Environment Botswana News Archive is a collection of the News chapters appearing in the previous monthly Environment Botswana Newsletters (News from newsletters published in 2001 only).

Please note that the contact details in these pages are not being updated!

The newsletter is brought to you by IUCN Botswana to facilitate the sharing of information of the environment in Botswana. Please note that news and information is what is brought to our attention by our readers and other sources and is not necessary reflecting all environmental news in Botswana. IUCN is not responsible for the factual correctness of the information. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of IUCN.

Archive 2001

  • (no newsletter for December 2001)
  • November 2001
  • October 2001
  • September 2001
  • August 2001
  • (no newsletters for the period February-July 2001)
  • January 2001
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    November 2001 NEWS

    The HOORC (Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre) was officially opened in Maun beginning of this month. The objectives of the Centre are to serve the Okavango region, including the Boteti, Linyanti and Chobe region, by initiating, coordinating and promoting research, environmental monitoring, teaching and outreach activities. The centre is currently cooperating with a number of government departments and NGOs in the Country.
    (Botswana Daily News, pg. 4, 6 November 2001)

    Botswana and the EU have signed a P70 million wildlife conservation and management agreement. The Wildlife Conservation and Management Programme will support and improve the conservation and sustainable use of Botswana's protected reserves and adjacent community managed wildlife areas through its activities in Ngamiland, Ghanzi, and parts of Central and Kweneng districts. The project will also ensure that necessary support for community development initiatives is enhanced so that the community can benefit from wildlife conservation activities. The grant will be spent over a period of four years. The EU furthermore confirmed that it would maintain its level of support to Botswana during the 2002-2007 period; the main theme of support will be "human resource development".
    (Botswana Daily News, pg. 5, 8 November 2001)

    The State of the Environment Zambezi Basin 2000 indicates that industrial pollution and drying floodplains have caused habitat damage and species loss. Pollution from industrial waste is increasing due to urbanisation within the Zambezi catchments area, including Blantyre, Harare and Lusaka and the mushrooming tourist facilities along the river basin, discharge effluents into the river and its tributaries. Looking at the Zambezi basin wetlands alone, Lenka Thamae, IUCN's SADC Wetlands Project Coordinator, observes that the many large settlements and associated industries in the basin are located adjacent to reliable water sources, which unfortunately also possess important wetland ecozones for the Zambezi Basin. In order to prevent further pollution, a process towards exposing the Zambezi basin's industrial sector to environmental issues is under way in Malawi as part of the environmental education initiative carried out by IUCN and facilitated by the SADC Regional Environmental Education Centre.
    (Mmegi, pg. B18, 23-29 November 2001)

    Mokolwane, a tree that is used to weave the Okavango Baskets, could be in danger of extinction if ways of conserving the plant are not put in place. The people around the Okavango and Shakawe use the tree to weave baskets and other ornaments, which besides a commercial value also have an importance within the local households, where baskets are used for storage of food, seeds for ploughing season, jewellery etc. The tree is also used for the production of wine (mocheme) and its fruit, which is brownish when ripe, is edible. Finally, also local furniture makers use the leaves. Mokolane's fruit alone takes 2 years to ripen and fall from the tree and a new seed takes 5 years to grow.
    (Mmegi, pg. 32, 23-29 November 2001)

    Ecotourism should sustain the well being of local communities. Involvement of host communities is particularly important, given the fact that tourism is an inherently unsustainable venture, says Paul Stevens, consultant to the government for the National Ecotourism Strategy. If tourism is to yield greater economic benefits to the country, the driving objective should be to turn the whole country into an ecotourism destination and avoid concentrating on the Okavango and the Chobe, as is presently the case. With regard to the likely impact of tourism on the environment the consultant says that government should seriously consider setting standards and guidelines on best practices, and coming up with incentives for those companies that enforce good environmental practices.
    (The Botswana Gazette, pg. B3, 28 November 2001)

    Consultations with key stakeholders in South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi brought up key SOE reporting challenges for southern Africa.
    With support from NETCAB, the Southern Africa Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC) the Musokotwane Environment Resource Centre for Southern Africa (Imercsa) assessed SOE reporting in five selected countries of the region in order to identify gaps.
    One of the key findings of the assessment is that current SOE reports do not adequately address the requirements of people in rural areas who deal with the realities of natural resource management and a degraded environment. In addition, the SOE processes have not been participatory enough to harness community input.
    A critical issue that needs urgent redress in the SADC region is the lack of a series of data to enable the analysis of environmental trends. The format, quality, accessibility and accuracy of the available data, which in most cases is for specific sectors rather than the broad environment, also need to be harmonized so as to allow for compatibility and comparison across both sectors and countries.
    The use of meaningful SOE indicators was also identified as an important element of SOE reporting. SOE indicators are new to the region and as such there is need to build capacity in indicator development. A regional approach is ideal for indicator development so as to allow for standardization and harmonization at both national and regional levels. South Africa has done some work on SOE indicators from which the region can pick lessons.
    The assessment identified language as a critical communication barrier in SOE reporting. English is often the common language for SOE products except for Angola and Mozambique where Portuguese is the official language. There are hardly cases whereby materials are produced in vernacular languages. However, South Africa is an exception given that it has produced its SOE materials in some local languages such as Afrikaans, Xhosa and Zulu.
    A pleasing development in the region is that the majority of countries have either produced their first SOE reports or are currently producing their second-generation reports. Zimbabwe produced its SOE reports in 1994 and 1998, Zambia in 1990 and 1994, South Africa in 1999, Lesotho in 1999, Malawi in 1998 and Mauritius in 1991. Namibia and Tanzania produced sectoral SOE reports in 1999, while Botswana is at an advanced stage in the production of its first SOE report. Mozambique and Swaziland have done a lot of groundwork in laying the foundation for their SOE processes. This includes setting up the necessary institutional and legal frameworks for SOE reporting.
    (State of the Environment (SOE) - Reporting Network for Southern Africa (SOENETSA), No. 8, 2001; article by IUCN)

    Notarial Deeds of Trust are not the most thrilling item, often organisations become established and then forget they are there. However, Chobe Wildlife Trust recently re-visited their "Deed" to ascertain whether it was still relevant to the work currently being undertaken or work which the Trust felt it needed to start to address. This review resulted in the Trustees agreeing to change the core parts of the "Deed". This has been a very useful exercise it that it has enabled the Trust to focus and re-affirm its function and have a clear role.
    The key sections to the proposed new "Deed" for CWT are now as follows.
    3.1 To provide support and facilitate Environmental Education, Community Based Natural Resource Management, Biodiversity and Environmental Research in Chobe District to enhance Local and Global sustainability as defined at the Rio 1992 Earth Summit.
    3.2 To contribute to national plans, initiatives, debates, seminars and other forums relevant to the environment.
    3.3 To work in association with Dept. Wildlife & National Parks and other stakeholders to support projects and research relevant to Chobe National Park and Chobe District.
    3.4 To liase with all partner organisations, exchange information and ensure a co-ordinated approach to the Trust's work
    3.5 To endeavour to work towards minimising the environmental impact of all Trust activities whilst in pursuit of its objectives.
    Anyone wanting more information about Chobe Wildlife Trust and its work should contact Stephen Austin, Chief Executive Officer Tel 650516 or email cwt@botsnet.bw

    In celebration of the National Tree Planting Day, Somarelang Tikologo held a tree planting and clean up campaign at Bowasetso Park in Phase 2 on Saturday, 24 November. The day's activities were opened by the Hon. Mrs. Joy Phumaphi, Minister of Health, and Mr. Roy Davies, Managing Director of PG Timbers the sponsors of the event, planting the first two trees of the day. Somarelang Tikologo members and staff joined up with members of the community in planting over 70 trees in the park, and ridding the area of litter. More trees were also donated to the surrounding schools and community members. Our efforts were then rewarded with a braii, along with a jumping castle for the neighbourhood children. Bowasetso Park was developed by Somarelang Tikologo in conjunction with the local Ward Development Committee and the City Council to provide a recreational area for the families of Phase 2 to enjoy. It is now being maintained by the City Council Parks Department, as one of only two such facilities in Gaborone.
    (Somarelang Tikologo, November 2001)

    The second National CBNRM Conference in Botswana, has been successfully held from the 14th to the 16th of November 2001 at the Gaborone Sun Hotel, Gaborone. The Theme of this year's conference was: "Investment and Partnership - CBNRM investing in the future". All CBNRM Stakeholders of Botswana, including national CBO's, NGO's, government and private sector, as well as regional stakeholders were represented. The conference has been an opportunity for stakeholders to review the current state of CBNRM and the way forward in terms of investment and partnerships. For details please refer to the IUCN/SNV CBNRM Support programme website www.cbnrm.bw


    October 2001 NEWS

    Diminishing resources and the exodus of donors in the country has left local non -governmental organisations in dire straits due to lack of funds. In an effort to remove the wedge existing between the private sectors and NGOs, Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO) hosted the NGO/private sector Forum on Wednesday 3rd of October. NGOs and the private sector are to identify strategies and their roles should there be a partnership between the sectors. In fact, since the exodus of donors, NGOs are not only left dependent, but also vulnerable and cannot aid community projects. Furthermore, according to Vision 2016, special mention is made to capacity building of NGOs, NGOs and Community Based Organisations being recognised as vehicle of implementation.
    (Mmegi, pg. 6, 05-11 October 2001)

    The Global Environment Facility/Small Grants Programme (GEF/SGP) hosted a one-day workshop at the United Nations Conference Room in Gaborone, to raise awareness on climate change and publicise its partners' initiatives in addressing it. The Focal Point of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), which seeks to achieve the stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in Botswana is the Department of Meteorological Services. During the workshop, emphasis was given to the need for networking of stakeholders, strengthening of human capacity and cooperation among developing countries to facilitate the effective implementation of the convention. Several projects have been presented during the workshop: Bobirwa improved Cooking Stoves Project; Solar Lantern Lease Project; Solar Canteen Project; Energy Conservation Project; Molalatau Land Rehabilitation Project and the Woody Biomass Research Project. For more information contact UN Palace Tel:352121.
    (Mmegi, pg. 12, 05-11 October 2001)

    A New Rhino database, WILDb, has been produced by the SADC programme and is currently being field-tested in several Rhino areas in Zimbabwe, including populations in government IPZs and conservancies. The database comprises components for use in monitoring and tracking the performance of individual rhino populations both locally and nationally. It is designed so that it can be readily customised for use in different rhino population areas in SADC Rhino range states. Anyone interested in obtaining a copy can contact Dr Rob Brett, Coordinator for the SADC Regional Programme for Rhino Conservation, at the following email rob@iucnrosa.org.za or at IUCNROSA, PO Box 745, Harare, Zimbabwe.
    (Pachyderm, N. 30 pg. 100, January-June 2001)

    The Environmental Journalist of the Year Award, launched by Somarelang Tikologo in 1999 at the "Communicating the Environment Workshop", has been awarded to Alpheons Moroke [Of the Midweek Sun] as the 2001 Environmental Journalist of the Year. Last year the award was won by Gideon Nkala of the Mmegi. The award aims at recognising and promoting environmental coverage in Botswana. The award ceremony was held at the Main Mall on October 10th 2001 during the NGO Week. The guest speaker at the ceremony was Mr Modise Maphanyane from MISA Botswana. Addressing guests gathered at the ceremony, Mr Maphanyane said that environmental coverage in Botswana is not satisfactory and environmental issues are reported in passing. The media has a challenging role to report and inform the public about environmental issues and problems locally, regionally and internationally. The 1992 Earth Summit on Environment and Development, recognised that; "There is still a considerable lack of awareness of the interrelated nature of all human activities and the environment, due to inaccurate or insufficient information." The speaker indicated that this is a challenge to the media since they have a role in providing and disseminating information on issues affecting the environment, which will lead to, increased personal environmental responsibility. For more information's you can contact Somarelang Tikologo at somatiko@info.bw

    Two very important wildlife conservation gatherings took place in South Africa within the past two weeks. The Wildlife Management Association's: New Techniques and Methods in Wildlife Management and The Wildlife Group of South African Veterinary Association's: Re-location of Large African Mammals. The topics covered at these meetings included: Field techniques; Capture, transportation, accommodation and restocking of large mammals; Practical conservation successes and guidelines; Updates on drugs used for re-location; Conservation genetics; Sustainable harvesting; Natural resource economics; Community-based conservation management; Conservation planning; and Habitat management and evaluation. The presentations given at these symposia are available online in the form of video streaming at http://WildlifeDecisionSupport.com This represents a breakthrough in wildlife management, with current knowledge in wildlife management being distributed internationally as soon as it is released by the experts who conduct the work and research in Africa. Please note: these presentations will ONLY be available online until the end of November.
    For more information's on the above please contact Peter Morrison WildlifeDecisionSupport.com http://wildlifedecisionsupport.com

    The United Nations Country Office in Botswana has launched its website, on-line since October 8th 2001. The website aims to inform, educate and communicate to UN partners in Botswana: Government, NGOs and CBOs, the private sector and generally Batswana about UN country specific initiatives and activities. Besides Country office specific activities the website also contains links to the most important UN agencies working in Botswana. Find more at www.unbotswana.org.bw

    The first Non-Governmental Organisations week came to an end Friday 12th of October. The theme for this year's event was " Partners in Development" with the aim to strengthen connections with other NGO's, the private sector, the public, government and the international donor community. It was also an opportunity for the public to learn about services rendered by NGOs. In fact, from the moment Botswana was declared a middle-income country, there was an exodus of donors. This had far reaching implications and a good number of Ngo's who were dependant on donors collapsed. In this optic, BOCONGO also convened a meeting in March 2000 to evaluate the donor exodus crisis in which it was resolved that the problem could be addressed by engaging the NGO's in investment opportunities and several strategies have been developed. It is believed that the week has been successful and that its aims were achieved.
    (The Midweek Sun, pg. 3, October 17th, 2001)

    The SADC Executive Secretary has disclosed that his organisation is negotiating with the regional council of NGOs on a legal framework regarding their roles. A legal instrument is expected to be finalised for presentation to the SADC Council of Ministers for consideration by the end of this year, he indicated. Mr Ramsamy lauded the contribution of civil society and NGOs to regional integration and development. Officially launching the NGO week in Gaborone he stated that one of the principles of integration is effective participation of stakeholders. Furthermore Ramsamy appealed to BOCONGO and all the NGOs in the region to prepare themselves to play their role in the SADC national committee being established as part of SADC restructuring process.
    (Mmegi, pg. B7, 12-18 October 2001)

    The commercial use of veld products has the potential to alleviate rural poverty and improve household security particularly in rural areas, says the Veld Products Research and Development communications officer, Lori Mcquid. We encourage people to grow indigenous fruit trees in their backyards, and so far have been able to make Morual jam and sweets from fruits collected around Gabane, she says. The projects target disadvantaged communities especially female headed households and participation has so far been good with well attended Kgotla meetings. Indigenous fruit trees grow well, and could help to improve food security and reduce workload on women as it reduces dependence on arable agriculture.
    (Daily News, pg. 3, 24th September 2001)

    The Rural Industries Promotion Company (RIPCO) of Botswana is utilising cost-saving appropriate technology to procure, treat and recycle wastewater to benefit rural and semi-urban Batswana. It is estimated that the wastewater that Gaborone produces, if recycled, could irrigate up to 2000 Ha of land. Major urban villages have a high potential to reclaim and reuse wastewater for irrigation and other water-based projects. The Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Pelokgale Selome, said also that these strategies are in line with the National Water Master plan (NWMP) and the National Master Plan for Agricultural Development (NAMPAD) that have identified recycling of wastewater as critical for irrigation in a semi-arid country such as Botswana.
    (Mmegi, pg. B8, October-01 November 2001)

    The government doubts whether the patent protection system will be appropriate for the protection of traditional knowledge, which Africa has in abundance. Trade, industry, wildlife and tourism permanent secretary T. Moremi addressed a three day conference of the African Regional Industrial Property Organisation (ARIPO) emphasising on the need to protect plant varieties and others, and explaining that consultations on policy formulation in Botswana were going to develop an appropriate mode of protection. She also said that the work made by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), ARIPO and other sister institutions addressing the issue was encouraging, as it would empower developing countries, where the patent system is a new development.
    (Daily News, pg. 2, 17th October 2001)

    The call to protect indigenous knowledge from developing countries has been described as an attempt by the West to have access to such information free of charge. B. Egbuomou from Nigeria said at the African Regional Industrial Property Organisation (ARIPO) in Gaborone, that the protection of Traditional knowledge and intellectual property are "an attempt by the developed world to indirectly get us assign our invaluable traditional knowledge without consideration, by disclosing such information's developing nations are actually not protecting it". Many other participants at the workshop have echoed this position. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) though, emphasised the need for traditional knowledge holders to patent such knowledge to avoid cheating. Communities or individuals should be persuaded to safeguard their knowledge as it could be of benefit to them. Furthermore it was said that African countries have different ways of protection and that they had proposed in previous meetings that there be certificate of origin and prior consent by the inventors.
    (Daily News, pg. 3, October 19th 2001)

    BSP AROUND THE WORLD: Judy Oglethorpe, executive director of BSP and director of BSP's Africa and Madagascar Program, and Laurent Some, senior program officer with the Africa and Madagascar Program, travelled to Libreville, Gabon, earlier this month to attend a priority-setting workshop for the Congolian Forests. Through the Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE), BSP provided support to this WWF-organized workshop, which brought together 150 biological and socio-economic experts, as well as protected area managers, to discuss the state of knowledge, biological priorities, and conservation opportunities and threats in this large region covering seven countries in Central Africa. For more information on the CARPE program, please visit http://carpe.gecp.virginia.edu, or, for more information on BSP's work in Africa, go to http://www.bsponline.org/africa/index.html.

    PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS: Rebecca Ham, senior program officer with the Africa and Madagascar Program's Disasters and Biodiversity project, presented a poster at a Yale University conference earlier this month. The conference, titled "War and Tropical Forests: New Perspectives on Conservation," covered issues related to tropical forest conservation before, during, and after wars, in the context of science, policy, resource management, forest communities, and governmental and non-governmental organizations in countries around the world. Rebecca's poster presentation, "Mitigating the Negative Impacts of Armed Conflict on Biodiversity in Africa: Can It Be Done?" highlighted BSP's work in this area, including recommendations and lessons learned. For more information on BSP's Disasters and Biodiversity project, please visit http://www.bsponline.org/africa/3rd_level/disasters/disasters.html


    September 2001 NEWS

    On the 29th August 2001, FONSAG and PTB held a workshop, funded by GEF Small Grants Programme, on the status of, and need for, legislation to protect bio-diversity in Botswana, especially in the face of the TRIPS Agreement that requires protection for people who develop plant varieties. The position at the moment is that Botswana has signed up for both TRIPS and the Convention on Biodiversity. Some authorities feel that this is in conflict, as TRIPS can prevent access by small subsistence farmers to the right to save seeds, but on the other hand we do not want to prevent scientific or bio-technological development by not rewarding innovation and protecting developments whilst still protecting access by communities to BD and protecting Indigenous knowledge. Nancy Kgengwenyane introduced the OAU draft Legislation and Miss Segopolo from the AG's Chambers discussed the UPOV Model Legislation. This cleared up a lot of misconceptions and confusion, but clearly showed the serious need for legislation ASAP. It also showed how exposed our communities are to exploitation by bio-pirates looking for new products to patent. For more information contact Diana Mompoloki at fonsag@global.bw.

    On the 3rd to the 5th of September FONSAG hosted the first civil society preparatory workshop for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in Johannesburg in September 2002. The workshop was very successful, and came out with a list on local, regional and international issues that we as Botswana's civil society would like to see on the agenda next year. The most important outcome was that Agenda 21 needs to be localized and publicized at all levels. FONSAG was chosen as the WSSD secretariat in Botswana with a Steering Committee made up of NGOs the Private Sector and Academia. Vivian Mazunga of the Women's NGO Coalition represented civil society at the SADC Meeting in Mauritius and presented our issues. For more information please contact Diana Mompoloki at fonsag@global.bw

    In its efforts to help Angola boost its economy through tourism, the government of Botswana has made a donation of 300 elephants to Angola. The donation shall help Angola to restock the Quissama National Park, the elephants should leave during the first week of September 2001. Besides helping the neighbouring countries, Botswana also wants, to get a better control on its elephant population so to be able to better manage it. In fact, elephants are well known to damage the environment and this is what the government wants to control. Another request also came from Mozambique for the restocking of it National Parks after civil wars and recent floods. The request has been approved but yet donation schedule has not been defined.
    (The Midweek Sun, pg. 13, August 29th, 2001)

    The 16 elephants which have already been transferred to the Quissama National Park, are secure because the area has not seen any major military activity and there are no mines or unexploded ordinance. Jan Broekhuis, assistant director, wildlife and national parks, said armed game rangers are also employed to ensure the safety of the trans-located animals. Furthermore, the animals are not kept in captivity but have been released into the section of the park that is protected by an electric fence and shall be released into the larger section of the park in due course. The remaining 284 elephants donated to Angola will be captured and trans-located in 2002.
    (Botswana Daily News, pg. 4, September 13th, 2001)

    The regulations have been advertised in the Government Gazette of August 10th, 2001. The new regulations shall "facilitate the smooth running and management of the hunting industry in Botswana". They will replace the Fauna Conservation (Unified Hunting) Regulations of 1979. The new Hunting and Licensing Regulations will be effective by October 1st, 2001, except for the professional guide component that takes effect immediately.
    (The Midweek Sun, pg. 14, August 29th, 2001)

    The Minister of trade Tebelelo Seretse, said that the new policy includes the banning of lion hunting and classifies the cat as endangered species, this being one of her priorities to develop a Conservation Policy and Strategy for endangered Species by 2002. It will furthermore be a serious offence to be found keeping wild animals in confinement without the permission of the wildlife authorities.
    (The Botswana Gazette, pg. B3, August 29th, 2001)

    Botswana is one of only four countries where the remnant of the wild dog family can still be found. Even then the dogs are in serious danger of annihilation unless measures are taken to ensure their safety and multiplication. Unfortunately since the early fifties people believing that the dogs are fierce predators embarked in a campaign to kill the dogs whenever possible. All over Africa, from the Mount Kilimandjaro across the Sahara down to South Africa, the wild dog has mercilessly been killed. Since 1990 diligent research work has been accomplished and conservation activities fulfilled, so that wilddogs can still be found in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Tanzania and South Africa. Contrary to peoples beliefs, Wildogs only feed on cattle when there is nothing else to survive, otherwise their main diet is duiker, impala and kudu. Unfortunately in Botswana and while government has set a ban on the killing of lions and cheetahs, the same has not yet been done for wildogs so that the population continues to decrease in the Country.
    (Mmegi, pg. 34, August 31st-September 6th, 2001)

    PTB has received funds from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to extend its services provided to the San communities in the remote Area Settlements in the Ghanzi District. PTB is intending to support the communities to generate income while ensuring the sustainable use of resources and stressing the value of indigenous knowledge. The activities will have to be identified with the inhabitants of the settlements, but may focus on veld products processing and marketing, tourism and the utilisation of other natural resources.
    (Mmegi Business Week, pg. B24, 7-13 September 2001)

    Botswana's tourism industry has received a major boost following the election of HATAB's director, Modisa Mothoagae, as chairman of the regional organisation of tourism in southern Africa. The regional organ's responsibilities include marketing tourism throughout the region, with membership drawn from public and private sectors from leading organisations in member countries.
    (The Botswana Guardian, pg. 22, September 14th, 2001)

    Since independence in 1966, Botswana's development emphasis has been the promotion of productive employment and income generating opportunities. Amongst the activities, also the production of crafts, which doesn't demand big financial resources nor equipment, but is based on indigenous skills and natural resources. One of the examples to be brought forward is that of the Bokamoso Basketry Co-operative in Shorobe, 40 Km west from Maun, where over 100 people from Matsaodi and Shorobe villages have got together. The project has two main goals, the empowerment and generation of income for people in the area and the sustainable use of natural resources used in basket weaving.
    (Kutlwano, September 2001)

    In a bid to counter the negative impact caused to SADC regions tourism industry by the political and economic turmoil in Zimbabwe, the SADC council of ministers of trade recently agreed to bring the four countries of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana to work out modalities on how to save the upper Zambezi. Within the number of safe areas affected by the instability in the region the Chobe area and Vic Falls seem to be some of the most affected once. In order to uplift local tourism the Department of Tourism is engaged in Eco-Tourism development and calls for more involvement of Batswana in terms of investment and local tourism.
    (The Botswana Guardian, pg. 30, September 21, 2001)

    A delegation, comprising the Member of Parliament for the area, Olifant Mfa, and Gweta residents is scheduled to meet the Minister of Trade, Commerce and Wildlife over the boundary line between their village and the Nxai/Makgadikgadi National Park. Residents who were now planning to take the government to court are complaining that the park has taken most of their grazing land, they want the boundary to be moved 30 Km into the park but it seems that government is not in favour of the idea.
    (Botswana Daily News, pg. 3, September 14th, 2001)

    Poor waste management, pollution, indiscriminate dumping and littering has led to the rapid deterioration of Botswana's environment, urgent action need to be taken to stem out these growing problem, say the assistant of minister of Local Government. She continues saying that these problems could come to haunt future generations that would inherit a polluted country and they could also lead to the pollution of underground water, urging members of the public to activities geared towards keeping the environment clean.
    (Botswana Daily News, pg. 4, September 18th, 2001)

    Veld fires that have been ravaging the Central Kalahari Game Reserve for the past month have finally been put out. The fire, which broke out on August 9th was put out because of fire breakers, luckily the fire will not affect life at the reserve.
    (Botswana Daily News, pg. 5, September 18th, 2001)

    The United States has increased their support for the SADC regional integration efforts with the signing of three agreements for grants totalling P12 million. The agreements were signed between SADC and USAID in Gaborone on Monday 17th of September. One of the grants would boost Botswana's flood relief efforts after the country suffered floods during 1999/2000 rainy season; the second grant goes towards supporting the integration of the regional market and helping in the strengthening of regional economies through non-governmental organisations.
    (Botswana Daily News, pg. 1, September 20th, 2001)

    Batswana have a long tradition of dependence on, and harmonious co-existence with, their natural resources. There is barely a plant species in the Kgalagadi for which the Basarwa have not found a use for, be it food, drink, medicines, cosmetics, construction, handicrafts or a variety of other purposes, said Moremi, PS for trade, industry wildlife and tourism at the launch of the Southern African Natural Products and Trade Association. She spoke about sengaparile, the grapple plant, which took off in the market because it is said to be a cure for numerous ailments, including rheumatism. The association launched should now create a platform for members to promote fair trade in antural products, exchange of ideas and marketing.
    (Botswana Daily News, pg. 5, September 12th, 2001)

    The Vice President says government is committed to seeing Mashatu and Northern Tuli Game Reserve forming part of the proposed Shashe/Limpopo Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (TFCA). The formation of the TFCA is expected to boost economic prospects in the Limpopo Valley through tourism and air transport industries. This area, which was once intended for agricultural development has a diverse landscape that embraces riverine woodlands, huge rock outcrops and flat bushveld.
    (Botswana Daily News, pg. 1, September 4th, 2001)

    Kgalagadi District Council has been allocated P10,5 million for drought relief, with priority given to the projects which were not completed last year. Hukuntsi Sub-district alone will be undertaking 102 projects while Kgalagadi South has 73 projects.
    (Botswana Daily News, pg. 2, September 11th, 2001)

    The occurrence of different types of wetlands, islands and woodland eco-regions in the Delta is extremely important for understanding how the Okavango functions. Predicting the patterns of wildlife migrations, predator-prey dynamics, or how water will flow under situations of drought, demands a detailed description of the landscape. Hitherto, maps of land cover, or eco-regions, have only been available at very small scale (1: 1 million) and not constructed for the unique Okavango environment. Through an international research co-operation within the Okavango Research Group headed by professor. T.S.McCarthy (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa) an Ecoregion map of the Okavango Delta has been elaborated and finalised. The map has recently been printed and launched by the Okavango Wildlife Society (OWLS) and University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and will be on sale at leading outlets in South Africa and Botswana during the last quarter of 2001, or directly from OWLS at +27 11 678-1374. The society can also be contacted on e-mail at owls@global.co.za or the web site at www.moremi.org. For a first view of the map select color land cover map.


    August 2001 NEWS

    Out of the First Joint Symposium of The Wildlife Disease Association (WDA) and the Society for Tropical Veterinary Medicine (STVM) animal disease specialists and wildlife conservationists are calling on the international donor community to recognise animal health sciences as critical to the design and management of sustainable programmes. The "Pilanesberg Resolution", result of the symposium, will be addressed to the donor community emphasising on Animal Disease issues and the danger of diseases transmitted between domestic livestock, wild animals and humans.
    (Wildnet Africa - Media Release Service, July 27, 2001)

    This years Kuru Dance Festival in D'Kar has again been of most success. The Fourth edition of the festival started on Friday 3rd of August with Healing Dances by 15 San dancers group. The Saturday was mainly dedicated and characterised by traditional San childhood games and Hambukushu dances. All different San instruments were played and contemporary songs on the actual San's situation presented. The Festival closed with a spectacular traditional music session.
    (The Botswana Guardian pg.33, August 10, 2001)

    From their new location at Plot 594, near the South Ring Road Shoping Centre, (Gaborone) Somarelang Tikologo, is now working on a plot of land put under their care by the City Council. The plot, opposite the organisation's location, will be divided in three main areas to be used for the recycling, as community garden, and as green, play area for children.
    (The Botswana Gazette-Business B5. August 15th, 2001)

    Water experts have gathered in Sweden, to discuss one of the most pressing environmental issues confronting the world: Water. Some of the issues to be raised during the meetings' are: "how to recover and re-use waste water" and "what part dams have to play in providing water supplies". According to the World Commission On Water, in 20 years human water needs will have increased by 40%. How will the world be able to face the increasing demand of water resources by sustainably managing the same ones? How will the idea of extracting less from rivers, lakes and underground sources in order to prevent further damage to ecosystems, fit with the increasing demand?
    (The Botswana Guardian, pg25. August 17th, 2001)

    The Bakgatla regent has encouraged Ramotlabaki residents to venture into viable community projects that can improve their lives. In fact, he asked the community to fully utilise a 10 Ha land that had been left to the community by a farmer, and said he is against the idea of selling it. "When properly planned for and utilised, the land could benefit the community in many ways".
    (Daily News, Pg1. August 10th, 2001)

    On August 1st, the first lady, Barbara Mogae, continued her countrywide clean up campaign to motivate village residents on keeping their environment clean. The message that was given is that litter should be picked not only by the District Councils but by all the members of the society and the community. Keeping the environment clean should in fact not only be an activity to be done on special occasion but on everyday basis. Furthermore, community members were encouraged to plant trees rather than to fell them.
    (The Midweek Sun, pg 15. August 8th, 2001)

    NDP 8 will come to an end on March 2003; in this sense the Government of Botswana has established a reference group to work on the next National Development Plan. Besides government officials, some of the further members included in the Reference Group are BIDPA, BOCCIM, BCCI, BOCOBONET, BOCONGO. The NDP 9 will cover the period from April 1st, 2003 to March 31st, 2009. The document will outline government overall strategy and priorities for development and also contain tentative resource allocation proposals. In order to guarantee the approval of NDP 9 before its starting date, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Balidze Gaolathe, is pushing for the NDP 9 to be submitted for discussion during the parliaments meeting to be held in November 2002. The first step of the preparation process is the compilation and submission of proposed development projects to be included in the NDP 9, Ministries have been asked to present the result of this step by the end of September 2001.
    (The Botswana Gazette, pg6. August 1st, 2001)

    "The most pristine rain forest left in Africa", the Goualogo Triangle in the Republic of Congo, will be added to the already existing Nouabale-Ndoki National Park. The Congolaise Industrielle du Bois, private timber company, has in fact agreed upon leaving the harvesting rights to 160 Km2 of untouched rainforest so allowing the conservation of the area. The Goualogo Triangle contains some of the highest densities of gorillas, chimpanzees and forest elephants in central Africa.
    (The Botswana Gazette, pg21. August 1st, 2001)

    The Ministry of Trade, Industry, Wildlife and Tourism is engaged in negotiations to exchange roan antelopes for white Rhinos from South Africa. The Roan antelope population in Botswana is estimated to be of 1000, of these 100 are earmarked for exchange with 31 South African white rhinos. The exchange is based on the current market value of those animals. Currently one male rhino fetches two roans while a female rhino gets four. The ministry is currently considering various areas where the rhinos could be relocated. The factors playing a role are: habitat suitability, safety and security of the rhino and is keeping in mind the high poaching rate.
    (Mmegi, pg. 4, 17-23 August 2001)

    The Ministry of Trade, Industry, Wildlife and Tourism has issued extensive wildlife conservation regulations related to hunting and licensing. These should not only curb poaching of animals but also govern the conduct of licensed operators. A number of licenses has been introduced as: bird, single game, special game, and small game licenses. Under the new regulations, no person shall enter Botswana to conduct commercial hunting, unless accompanied by a professional holding a valid hunter's license.
    (Mmegi, pg. B2, 17-23 August 2001)

    The Khama Rhino Sanctuary has been defined having all the right ingredients to make it a perfect nature retreat and to be a perfect example of a community based tourism project that works. Completely citizen initiated and citizen run, it is a vivid example of the many benefits of communities conserving and well managing their wildlife resources. The Sanctuary, established in 1995, has not only been a way of attracting tourism to the region but has also enabled the reintroduction of numerous wildlife species, which had been depleted.
    (Mmegi, Arts/Culture, pg. 2, 17-23 August 2001)

    The Environmental Monitoring Group together with the South African National Committee on Large Dams, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and the IUCN -The World Conservation Union, jointly hosted a Symposium on the WCD Report from 23 - 24 July, 2001. This was the first multi-stakeholder driven workshop to look at what the implications of this path-breaking report would be for Southern Africa. The response was a unanimous recognition of the importance of the WCD report and strategic priorities, and the formulation and endorsement of two resolutions. The first resolution recommended that a multi-stakeholder committee be formed to look at how the guidelines need to be contextualised in the South African situation. The second resolution supported the holding of similar national workshops in other SADC countries and that the SADC Water Sector together with NAWISA - the Network for Advocacy of Water Issues in Southern Africa - should initiate such a process. For more information on how to initiate a country dialogue please contact Liane Greeff at the Environmental Monitoring Group: liane@kingsley.co.za

    From August 2001, the World Commission on Dams no longer exists as its mandate to evaluate the development effectiveness of large dams and to develop criteria and guidelines for the future has been realised. Instead the Dams and Development Unit, a small focused organisation hosted by UNEP but based in Cape Town, will continue to ensure the wide dissemination of the Final Report: Dams and Development: A New Framework for Decision-Making. For more information, contact James Workman: jworkman@dams.org or peruse the web site www.dams.org

    The increase in population pressure, patterns and excessive and unsustainable methods of consumption of natural resources as well as rising pollution levels are threatening the soundness of ecosystems in Botswana. This is what came out before and during this year's Environmental Day, which took place on the 28th of July in Gaborone.
    (Botswana Daily News, pg.2, August 2nd, 2001)

    Environment is a natural heritage that needs to be protected so that it benefits the posterity, said Kitso Obonye, deputy school head for Mojamorago Community Junior Secondary School. During the opening of Selebi-Phikwe Regional Environmental Education Fair she also said that the culture of Batswana has always been conservative as it uses materials that come straight from the natural environment. The future of the country depends on a greater and serious implementation of sustainable environmental conservation development principles.
    (Botswana Daily News, pg.2, August 7th, 2001)

    An environmental impact assessment conducted for the construction of the Trans-Kgalagadi Highway recommended that since the road would traverse a wildlife zone, it should not be fenced. When asked, the Minister David Magang said that fencing would impede the free seasonal movement of wildlife and that although there is a high accident rate caused by wildlife the ministry had no plan to fence it.
    (Botswana Daily News, pg.2, August 21st, 2001)

    The Kuru Development Trust has for the past two and a half years, started a savings and loan finance programme to help people of the Kalahari and Ngamiland districts who have no access to the official banking sector. The programme is intended to harmonise with government policies such as CEDA and the Accelerated Land Development Programme (ALDEP). The San are the ones who use the programme at most.
    (Botswana Daily News, pg.2, August 24th, 2001)


    January 2001 NEWS

    THE First Lady's Forestry initiative began as a community based environmental awareness raising project. It was spearheaded by the first Lady, Ministry of agriculture, Forestry Association of Botswana and Environmental Heritage Foundation of Botswana Trust in August 2000. (Mmegi/The Reporter 10-16 November 2000 Pg33)

    As Government prepares to fight the outbreak of tsetse fly in the Okavango Delta, Kalahari conservation Society and Bird life Botswana have called for an independent environmental impact assessment before any chemical is sprayed. The two argue that there is inadequate data on the impact of endosulphan which is like to be used on wildlife although adverse effect on young fish is known. (The Botswana Guardian, Nov 11 2000 pg 12)

    After consultations at the Community Based Organisations workshop organised by BOCOBONET, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks has agreed to halt the implementation of the Wildlife Management Regulations until there has been a more thorough consultative process. (Fonsag Weekly Briefing No.18)

    Members of Parliament were treated to a green perspective by Somarelang Tikologo on Tuesday 28 November 2000. The Vice Chair of Somarelang Tikologo, Mr Jacob Sesinyi, presented a Petition calling on the House to take immediate measures to address the problem of plastic shopping bags littering Botswana. Sesinyi indicated that the nature of plastic poses a threat to animals and human life, and is an eye sore to both locals and people visiting our country. The petition called on the house to formulate legislation requiring all manufactures, importers and retailers to have Environmental Policies which incorporate recycling and re-use of plastic shopping bags; separate cost of plastic bags from purchase items; increase thickness of plastic bags; prohibit supply/use of non-recyclable plastic shopping bags; and promote the use of recycled paper and cloth bags as an alternative. Mr Sesinyi also called on the house to carry out a national environmental awareness crusade to prevent further littering. A Consultancy Report by Government and GTZ (1996) predicted that the rate of overall plastic consumption in Botswana will increase nearly threefold from around 10, 800 tonnes in 1996 to 29,100 tonnes by 2007. About 500, 000 tonnes of plastic materials are consumed annually in South Africa. By June 2001 all plastic shopping bags will be at the thickness of 80 micros. The remaining thin plastic bags will undoubtedly be dumped into Botswana and surrounding countries. Commenting on the petition, Honourable Members of Parliament commended Somarelang Tikologo for the efforts they have taken to educate the public through national campaigns. Members of the House called on the need to involve local authorities in our endeavour to address environmental issues, and raised their concern regarding indiscriminate littering in Botswana and the need to take measures to remedy the situation. At the time of going to press Somarelang Tikologo had collected more than 3000 signatures for the petition, with 8 Cabinet Ministers, 12 Members of Parliament and 6 Members of the House of Chiefs putting their weight behind the petition. (Somarelang Tikologo)

    Somarelang Tikologo / Environment Watch - Botswana held a tree planting in Block 8, Gaborone West on Saturday 25November 2000 in celebration of National Tree Planting Day. On this day, trees were planted at New Era Secondary School, Khyber International Primary School, and Itumeleng Primary School. Trees were also distributed to community members from Block 8 to be planted at their homes. The Hon. Mr. R. K. Molefhabangwe, MP for Gaborone West, informed the students, teachers, and community members who participated in the event about the environmental challenges that all Batswana face. They were also given some words of encouragement from Mr. Roy Davies, the Managing Director of PG Timbers and sponsor of the event. (Somarelang Tikologo)

    A basketry show at the Botswana craft showroom in Gaborone featured the works of established basket weavers from Etsha. These weavers have through the assistance of Botswana craft managed to establish their craft to gain international recognition as much as other arts such ceramics in India and China have done. Lack of exposure to modern technology does not set back the ever forward moving Batswana weavers. All their weaving stages involve using natural resources from preparation to the end product. (Mmegi/ The reporter, 17 November 2000)

    A Botswana Democratic Party backbencher is taking government to task over its contradictory policies. Member of parliament for Boteti Slumber Tsongwane, finds it odd that while government policy on wildlife management benefits derived from should accrue to the communities in which such resources are found, the same thinking does not apply to mineral reserves. He advocates that communities which have given up their land to mining houses should be paid royalties.(Friday 17 November 2000. Pg3)

    Batswana should brace themselves for floods due to forecasted above normal rainfall, possibly towards the end of the year or early next year. Mr W. Minja, Principal Meteorological Officer issued this warning at a conference convened by the Director of National disaster Management Office Ms Dineo Mogwe. (The Botswana Gazette, Wed 29 November, 2000. Pg4)

    The CITES second joint meeting of the animals and plants committees was held from 7 to 9 December 2000 to review the criteria for amendments of CITES Appendices I and II. The 16th Meeting of the Animals Committee and the 10th meeting of the plants committee began on the 11th and will continue until 15th December 2000. For more information contact Cecil Thiery, IUCN Head Quarters on email:cet@hq.iucn.org

    The Principal Ecotourism officer, Mpulubusi is convinced that camels which were inherited from the Botswana Police Services a few years ago should not be sold as they are a good potential tourist attraction in the Kagalagadi region. Already people from Khawa and Ukhwi have shown an interest in venturing into camel tourism. They will however have to form trusts and apply for licences to operate. (Mmegi/The Reporter. 8, Dec 2000)

    Mmadinare village is besieged by elephants, destroying farms and lives of residents. government is considering donating elephants in the are to countries that may need them and is trying to raise funds to extend the animal control fence for a further 37km to keep the elephant out of free hold farms in the area. (The Guardian Dec 15 2000)

    Efforts to make Ngamiland a foot and mouth disease free are with opportunities for exporting its beef are for the first time beginning to take a positive direction. This follows a year long EIA of Ngamiland Veterinary fences whose recommendations outline among others policy options which aim to eliminate conflict between cattle farming and wildlife conservation. The study has been completed and the findings are being considered by government. A decision is expected in the early part of 2001 on the best livestock disease control policy to adopt for Ngamiland that also takes into account the needs of the people and the sustainability of the wildlife in the different areas of Ngamiland. (Mmegi/The Reporter, Dec 15 2000)

    Former DWNP director Mr Sedia Modise was appointed by the Peace Parks Foundation as facilitator for the Limpopo/Shashe Transfrontier Conservation Area (previously known as Dongola/Limpopo Valley TFCA). Under his chairmanship a historic first meeting on the development of the TFCA took place in Gaborone on the 26th of September 2000. The meeting was attended by key officials and private landowners from the 3 participating countries Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The meeting agreed that the first step was to finalise a memorandum of understanding between the three countries to formalise the commitment from the respective governments. (Peace Parks News 2nd Edition, Nov 2000. P4-5)

    Plans to help Chobe /district communities benefit from wildlife in their areas seem to be suffering hitches: the communities are failing to keep proper books of accounts and allegations of missing money are blighting the project. Parakarungu, Satau and Kavimba villages were asked by the Chobe enclave Trust board to balance their books of accounts first before their financial reports can be passed. A task team has been appointed to investigate allegations that money was missing from the Parakarungu committee. (The Midweek Sun, Wed 17 January 2001)


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    IUCN Botswana is part of the international membership organisation, IUCN-The World Conservation Union, which brings together states, governments and a diverse range of NGOs in a global partnership concerned with environmental issues. The IUCN Botswana Programme started in 1984 in connection with its involvement in preparing the National Conservation Strategy for Botswana. Other key activities in Botswana include an independent review of the Southern Okavango Integrated Development Project, prepare feasibility study for conducting a State of the Environment Review, prepare management plans for national parks, and formulate policy on Environmental Impact Assessment. Present major activities include the IUCN Botswana NGO Support Programme, CBNRM Support Programme (joint SNV/IUCN), Community Outreach Programme (with ART and Theatre for Africa) and the formulation of a Wetlands Policy and Strategy for Botswana (with Ecosurv for GoB). For informations visit our site www.iucnbot.bw

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    Last Updated:February, 2002
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