Botswana celebrates WWD and Ramsar’s 40th anniversary

Botswana celebrates WWD and Ramsar’s 40th anniversary

7 February 2011

Deputy Secretary General (DSG) Nick Davidson joined Botswana’s celebrations, this year held in Kasane in northern Botswana close to Chobe National Park, and a perfect location for the WWD theme of “Forests for water and wetlands” since the area linking between forest reserves, wooded areas of the National Park and the Chobe River floodplain. The celebrations focused on raising public awareness of wetlands values and benefits and the importance of the Ramsar Convention. Several hundred people, including schools and the local community, local and national government from many Ministries and the private sector collaborated for the lively celebrations, which included song and dance, a drama about safeguarding the environment performed by the Chobe Arts Association, presentation of prizes to the winners of a nationwide school environmental essay competition, and many exhibition stalls.

The Honourable Minister presenting school essay competition prizesExhibition standsMarinba Show - Tijun's Enterprise

Minister of Environment, Wildlife & Tourism, the Honourable Onkokame Kitso Mokaila, stressed the importance of collaborative actions across sectors and society to maintain Botswana’s unique natural environment, and announced that a project was being developed to establish a management framework for the Chobe river system and that a new national Forest Policy was nearing completion. Mr Steve Monna, Director of the Department of Environmental Affairs spoke of Botswana’s achievements in wetland and forest management including the Okavango Delta.

SeperuChobe Arts Association drama about illegal bushfires and woodcutting

The DSG congratulated Botswana on its work to involve all parts of society in achieving sustainable environmental management, stressed that the world is still facing the same challenges of dealing with wetland loss and deterioration as led to the Convention’s creation 40 years ago, and urged that everyone encourage the political will to work cross-sectorally to ensure that environmental decision-making does not destroy the natural infrastructure of wetlands upon which we all depend, rich or poor, for our future livelihoods and security.

Mr Steve Monna, Director of the Department of Environmental AffairsMinister of Environment, Wildlife & Toursim, the Honourable Onkokame Kitso MokailaMatsoangwao

Prior to the celebrations an excursion visited the Savuti Channel, which connects between the Chobe River and the Okavango Delta and which, thanks to recent plentiful rains, was flowing for the first time in over 20 years.

Chobe River and floodplainAt sunset