An evidently excited Chief Executive Officer of Forest Conservation Botswana revealed that his company has grown, continues to grow and has funded positive government’s developments like Strategic Environment Assessments (SEA) for the Chobe District.
Joshua Moloi told his institution’s ninth Annual General Meeting held at MASA hotel, Thursday; that they have funded this project to the tune of P1, 509, 280.00.
The project was scheduled for March 2016 to September 2018 and has been timely completed. Its goal is to undertake SEA to be used as management tool that enables the controlled opening of the reserves to future sustainable resource utilization and eco-tourism entrepreneurship.
The project is meant to establish specific and detailed management systems, for the reserves there which have a huge potential for tourism related activities. All the six Forest Reserves in Botswana are located within Chobe District. Chobe Forest Reserves cover 4207.42 km2 or 3.83% of the total land that were strictly set aside for conservation purposes in 1968.
“The anticipated main effects are an equalization of tourism activities leading to a relief of hot spots, improved livelihoods of neighboring communities through granting of sustainable resource use quotas and ownership of tourism related enterprises,” explains the FCB annual report document. It further highlights that the process will ensure the long term unaltered integrity of the forest reserves in their national and trans-boundary context.
Implementation of the project firstly entailed engagement of Ecosurve Environmental consultants to undertake consultancy to develop the SEA.
Secondly, there was consultation with key stakeholders. These include the Chobe full council, Department of Forestry and Range Resources (DFFR). This was followed by public consultation meetings with Kasane Plateau, Kasane, Kazungula, Pandamatenga, Lesoma, Mochenge/Mabele, Kavimba, Parakarungu and Satau. Scoping report of this was approved by Department of Environmental Affairs.
Thirdly, SEA and Sustainable Environmental Management (SEMP) was presented to the Reference Group on 5th July 2017 and to the FCB Board on 21 July 2017. It is still being reviewed.
An interview with Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment Thabang Botshoma recently revealed that the government takes the development of SEA seriously as it will contribute handsomely to the ease of doing business in Botswana. This he said is so because if SEA has been developed, the process of developing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would be significantly reduced.
FCB has since its founding approved 43 projects to the tune of P29, 577, 731. It has currently granted four research projects, two land reclamation projects, natural Resources Management Systems projects, one Masters Degree scholarship, two indigenous tree gardens/nurseries, one forest conservation initiative, as well as two resuscitation of previously FCB funded projects.