Forest Conservation Botswana (FCB) has up to date paid out close to P40 million to fund projects across 10 districts in the country.
FCB is a company registered under Botswana`s Companies Act and mandated to manage the Tropical Forest Conservation Fund (TFCF) in Botswana. It started its operations in 2009 ansd so far funded 42 proejcts across the country.
FCB’s Public Relations Officer, Lorato Mongatane says the establishment of FCB was triggered by the enactment of the Tropical Forest Conservation Act in 1998. It was enacted by the Government of the United States of America to offer eligible developing countries options to relieve certain official debt owed to the US while generating funds to support local tropical forest conservation activities.
“To be eligible for TFCA, developing countries had to have a tropical forest of global and regional significance and meet certain political and economic criteria established in the law. The funds were meant to conserve tropical forests including the Okavango Delta (World Heritage site) and the Chobe National Park,” enlightened Mongatane.
The main aim of TFCF is to support communities, institutions and individuals in the conservation, maintenance and restoration of tropical forest areas through activities that are consistent with the Forest Act and Forest Policy.
She explained that the funds are used to support grants to maintain, conserve and restore the country’s forest resources within and outside protected areas. And that programming is guided by the priority areas outlined in the Forest Conservation Strategy namely; Forest Resource Management aimed at promoting sustainable management of forest resources and curb forest resources degeneration; promoting sustainable use of forest resources to generate local benefits and forest appreciation.
“The following project categories have been funded since inception; restoration or regeneration projects, research projects, natural resources management systems projects, Indigenous Tree Nurseries, Agro Forestry/Conservation Agriculture and Environmental Education, as well as development and support of community livelihoods.”
Funds are also used for Resource Management of Forest reserves (Protected Areas) which are aimed at; restoration of forest resources and promotion of sustainable multiple use of forest reserves.
For Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM), Mongatane said the program aims at forest appreciation and conservation so as to increase the benefits of forest resources for local communities and improving the appreciation of forest resources and the need to conserve them.