This delta in north-west Botswana comprises permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains. It is one of the very few major interior delta systems that do not flow into a sea or ocean, with a wetland system that is almost intact. One of the unique characteristics of the site is that the annual flooding from the River Okavango occurs during the dry season, with the result that the native plants and animals have synchronized their biological cycles with these seasonal rains and floods. It is an exceptional example of the interaction between climatic, hydrological and biological processes. The Okavango Delta is home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammal, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion. © UNESCO
2017 Conservation Outlook
Current state and trend of VALUES
Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT
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Description of values
Africa’s most extensive inland delta without an outlet to the sea, lying within a desert environment
Annual cycle of flooding
An outstanding example of the complexity, inter-dependence and interplay of climatic, geo-morphological, hydrological, and biological processes
Rich diversity of species across many taxa, with significant populations of African mega-fauna
Habitat for important populations of rare and endangered species
Landscape of exceptional and rare beauty
Amongst the various land-use and development plans that cover the World Heritage site the 2006 Okavango Delta Management Plan is most relevant. The focus of this plan is the RAMSAR-designated wetland of international importance, a much bigger area than that covered by the World Heritage site. Inscription of the Okavango Delta on the World Heritage list might be used as an opportunity to develop a revised management plan for the area that incorporates the requirements of world heritage status and addresses the need for a unified management system.
1. Continued to implement the Okavango Delta Management Plan in order to maintain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.
2. Developed protocols for wildlife monitoring in the Okavango Delta through the support of SAREP, including a web-based portal for analyzing the data.
3. Relinquished all the prospecting licenses in the core area and has not renewed most licenses in the buffer zone except 9, of which 2 of these are folios (at application stage).
4. Continued and expanded implementation of livelihoods programmes in the Delta.
5. Progress has been made in consulting the indigenous peoples on cultural heritage related issues.
6. Addressing the governance, stakeholder and coordination issues for the effective management of the property.
7. Continued with control and monitoring of alien invasive species within the property.
In the State of Conservation Report (GoB 2015) the State Party also drew attention to a number of challenges faced including:
1. Little progress has been made in establishing population baseline for key species and this is now earmarked for 2016/17.
2. Limited resources (financial and human resources) for implementing conservation programmes as outlined in the ODMP.
3. Challenge of dealing with outstanding prospecting licenses in buffer zone, which can be renewed up to 7 years, in terms of the existing laws.
4. New developments in the implementation of CBNRM, which take away the privileges local communities used to have under the old arrangement.
5. Coordination for the implementation of the management plan is still a challenge due to lack of capacity and resources.
Five distinct management regimes apply to zones within the nominated area. Moremi Game Reserve occupies about 23% of the core area and lies approximately in the centre of the property, surrounded by WMAs and CHAs. Thus the protected area design principles of having a totally protected core surrounded by zones designated for multiple uses are applicable in this case.
The private concessions in some of the Wildlife Management Areas are economically driven entities which seem to be very successful (IUCN, 2013). The income is partly used to maintain and develop the concession sites according to the approved management plans, while land royalties are paid to government, thereby supporting (indirectly) government’s capacity to regulate and manage the property.
|№||Organization/ individuals||Project duration||Brief description of Active Projects|
|1||TOCaDI (Trust for Okavango Cultural and Development Initiatives)||Support for community development|
|2||SAREP (Southern Africa Regional Programme for the Environment||Management and strategic panning support|
|3||Okavango Research Institute||Research and Monitoring|
|4||Birdlife Botswana||Monitoring bird life|
|5||Kalahari Conservation Society||No data|
|1||BirdLife International (2017) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Okavango Delta. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org.|
|2||Botswana (2012) Okavango Delta World Heritage Nomination Dossier. <http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1432/documents/>.|
|3||Botswana (2014) World Heritage Nomination Dossier, supplementary information provided to IUCN.|
|4||Bourquin S. and Brooks C. (2014). Protocol for the Okavango Wildlife Monitoring System. Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Chemonics International.|
|5||Chase M.J., Schlossberg S, Griffin C.R., Bouché P. J.C., Djene S.W., Elkan P. W., Ferreira S., Grossman F., Mtarima Kohi E., Landen K., Omondi P., Peltier A., Selier J. and Sutcliffe R. (2016). Continent-wide survey reveals massive decline in African savannah elephants. PeerJ 4:e2354. DOI 10.7717/peerj.2354.|
|6||Chevallier R. and Bybee M. (2014). Maintaining the ecological integrity of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, South African Institute of International Affairs.|
|7||DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs) 2008. Okavango Delta Management Plan.|
|8||Enviro Dynamics (2014). Environmental Management Plan for the exploration of base metals on exclusive prospecting licenses 5606, 4934, 5712 & 5713), Kavango East Region, Namibia. Rio Tinto Mining and Exploration (Pty) Ltd & Rundu Exploration (Pty) Ltd.|
|9||Gifford, J. (2013). Botswana’s wildlife crisis. Pp 30-36 In Geographical magazine (Royal Geographical Society, London), September issue|
|10||Government of Botswana (GoB). (2015). State of Conservation Report, Okavango Delta Natural World Heritage Site, Botswana (N1432). The Government of the Republic Of Botswana Department Of National Museum and Monuments Ministry Of Environment, Wildlife & Tourism.|
|11||IUCN (2013) World Heritage Nomination - IUCN Technical Evaluation, Okavango Delta (Botswana). Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. <http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1432/documents/>,|
|12||Kurugundla C. N.(2015) Okavango Delta World Heritage Conservation Report. Botswana Department of Water Affairs.|
|13||Lanting, F. (1994). Okavango: Arica’s Last Eden. London: Robert Hale|
|14||Mendelsohn, J.M. et al (2010). Okavango Delta: Floods of Life. Windhoek: Raison|
|15||Ross, K. (2003). Okavango: Jewel of the Kalahari. Cape Town: Struik|
|16||Satau B., Beri D., Useb J. and Crawhall N. (2015). Report on the Conservation, Development and Human Rights Workshop, Maun Botswana. Secretariat of the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC).|
|17||Shaheed, F. (2016). Report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights on her visit to Botswana; 2016. Human Rights Council Thirty-first session United Nations General Assembly A/HRC/31/59/Add.1.|
|18||Turpie J., Lannas K., Scovronick N. and Louw A. (2010). Wetland ecosystem services and their valuation: a review of current understanding and practice. Report to the South African Water Research Commission.|
|19||World Heritage Nomination (WHN). (2014). IUCN Technical Evaluation Okavango Delta (Botswana) – Id No. 1432.|