Makgadikgadi Wetlands (Botswana): Planning for Sustainable Use and Conservation
After the completion of the Okavango Delta Management Plan in 2008, the Botswana Government formed a partnership with private consultants led by the Centre for Applied Research to develop a similar plan for the Makgadikgadi wetlands in one year. The growing number of resource conflicts and government’s desire to conserve the ecosystem, enhance sustainable development in the area and to reduce poverty formed the main reasons for the plan development. Plan development was holistic and integrated with participation of communities and leading sectors and stakeholders. The main stages were: development of an integrated framework focused on the area’s main challenges; a range of specialised environmental and socio-economic studies (ecology, hydrogeology, wildlife, land use, livelihoods, economic values, policy assessment, archaeology, tourism and heritage); integration of the specialist studies into the framework and development of a range of future development scenarios; finally, selection of the preferred scenario, plan development with project activities based on the preferred scenario. Communities and other stakeholders (livestock, crop, tourism and mining sectors) actively participated throughout the plan development. This was essential in developing a shared understanding among communities and the main economic sectors and reaching consensus about the preferred scenario. The Plan is currently being implemented through the Department of Environmental Affairs, the MFMP Implementation Committee and the Makgadikgadi Wetlands Committee based in the area. The Botswana MAB Committee plans to apply to UNSECO for Biosphere Reserve status of the area.
KeywordsMakgadikgadi wetlands Sustainable development Integrated planning stakeholder participation
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