European Union (EU) Heads of Missions in Botswana were this week in Maun and Ngamiland with a specific focus on wildlife management issues – specifically human wildlife conflicts, natural resource management and tourism.
The HoMs, EU ambassador to Botswana and SADC Petra Pereyra, Ambassador of Germany, Margit Hellwig-Boette, and Ambassador of France, Olivier Brochenin paid a courtesy on Batawana Kgosikgolo Tawana Moremi II.
Speaking during the call on Kgosi Tawana Pereyra noted that they have a specific interest in finding solutions that support human-wildlife conflict within Ngamiland communities while also promoting sustainable tourism.
The visit to Maun and the Ngamiland District follows a similar one in December 2019 was also meant to check progress of the EU funded projects. The project includes the glass recycling project, Boswa Culinary Institute and the Hospitality and Tourism Studies department at Maun Senior Secondary School, a Technical and Vocational Education and Training programme funded by the EU. The Ambassadors also visited the Maun Bridge to appreciate the hydro station monitoring of the river flow.
Pereyra revealed that they are working together with the French Development Agency (FDA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on such projects to ensure Botswana sustains its tourism industry through its abundant wildlife and the rich bio-diversity which is their main source of attraction.
Pereyra said the visit is also meant to explore on the wildlife management systems, the challenges posed to the local communities on human-wildlife conflicts issues and find solutions to support local communities to co-exist with the wildlife in the region.
The Ambassador indicated that the sustainable wildlife management projects in Habu and Eretsha will help provide more knowledge and education to the communities living in the area on human-wildlife co-existence for the promotion of the tourism sector.
Furthermore, she indicated that the hydrometric station monitoring the flow of the Okavango river basin project that is run by the EU in partnership with the Okavango River Basin Commission seeks to improve the decision making systems in the river basin which runs through Namibia, Angola and Botswana.
According to her, the project will strengthen the water management in the river basin with the availability of the hydrological and ecological data which helps to establish early warning systems, strengthen land management through improved land use planning, reduction of environmental degradation, services provision and improve livelihood in the region.
Kgosi Tawana II had lamented that Ngamiland people have challenges of problematic wildlife especially elephants which impacts negatively on the agricultural sector. “The human-wildlife conflict has affected the agricultural production in the region leaving people in dire poverty because of elephants,” he lamented.
Meanwhile Moremi said they are waiting for the report of the research carried on the Okavango Basin as he is hopeful that the information will be useful to communities in the Okavango and nationally.