The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism in partnership with the government of the United States will launch the Lake Ngami Management Plan on April 11, 2014 at Sehithwa village.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Mr Neil Fitt and an official from the US are expected to perform the official launch.
Lake Ngami is part of the Okavango Delta RAMSAR site and the development of the Lake Ngami Management Plan was made possible by the American people through funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under its Southern Africa Regional Environmental Program (SAREP).
SAREP works collaboratively with the Permanent Okavango River Basin Commission (OKACOM) and local authorities to improve livelihoods and protect natural resources in the Ngamiland region.
The Okavango Delta is the country’s top tourism destination, and travel and tourism account for almost 10% of Botswana’s GDP, as well as 10% of all employment.
The US government found it fit through its partnership to preserve one of Botswana’s greatest natural resources and income generators.
According to a press release from SAREP office, a new study concluded that, without intervention, the Okavango Delta RAMSAR Site is under substantial threat and will in the near future cross a number of unacceptable thresholds. It states that the objective of the land use plan is to promote the sustainable and efficient use of natural resources to benefit local communities while conserving the environment at this globally recognized site.
The Lake Ngami Management Plan was approved by the Tawana Land Board in 2013 and it will be collaboratively implemented with district stakeholders through the newly established Lake Ngami Community Trust. Six villages have been designated as member communities in the Trust, and thus given responsibility for implementing the Plan; these villages are Toteng, Legothwana, Bothatogo, Sehithwa, Bodibeng, and Kareng.
The boundary of the proposed management area encloses the area between the main Maun to Ghanzi road and the old Toteng to Ghanzi. The southern boundary follows the southern boundary of the Ramsar site.
The press release further states that the development of the plan is a significant milestone in attempting to preserve Lake Ngami, which has the potential to become a travel destination and target for eco-tourism projects and scientific studies.
As part of the Okavango Delta Ramsar site and a Birdlife International Important Birding Area, it holds great potential in providing sustainable benefits to local communities through bird related tourism. Careful implementation of the tourism aspects of this plan, however, and adaptation to the changing locations of key areas are critical if the communities are to generate benefits from Lake Ngami while protecting its biodiversity for the future.
For the local market, mainly located in Maun, recreational use of the lake through fishing and boating activities is also expected.
The management plan compliments numerous collaborative efforts on the part of the US government and Tawana Land Board efforts to raise community-level awareness for conserving Lake Ngami. The US government, through USAID-funded SAREP, has worked closely since 2010 with local authorities and community based organisations to protect livelihoods and natural resources throughout the Ngamiland region.
Last updated: August 07, 2014