A management plan for the world’s largest inland delta was launched on World Wetlands Day.
The Okavango Delta Management Plan was officially unveiled in Maun, Botswana, on February 2, 2008, with officials from Angola, Namibia and Botswana.
Botswanan Environment Minister the Hon. Onkokame Kitso Makaila led the celebration and noted the important role IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) played in supporting the process. IUCN was the inspiration for the plan in 1995 and supported the process from 2002 until its culmination.
The Okavango Delta irrigates more than 15,000 km2 of arid lands in southern Africa. It straddles the borders of Angola, Namibia and Botswana and is the largest Ramsar site in the world.
The Okavango Delta Management Plan is the result of a broad process that included concerns of all stakeholders in the region. Part of the launch included a technical session reviewing the plan.
Chair of IUCN’s Commission on Ecosystem Management Hillary Masundire was pleased to report to participants that the plan was a good example of application of the ecosystem approach.
Botswana has a 2016 vision for sustainability and they hope to use the Okavango Delta Management Plan as a model for supporting resources in other parts of the country such as the Makgadikgadi Pans.
Minister Makaila noted that tourism income from the delta represented almost 10% of the national GDP and was therefore an integral part of the economy. He emphasized how important environmental management would be to the future of the country.
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