23 June 2014

Southern Africa: Okavango Delta Listed As World Heritage Site

press release

Okavango Delta has been listed among the World Heritage sites. The decision was made by the World Heritage Committee sitting in Doha on Sunday June 22, making the site the 1 000th to be listed in the world.

Okavango Delta has been listed among the World Heritage sites. The decision was made by the World Heritage Committee sitting in Doha on Sunday June 22, making the site the 1 000th to be listed in the world.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Mr Tshekedi Khama said Botswana would continue to create a conducive environment for the protection and integrity of her sites and ensure that communities derive benefits from these sites.

Speaking at the third roundtable of African ministers on world heritage sites on Saturday June 21 before the listing, the minister said progress had been made in improving the state of conservation of World Heritage properties through increased community participation, citing Tsodilo Hills.

"The government of Botswana in partnership with civil society organisations has developed a project proposal to implement the community development aspect of the plan and has been supported by the Diamond Trust to the tune of P10 million," Minister Khama said.

"The project has ensured that all categories of the Tsodilo Community derive economic benefits from the project," he said adding that "employment and income generation opportunities have been created through guiding, craft production, entrance fees and camping fees." Additionally, through the project the community has also been provided with clean water for drinking and for livestock, he said.

The minister announced that plans were underway to develop two lodges of which the community would lease to the private sector. Also, Government has approved a funding proposal for P1 million to train young people on tourism related courses as well as prepare them for the upcoming developments in the area.

Home to more than 1,500 rock paintings, Tsodilo hills, which is about 40 kilometres from the Okavango Delta was listed in 2001 as a world heritage site. Okavango Delta, which is awaiting listing at the meeting is no exception as communities that live in and around the area are involved in the management of the site and benefit from the site through Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBRM's) as well.

"There are 20 CBOs in Ngamiland utilising concessions in and around the Okavango Delta for non-consumptive tourism and about a third of the Ngamiland population benefits from CBRMs," Minister Tshekedi said. Ludo Chube reporting for BOPA from Doha.

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