Kalahari Conservation Society, Botswana’s environmental NGO, says it is positive about the country’s bid to get The Okavango Delta listed as a World Heritage site.
Chief Executive Officer, Felix Monggae, said at a media briefing that KCS joins key stakeholders from across government, private and civil society sectors to prepare for an assessment of the Delta for listing next year. The Delta is a magnate for monied tourists from the U.S and Europe.
“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,” Monggae said. He explained that they (KCS) want to use World Heritage listing to protect the wildlife.
Nonofo Mosesane from Department of Monuments and National Museum pointed to the “enormous prestige and pride”, the World Heritage listing gives sites around 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 further said World Heritage status also make it easier to negotiate additional funding, protection and or expertise, adding that it encourages sustainable development that contributes to improved livelihoods of communities living within the vicinity of the site.
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.
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.
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.