Wednesday, August 10, 2022

BLB creates opportunities for growth in green economy

Bird Life Botswana (BLB) will next year roll out a birding tourism project as part of its effort to drive the concept of the green economy in the country.

This is according to the Director of the non-profit making conservation society, Kabelo Senyatso, who said the project pilot program, which is running in selected areas of the country, has proved that multi-stakeholder eco-tourism in the country can work.

The four-year pilot program, which should be completed by the end of this year, has been running in prominent birding sites such as Makgadikgadi.

Senyatso indicated in an interview this week that BLB is also working to have completed by the end of this year the project funding negotiations and multi-stakeholder agreements, which are expected to create opportunities for government, the community and the private sector to generate economic benefits from birding tourism.

The Director indicated that the birding tourism project is expected to build partnership between community trusts, lodges and the Wild life & National Parks department in the management and operation of birding sites. It will be a new thing that, through community trusts, people in the vicinity of birding sites will now be involved in the running of these sites.

“Members of the community will be expected to operate as professional tour guides and run their trusts profitably,” he said.

Senyatso said BLB is currently training the trusts in different areas, such as financial management and conflict resolution.

“We need to be sure that people who are involved in the project are competent to manage business,” he added.

Commenting on the project, one of the first BLB trainees, Benjamin Noga, expressed confidence on programs intended to equip community-based trusts with business management skills, saying they will give them capacity to deal with challenges in their community based bird tourism business.

Senyatso said the society is also in the process of signing agreements with different lodges to establish themselves as birder friendly sites, which can accommodate birding tourists. He said BBL will market the birder friendly lodges in countries with potential bird tourists.

BBL recently went to the United Kingdom to market birding sites in the country. He said they have already mapped out 30 birding sites where they will roll out the project.

“We want to increase the value and appreciation of birds because globally birding tourism is a big industry,” Senyatso said. ┬áHe said statistics show that globally more than 80 billion US dollars is spent in the industry and added that though not yet quantified, Botswana’s contribution is very low because people cannot appreciate birds.

On other issues, Senyatso said the civil society is acting to convince government that green economy projects can simultaneously help eradicate poverty and encourage environmental conservation.

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