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OKACOM, Wild Bird Trust collaborate

The Permanent Okavango River Commission (OKACOM) and Wild Bird Trust have come up with an agreement aimed at strengthening collaboration to protect the Cubango-Okavango River Basin.

Speaking at the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony in Maun this week, OKACOM executive secretary, Mr Phera Ramoeli said the two parties realised the need to reinforce collaborations to conserve the basin’s resources.

He said the collaboration would also ensure sustainable interventions for the development of the Cubango-Okavango basin’s water resources at national and trans-boundary levels. He added that the partnership with Wild Bird Trust supported implementation of the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project (NGOWP).

The Wild Bird Trust is an organisation that was formed in 2009 in South Africa and expanded to Botswana in 2016 as Botswana Wild Bird Trust.

It focuses on local community capacity building in natural resources management programmes and conservation. It has also spread its wings to Angola.

Mr Ramoeli noted that the socio-economic development of communities living around the basin was key while sustaining the health of the ecosystem.

He observed that communities of Angola, Namibia and Botswana, which make up the Cubango-Okavango basin, experienced common challenges of poverty and environmental degradation which needed to be addressed collaboratively.

Mr Ramoeli also observed that veld fires, deforestation and other factors that affected the water quality needed to be addressed.  He said the main purpose of the MoU was to ensure equitable use of resources without causing harm.

He said OKACOM ensured that the countries around the basin adhered to developments that would not affect the natural cycle of the basin by ensuring peace and stability in the water system.

The Wild Bird Trust CEO, Mr John Hilton said the primary aim of the partnership was to support efforts led by Angolan to better protect the Okavango-Zambezi Water Tower in the remote Angolan highlands.

Mr Hilton said Angola, which has been behind in conservation and development of the basin due its civil wars, was making strides, saying the country has also developed community livelihoods projects for those around the basin.

OKACOM coordinator, Ms Tracy Molefi said the three countries recognised the importance of information and monitoring project since trans-boundary information-sharing and partnership was key to sustainable management planning of the basin.ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Kedirebofe Pelontle

Location : Maun

Event : signing ceremony

Date : Feb 28 Thu,2019

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