13 September 2018

Botswana: Govt Opens Dialogue On Ecosystem Stress

Maun — Government is attempting to solve the stresses experienced by the ecosystem in some parts of Botswana including Chobe enclave through open and prime dialogue, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has stated.

Speaking during a consultative meeting with researchers and the political leadership in Maun on September 12, he said the stresses were due to dictates both cultural and political.

"Having identified the stresses as manifested by the reports we receive and experiences we encounter, as the government we decided to initiate dialogue on these matters and there are a number of constituents that we need to dialogue with," he said.

He explained that some of the stresses which he wanted to give opportunity to researchers to partake in included human and wildlife conflict.

In addition, he said some people were growing with certain attributes and expectations, some useful to the environment and others detrimental to it.

"We need scientists, objective knowledge pursuers to draw conclusions, generate opinions and to be thought leaders so that you could put on the plate a menu that will help us to make decisions, " he said.

The President said he found it best to lead a team of political and public service leadership to come and share how they wished the issues could be addressed.

President Masisi assured his audience that the rules of engagement would remain civil, honest and sincere and urged them to come up with suggestions on how government could assist them.

He underscored the need for researchers to partner with government in an effort to assist in policy formulation and implementation.

The President said government appreciated their work hence found it fit to engage them in addressing societal challenges.

President Masisi said a solid partner for research was important, particularly in the North West part of the country, which he described as precious, interesting and demanding.

Governement, he said, was going to pay a lot of attention to the area in matters of research noting that the Okavango Delta, listed as the 1000th World Heritage Site, was a key feature of the locality.

He noted that the listing had a number of implications which everybody needed to embrace, celebrate and benefit from.

President Masisi appreciated the importance of researchers in helping government in formulating policies, arriving at decisions stating that their empathy was vital to appreciate their circumstances, conditions and reality.

He also said it was vital to ensure a thriving environment for the community to benefit.

Government, he said was willing to partner with researchers as they their work was useful and resourceful in addressing current issues.

In an interview, some researchers expressed appreciation for government's initiative to dialogue with them saying it would bridge the gap between policy makers and science.

One of them, Professor Olekae Thakadu of Okavango Research Institute said it would go a long way in bringing policy makers and researchers together to seek solutions for the betterment of communities.

He said they had been doing research but it had not been filtering up and expressed the hope that the dialogue would change.

Ms Jane Horgan of Cheetah Conservation said it was important to work together with government as they had been willing to share their research findings which they believed could relieve the huge burden on communities.

"We believe the initiative will be a long term solution to the challenges faced by our communities," she added.

Source : BOPA

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