Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Botswana aims to have Okavango Delta listed as World Heritage site

The Kalahari Conservation Society (KCS) Chief Executive Officer, Felix Monggae, has said that KCS is positive about Botswana’s bid for the listing of the Okavango Delta as a World Heritage site.

Speaking at a press briefing, Monggae said KCS joins key stakeholders from across Botswana – Government, private and civil society sectors – to prepare for an assessment of the Okavango Delta for World Heritage listing next year.

The World Heritage Listing is undertaken by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, which currently lists 981 properties as part of the cultural and natural heritage from all over the world.

From Botswana, the Tsodilo Hills are the only ones listed in the World Heritage Listing.

Monggae outlined the significance of the Okavango Delta as one of the world’s most pristine riparian systems and its significance extends beyond just Botswana.

“This is our country’s chance to show the world how important conserving our river system is, and to bring international recognition to our natural resources,” said Monggae.

He explained that KCS wants to use the World Heritage listing to protect the wildlife.

Curator Nonofo Mosesane, the Ministry of Monuments and National Museum Chief, also pointed to the “enormous prestige and pride” the World Heritage listing gives sites internationally.

“It helps to promote a site internationally and attract new visitors, and it encourages the highest quality standards for welcoming visitors and managing the site,” said Mosesane.

He added that World Heritage status also makes it easier to negotiate additional funding, protection and or expertise, pointing out that it encourages sustainable development that contributes to improved livelihoods of communities living within the vicinity of the site.

Mosesane explained that, according to the Department of Museums and National Monuments, the Okavango Delta covers over 16,000 square kilometers and supports over 120,000 people by providing freshwater, food, building materials, medicinal plants as well as employment through a viable tourist industry. He said it is one of only 20 percent of the world’s river systems that is still technically ‘wild’ ÔÇô meaning that, to date, there are no dams or human structures that impede its natural functioning. Mosesane said Tsodilo Hills is the only site in Botswana that currently has World Heritage listing status.

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