how much can be done by simply adjusting some of their usual practices, like watering or spreading manure on fields," she says. "Education on precision farming should be part of the aid programmes already in place, and cost would be minimal compared with expensive machinery."

Matteo Zucchelli, a sales manager at Trimble, a company supplying technology for precision farming, says that while yield improvements can be achieved without expensive machinery on a small scale, the main potential for the developing world and for emerging economies is large-scale change, which requires investment in technology.

"In Latin America high-tech precision farming is widespread by now because the economies of these countries is more industrialised and investors can afford the machinery," Zucchelli says. "But the approach may vary depending on the context."

In Brazil, for example, "the gross domestic product is in constant growth, due to industrial agriculture and manufacturing. However, in Africa the situation is probably different and a small-scale approach, which relies on traditional knowledge instead of technology, might suit local economies best, even though the positive effects will be reduced," Zucchelli says.

Link to abstract

Tuesday, June 11, 2013



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Crispin Maslog of the Philippines, who previously worked for the International Rice Research Institute, cogitates about the practice of rain harvesting as a viable water crisis intervention measure. I couldn’t agree more with this noblesse gentleman from environmentalist circles in Southeast Asia.

I still recall all too well in the early 80s, when I began my career as a development worker, how a municipal government decided to convert a mountainous part of the town of Solana into a water catchment. Being a rice producer, the town of Solana, of Cagayan Province, has more than ample water supply at that time coming from the freshly started irrigation projects. Yet the presence of irrigation facilities didn’t stop the mayor of the town [name now escapes my memory] to conceptualize, along with his able staff, such a project.

The catchment had multiple purposes, with irrigation or water for crop production only among the common usages. It can also be used for bath, washing stuff, and even as potable water for drinking. I honestly highly appreciated the project, and was directed to opine that all rural towns in the Philippines for that matter should construct their equivalent of water catchments.

Well, the good news is that the Congress of the Philippine republic legislated a law that enforced the construction of water catchments in all of the local villages of the country. The bad news is that the law wasn’t implemented as originally conceptualized.

Below is the interesting reportage on the subject by Crispin Maslog.

[Manila, 02 June 2013]

Asia–Pacific Analysis: Rain harvesting can avert crisis

Crispin Maslog
29 May 2013 | EN
To ensure South-East Asias's growing population has enough water to drink, we need to collect more rain, says Crispin Maslog.

The world's next major crisis will be a lack of water for home use, including drinking water, many scientists predict. Humans can survive around 40 days without food, but much less than that without water to drink.

The scarcity of water for domestic use is becoming a critical problem, especially in rural parts of developing countries. Surface water in rivers, streams or lakes, and groundwater, are increasingly becoming contaminated with pollutants from factories, households, farms and mines. Wells dug deeper to extract groundwater are drying up. [1]
·                       Water scarcity is becoming a critical problem, but rainwater can provide a solution
·                       Rain is stored in jars in Thailand and on roofs in Singapore
·                       But only governments can drive consistent, centralised efforts to collect rainwater
To meet the water demands of an exploding population, it is time to look up to the sky for the solution: harvesting rainwater as it falls.

As well as for drinking, rainwater serves various needs. It can be used domestically, for example to wash clothes, flush toilets and to water plants, and in the community, for instance in firefighting or to clean public places such as markets, and for agriculture.

If properly done, "rainwater harvesting appears to be one of the most promising alternatives for supplying freshwater in the face of increasing water scarcity and escalating demand", according to the UN Environment Programme. [2] Water catchments, whether it is just small ponds or large dams, can also be used for flood control.

Updating an ancient practice

Harvesting rain for domestic use has age-old roots. Ancient Romans used their villa courtyards to collect rainwater that was then stored in large underground cisterns.

Rainwater harvesting in Asia can be traced back to about the ninth century, when the small-scale collection of rain from roofs and simple dams began in rural parts of South and South-East Asia.

Today, rainwater harvesting is commonly practised in parts of East Africa, central Australia and Central America, as well as in Japan, Mexico, Singapore and Thailand, among others.

Countries in South-East Asia and the Pacific enjoy abundant rainfall spread fairly evenly throughout the year, albeit with peaks during the monsoon season that normally occurs between July and December. Annual rainfall in the region typically ranges between 1,500 and 2,500 millimetres, although mountain areas have in excess of 4,000 millimetres. [3] Such massive downpours often cause flooding in lowland areas.

The monsoon season is obviously the peak time for water harvesting. It makes sense for the region to consider widespread, systematic harvesting of rainwater for domestic, agricultural and industrial uses.

Varying practices

Modern rainwater harvesting practices in the region vary from country to country. 

In Singapore, which has limited land and where most people live in high-rise buildings, rooftop rainwater harvesting is widely practised. Collected water is kept in separate roof cisterns for non-potable uses. The country's Changi Airport has a large rainwater harvesting system that collects rain from the runways and the surrounding green areas in two reservoirs. The water is used mainly for firefighting drills and toilet flushing. [4]

For Thailand, which has the lowest per capita volume of freshwater in Asia, rainwater harvesting provides a major alternative supply. 'Rain jars' — vessels of up to 3,000 litres that catch water from roofs — have always been part of its culture. In rural northeastern Thailand, "a home was not a home unless it had one huge rainwater jar", according to Thai writer Cezar Tigno. [5]

The Philippine Congress passed a law in 1989 that required each of the country's 42,000 villages to build rainwater collectors or ponds mainly for aquaculture use as well as to minimise the risk of flooding, to provide water for areas on the banks with vegetation and small parks, and to recharge badly depleted groundwater. [6]

However, more than two decades later, because of the lack of implementation by local governments, only a handful of these collectors have been constructed.

Directly harnessing rainwater

There appear to be four ways to bring about rainwater harvesting: introduce legislation requiring every new home to include a harvesting system before a building permit is approved; create laws requiring villages to build communal ponds; draw up legislation requiring every industrial plant or complex to build a harvesting system to meet its water needs; or to build proper drainage, water recycling or underground reservoir systems for cities. Most engineers think that this centralised system is more viable than the three other fragmented approaches.

So governments must lead the way. The mystery is why governments in South-East Asia and the Pacific have not gone all out in tapping this abundant natural water supply. To harness rainwater, what is needed is consistent public policy and political will.
Crispin Maslog is a Manila-based consultant for the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication. A former journalist, professor and environmental activist, he worked for the Press Foundation of Asia and the International Rice Research Institute.

This article has been produced by SciDev.Net's South-East Asia & Pacific desk.


[1] Luong, T.V. Harvesting the rain: A construction manual for cement rainwater jars and tanks (UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office, 2002)

[2] UN Environment Programme Sourcebook of Alternative Technologiesfor Freshwater Augmentation in Some Countries in Asia (UNEP, 1998)

[3] Sehgal, J.D. Roof-Top Harvesting of Rainwater: A Sustainable Water Resource in S.E. Asia (4th International Conference on Sustainable Water Environment: Innovative Technologies and Energy Efficient Solutions, 2008)

[4] UN Environment Programme Examples of Rainwater Harvesting and UtilisationAround the World (UNEP, retrieved 24 May 2013)

[5] Tigno, C. Thailand: Promoting Rainwater Harvesting,Preserving Rain Water Jar Culture (Scribd, 2007)

[6] Oposa T., Jr. Implement 1989 rainwater collection law (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2009)

Friday, June 07, 2013



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

There is a hubris going on around communicators’ circles that science and civil society organizations do not exactly meet or converge. Having come from the developmental NGOs for nearly two (2) decades, there is no truth to the observation.

Unless of course that the public communicators would want to delimit science to mean ‘natural science’, a term that is no longer in use today. Research work is the standard work of science, and there is nary a NGO, more so a national NGO in my country, that doesn’t engage in serious research.

The NGO research I talk about concern the advocacy line of the organization involved. National NGOs are pretty stringent in their screening of volunteers and staff, and often the paid staff are college graduates coming from the social sciences and business management fields.

The physical, biological, and health science fields have their own respective NGO advocacy groups in the Philippines, and I presume this is so in the greater Asia. Since they have cross-cutting areas of concern with those in the social advocacy domains, they in fact collaboratively work in alliances with the latter.

At any rate, the report coming from the communicators’ circle about the science-NGO gap is shown below.

[Manila, 30 May 2013]

Making space for science in NGO practice

22 May 2013 | EN | ES
Giacomo Pirozzi/Panos
There is a largely unexplored landscape of opportunity for collaboration between scientists and development practitioners.

The theme of this year's Annual Ministerial Review of the UN Economic and Social Council is the potential of science and technology to deliver sustainable development.

In spite of such a noble gathering's intentions, it is an open secret in international development that practitioners and scientists do not meet that often. Indeed, a quick look at the Review's programme suggests that none of the guest speakers will be scientists, though Virgin's Richard Branson will presumably speak of entrepreneurial innovation.

·                       Poor science-NGO links are a missed opportunity
·                       Making the most of it needs understanding of differing views and drivers
·                       Research and development funders should jointly support collaboration
Last year, a study by SciDev.Net suggested that more than 90 per cent of civil society organisations working on development in Sub-Saharan Africa did not follow developments in science and technology. The statistics were equally concerning in other regions.

Despite this gap, the articles published as part of this week's Spotlight suggest that by challenging a few assumptions about how research planning should work, and adapting current funding patterns, there are better relationships and results to be had.

Opportunity — but challenging terrain

The Spotlight explores challenges to a closer relationship between scientists and NGO development practitioners. Some articles examine the rationale for a closer working relationship while others go further and discuss examples of collaborations that have worked.

The overview article sets out the landscape, recognising the vast operational space that we are seeking to make generalisations about, while acknowledging some emergent trends. SciDev.Net special features editor Anita Makri describes the various ways in which scientific practice appears at odds with the concerns of development workers.

Much of this revolves around different ideas about what makes knowledge useful and valid, as well as divergent work flows and institutional contexts. For instance, while politics has a clear and often welcome role in NGO practice, it is problematic in the natural sciences. However, the article usefully maps the various motivations and opportunities for past, present and future collaborations.

One area that immediately emerges as a concern is under-investment in delivering science to where it is needed — in the science of delivery. In an opinion article, Harry Jones, from the UK's Overseas Development Institute, argues that work to promote science uptake is too often focused at the national and policy level.

Jones maintains that the most valuable examples of science's contribution to development have included community engagement, and are concerned explicitly with rolling-out and applying scientific innovation. Perhaps most significantly, he says that applying models of collective action are the best ways to manage the cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional coalitions needed for applied science.

Our Spotlight feature article provides some inspiring examples of how NGOs can help deliver scientific and technical innovations to communities. In one instance, a human rights NGO enters an unexpected technology partnership to produce a 'kidnap alert' bracelet. And in another example, bottom-up entrepreneurship has catalysed solar lighting sales and technology development in Africa. Both organisations make a compelling call for "user-focused approaches" to planning research.

Little incentive to bridge gaps

However, Charlie McLaren, from the UK Collaborative on Development Sciences, reflects on the substantive challenges to scaling up NGO and science partnerships. He points to research funders' relatively limited investment in the knowledge exchange agenda, even for those funders operating nominally in the development sector.

The reasons relate to incentive structures and training for researchers, neither of which privilege non-academic partnerships. However, McLaren points out that investments in researchers' capacity to engage NGOs really should be matched by similar investment in NGOs' capacity to engage research. As things stand, there is certainly more talk about the former than the latter.

Rachel Hayman, from the International NGO Training and Research Centre (INTRAC) in the UK, takes this consideration further. Moving beyond the normal ambition to turn research into action, she calls for turning action into research.

Hayman considers how NGOs typically generate and source knowledge, and identifies a number of gaps between their capabilities as stakeholders and how scientists conceive research agendas, and approach dissemination.

And Dipak Gyawali, of the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, argues that Southern NGOs should take a more clearly challenging role as stakeholders in development policy. He charts the growth of NGOs over recent decades and finds that in having become associated with Northern policy that sidesteps Southern governments, their role has been compromised by the funding and power of foreign aid.

Yet Gyawali sees these organisations as essential to science-based policy, and to a renewed relationship between global know-how and local empowerment.

Invest in collaboration

Often, the science of delivery is understood as starting with the end user of research in mind. But achieving delivery is both easier and more complex than that.

While in practice, much research effort starts with little concern for either demand or capabilities for applying it, sometimes it is difficult to conceive a priori where scientific knowledge will have a great impact. There are many examples of this throughout the history of science, from radio waves to plastic.

Also, there is a need to make use of what is there already, and not focus all partnerships on generating new knowledge per se. This means that not only should researchers involve end-users earlier in the process, but that practitioners themselves might start seeking solutions by considering what is already available.

To achieve more efficient delivery of science and its innovative applications we need two measures. The first is about investing in people and spaces that allow scientists with substantial local knowledge to focus on roll-out.

Acting as delivery experts, they will innovate by brokering and adapting technologies or by supporting capacity sharing amongst stakeholders, from communities to government agencies. There is clearly a role for NGOs and research institutions in the global South here.

Secondly, research funders and mainstream development funders should become closer partners, sharing responsibility for science in the service of development. A good place to start is allocating more resources to innovating and testing approaches to collaboration between scientists and NGO practitioners. This Spotlight shows there are already some promising examples.

It is a difficult task, but science — and civil society — have risen to greater challenges.

Nick Ishmael Perkins
Director, SciDev.Net

Sunday, June 02, 2013



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

A milestone framework for marine ecosystems was recently agreed upon by Angola, Namibia, and South Africa. The area covered is the world’s largest in terms of concurring framework agreement, which makes it truly laudable.

The framework covers the Benguela Current, a portion of ocean that runs from South Africa down south through Angola up north. Conservation and sustainable use of the zone’s resources were the core content of the framework agreement.

The framework is expected to enable joint uses or resource utilizations where possible. Instead of the three countries competing via resort to wars and conflicts to establish foothold in the area, the same countries concurred amicable usage, with sustainability as core value to observe.

Economic activities in the Benguela Current alone generate around $54 Billions worth of revenues per annum. If the countries resort to tribalist or ethnicist bullying and warfare to establish control of the current, the full potentialities of the $54 Billion revenues will never be achieved. Which makes consensus and legal ways as the best option to follow, the options of civility.

Below is a reportage of the milestone framework.

[Manila, 28 May 2013]

Angola, Namibia and South Africa sign world’s first large marine ecosystem legal framework

30 April 2013

Benguela, Angola — With the signing of the Benguela Current Convention, Angola, Namibia and South Africa will work together on the long-term conservation and sustainable use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem, one of the richest ecosystems on earth.

Stretching from Port Elizabeth in South Africa to the province of Cabinda in northern Angola, the Benguela Current is an area of ocean that produces goods and services estimated to be worth at least US $54.3 billion per year. Offshore oil and gas production, marine diamond mining, coastal tourism and commercial fishing and shipping are some of the most important industrial activities that take place in the region.

At the heart of the Benguela Current Convention is cross-national agreement to use the ecologically- and economically-rich ecosystem in a way that carefully balances its long-term preservation and the needs of the people whose livelihoods depend on its use.

“It is the ideal and most effective way to achieve the sustainable management of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem and ensure the sustainable future of the people who rely on it,” said Maria do Valle Ribeiro, who heads the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Angola.

UNDP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have been providing funding and technical support for regional cooperation around protecting the Benguela Current since the 1990s. Their backing was key to the successful establishment of the Commission in 2007.

“The historic signing of the Benguela Current Convention represents the culmination of many years of research, consultation and negotiation, all of which have been carried out in a spirit of trust and cooperation,” said Hashali Hamukuaya, Executive Secretary of the Benguela Current Commission.

The signing ceremony took place at the seat of the Government of the Province of Benguela and was attended by the Angolan ministers of Fisheries, Science and Technology, Agriculture, Transport and Mines & Energy; the Namibian ministers of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Mines & Energy and Transport; and the South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Water.

A holistic form of ecosystem management is essential to address increasing threats to complex coastal and marine environments, said Deputy CEO of the GEF André Laperriere.

“Sustainable management is not possible without a legal framework such as the one jointly put in place today by the Governments of Angola, Namibia and South Africa,” he said. “The leaders of these countries have clearly shown that it is possible and desirable to see political solutions based on scientific knowledge in order to reverse marine degradation and resource depletion.”