Building Local Capacity for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in the Okavango Delta.
The BIOKAVANGO Project's aim is to lift barriers to mainstreaming biodiversity conservation objectives into the activities of three production sectors: water, tourism and fisheries, all dependent on ecological services and goods provided by the Okavango wetland system. The Project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Government of Botswana, and implemented by the Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre (HOORC) in Maun. Project design is founded on the recognition that command and control approaches alone are inadequate to ensure effective and sustainable mainstreaming of biodiversity management objectives in the production sectors of the Okavango Delta.
The project has therefore adopted a two-pronged strategy to mainstreaming biodiversity management in the three sectors, namely: i) transferring certain key responsibilities for biodiversity management to land users ensuring that land use activities are undertaken with due diligence to conservation objectives and ii) building capacity within the regulatory authorities responsible for resource use allocation and management to assimilate and apply biodiversity management objectives in decision making. The strategy is being achieved through development and implementation of user-friendly conservation management models, centralizing and making data accessible for decision making, and providing technical assistance to users to understand the data and make informed management decisions.