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Meeting the Challenges of Aridity - Turning Crises into New Opportunities

Botswana's extremes with regards to biodiversity provide an immense variety of habitats and endemic species with spectacular characteristics representing a rich asset to local communities and the national economy. Situated in the heart of the Kalahari Desert, the Okavango River with its freshwater riches flowing in from the north forming the Okavango Delta, and creating the largest delta oasis protected under the Ramsar Convention. 40 000 years ago, the waters of the Okavango drained into present day central Botswana forming Lake Makgadikgadi - a gigantic ancient super lake with seasonally flooded dry salt pans can now be seen even from outer space. Caught between drought and deluge, scarcity and abundance, urban growth and rural resource economies, Botswana faces several major environment and development challenges. The IUCN Botswana Programme is designed to tackle the challenges of Aridity by turning crises into new opportunities.


Programme Focal Areas

Building resilience for improved livelihoods in Natural Resources Management, addressing major challenges in: drylands, rangeland management, protected areas, water and wetland resources, waste and sanitation and CBNRM. These challenges include: scientific gaps on the status and trends of natural resources, inappropriate management practices and inequitable community participation and benefit sharing. Aridity ignores boundaries: Inclusive Protected Areas with or without fences, IUCN's intervention seeks to promote effective and efficient management of protected areas, and increasingly engage communities and other local stakeholders in the management process.

Conservation and equitable sharing of life's matrix - Water, addressing access to basic water and sanitation services that is an equitable human right for Botswana citizens, regardless of age, gender or income. Ensuring long term equity requires fair and effective pricing that sends an efficiency signal to all users and consumers that water is finite and cannot be wasted, literally flushed down the drain. IUCN intervention seeks collaborative solutions for the surface and groundwater sources of Botswana's water, which are shared with neighbouring countries. IUCN further promotes environmental flows that are absolutely essential to ecosystem health, upon which all humans depend.

Maximizing natural capital for bankable dividends - Business & Biodiversity, seeking to overcome economic challenges such as inadequate understanding of transnational markets, unfavourable trade agreements, lack of clout for 'greening' international trade agreements like the World Trade Organization. The institutional frameworks exist for success in these arenas, but IUCN has, until recently, lacked the requisite influence in economic circles. A better understanding by all of household economic objectives, potential markets and real economic incentives can give conservation the fuel and traction it needs. It can bring broader equity to the benefits of community tourism. IUCN's intervention is focusing on:
o Promoting and pilot principles of responsible and fair-trade tourism;
o Increasing the spin-offs of ecotourism the development of natural products and crafts by local communities;
o Carrying out close collaboration with relevant institutions to generate information that can be applied toward sustainable management.

Securing partnerships with, and coordination of, civil society leaders - Institutional Capacity Building, addressing the intrinsic structural weaknesses of community based organizations (CBOs), of Governments, and of environmental NGOs. Collectively, institutional breakdown has left glaring failures. Good policy is not implemented. Good laws are not enforced. International conventions are ignored. IUCN's intervention seeks to overcome transnational environmental weaknesses at governmental levels, by environmental advocacy NGOs and by communities influencing policies, regulations, international conventions and community activities.


The Botswana CBNRM Support Programme: empowering local communities
The Programme supports Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) activities by promoting the incorporation of valuable and intimate local indigenous knowledge on successful land use practices available in Botswana. The CBNRM Support Programme also contributes to capacity building of institutions on different levels empowering rural communities to gain rights and responsibilities over their resources, by establishing committees and navigating them through challenging administrative processes. The Programme strengthens the involvement of local communities in veld product activities, such as the commercial use of medicinal plants and ecotourism, mainly working in partnership with local NGOs, CBOs, Private Sector, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, the CBNRM National Forum and various District Fora.

Please click here for the CBNRM Botswana Website.

The Okavango Delta Management Plan (ODMP)

The ODMP is a long-term master plan for the Okavango Delta - the world's largest Ramsar site - where IUCN Botswana has one of the important roles under the lead of the Government of Botswana, The Department of Environmental Affairs. The ODMP is spearheading the application of the Ecosystem Approach through integration and participatory approach in the planning: The ODMP has 12 sectoral components, (e.g. hydrology and water resources, fisheries management, physical planning, etc.) and their activities are implemented in synchrony, which integrates the planning processes. Ownership, accountability and responsibility of the management plan with stakeholders, living in and upstream of the Delta, is created through extensive consultation. The regional outreach and cooperation under the OKACOM Agreement with upstream neighbours Namibia and Angola will be of outmost importance to secure a sustainable future for the Delta.

Click here for more information about the ODMP


SADC Liaison Functions

IUCN Botswana plays an ambassadorial role for the Union to SADC. The recent process of re-centralizing and ongoing re-structuring of SADC means that all of its environmental and natural resources related focus will be orchestrated from Gaborone, Botswana. Moreover, organizations such as the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) have indicated interest to operate through economic communities such as SADC. IUCN is making plans to raise and strengthen the profile of the IUCN Botswana Office to exploit a linking niche that is driven by its comparative advantage of spatial proximity to SADC and the wealth of capacity in skill, knowledge and network that the various IUCN commissions can potentially offer.


The Drylands Programme is managed from Botswana
Masego Madzwamuse
IUCN Botswana Office

More information on the Drylands Programme.

More information on Drylands.

Southern Africa Biodiversity Support Programme (SABSP) has its offices in Botswana, next door to IUCN Botswana

The Southern Africa Biodiversity Support Programme started in 2000 and is being implemented in ten SADC countries (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe). IUCN ROSA implements the Programme on behalf of SADC. The aim of the Programme is to establish capacity and institutional mechanisms that enable SADC member states to collaborate in regional biodiversity conservation; to manage (i) Invasive Alien Species and (ii) Access and Benefit-Sharing. Some outputs include the development of a regional biodiversity strategy, sustainable financing mechanisms, and renewed policies and regional instruments, in line with provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). UNDP provides the funding through The Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Enos Shumba
IUCN Botswana Office
Private Bag 00300
Tel: +267 3188 351/2/3
Fax: +267 3188 353
Email: enos.shumba@iucn.org









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