Saving the Okavango Delta – an African treasure
Last year, news that a Canadian oil and gas exploration company, ReconAfrica, planned the go-ahead with fracking in some of Africa’s most sensitive environmental areas sent shockwaves all over the world. The gas giant indicated that it planned to begin oil exploration in the Namibian headwaters of the Okavango Delta and the Tsodilo Hills, a World Heritage Site in Botswana.
Youth climate activists in the Namibian capital, along with several other environmental and human rights groups, reacted with international calls from all fronts to prevent the impending environmental catastrophe that not only impacts the Okavango Delta’s biodiversity – which includes a number of endangered species – but also communities who depend on the Kavango Basin to sustain their livelihoods.
1. The Okavango Delta is the only source of water in the region
The Okavango Delta situated 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.
2. Local communities’ livelihoods rely on the Okavango Delta
Being the only source of water in one of the driest parts of Africa, the Okavango Delta is the main source of water to local communities, which include the first people of Southern Africa: the San. Because its wetland system is practically intact, there is no contamination of its water which is essential to their food supply – and the food supply of both countries surrounding it. The Okavango Delta is also a major tourist attraction and is an important source of income and employment for citizens of either country.
3. The Okavango Delta is home to Southern Africa’s first people
The Okavango Delta has been inhabited for centuries by small numbers of indigenous people, with different groups adapting their cultural identity and lifestyle to the exploitation of particular resources, such as fishing or hunting. This form of low-level subsistence use has no significant impact on the ecological integrity of the area. Today, mixed settlements of indigenous peoples and later immigrants to the area are located around the fringes of the basin.
4. The Okavango Delta is a major biodiversity hotspot
Due to its unique climate, 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. It is also home to huge populations of elephants and hippos.
5. Oil Drilling in the Okavango Delta will exacerbate the climate crisis
Fridays For Future Windhoek revealed that the oil and gas ‘play’ of Canadian ReconAfrica in the Kavango region of Namibia and Botswana risks destroying global attempts of meeting a two-thirds chance of limiting global heating to 1.5°C as part of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Based on ReconAfrica’s own projections of 120 billion barrels of oil equivalent, the ‘carbon gigabomb’ comes in at up to 51.6 Gigatonnes of CO2, the equivalent of one sixth of the world’s remaining carbon budget. This, among other issues, raises ocean temperatures and disrupts ocean ecosystems. Recently, over 7,000 seal corpses were discovered along the Namibian coastline. Scientists concluded that the seal pups and mothers died of starvation because the seal moms were so thin.
Sources: UNESCO, Fridays For Future, CGTN Africa
Sixth reason why the Okavango Delta should be left alone: This pristine resource doesn't belong to one country alone. It is a common and belongs or at the very least contributes to the integrity of the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-boundary Conservation Area (KAZA TCA). It belongs to Nambia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola through the KAZA. Because of this it is environmental activists from all the five countries that should speak about this oil drilling and selling of elephants. These resources belong to the KAZA. So don't be fooled by the political boundaries, this conservation area and ecosystems knows knows no boundaries. The corridors for elephants and other wildlife don't acknowledge no political boundaries. So for the sake of all of Southern Africa let us preserve this precious common.
Thank you for your comment. Agreed, we need to protect the Okavango Delta at all cost.
One of the worst environmental atrocities possible...and lead by a first world nation which claims carbon dioxide reduction.
Thank you for your comment. Indeed, this is an environmental tragedy.
Please Greenpeace put in all your effort to stop the oil drilling at the Okavango Delta! We are at a crucial turning point to end the human plundering attitude. Fighting for this UNSECO Heritage NOW site is very important! Thank you & much love!
Thank you for your comment and support. Indeed this is a collective effort from each one of us.
Every International Conservation Organisation needs to fight against any further oil exploration in the Okavanga region.
Thank you for your comment; we agree this must be a collective effort from each of us.
we are tired of living in a so called independence COUNTRY but yet we have no saying to protect what belong to us. OUR COUNTRY ITS FREE BUT YET LIVING LIFE LIKE WE DONT BELONG IN THIS COUNTRY WE ARE NOT EVEN SIMPLE STAND ON OUR SELF AS A COUNTRY WE DEPENDS ON FOREIGN COUNTRY TO RULE US AND DEMANDING ON US WHAT DO WHY? why my prayer is GOD WHO GAVE THIS COUNTRY WHAT IT HAVE MAY PUNISH WHO EVER TOUCH WHAT SUPPOSED NOT TO BE TOUCHED AND WHO EVER USE IT IN AWAY THAT IT SUPPOSED NOT TO BE USED IF ITS TO DIE LET THEM DIE BECAUSE IT HAPPENED INTO THE BIBLE THE STORY OF SAFIRA. LEADERS OF THIS LAND KNOW THAT THERE'S IS GOD IF YOU'RE NOT REPENDING BEFORE TIME DONT FORGET THERE IS NO REPENDING AFTER DEATH. AND THERE'S JUDGEMENT FOR EVERY ONE THIS COUNTRY BELONG TO GOD THE CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH THE SEA AND EVERYTHING THAT LIVES IN IT I HAVE SAID MY SAYING FEAR YOUR GOD ASK WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE YOUR GOD WILL GIVE IT TO YOU THE WHEN ITS YOUR TIME YOU WILL REST IN PEACE. NO ONE CAN GIVE YOU PEACE ON EARTH FOR WE ARE ALL CREATED BY GOD COME BACK TO GOD AND START DOING THE RIGHT THINGS AS GOD WANT YOU TO DO.
Thank you for sharing your concerns with us.
Please please respect our precious natural environment. Due to a unique climate, the Okavango Delta is home to some of the world’s most endangered spectacular species of large mammal, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion. It is also home to huge populations of magnificent beloved elephants and hippos. Humans & animals both need a healthy home with clean water. Please save this gorgeous heaven on earth.
Thank you for your support💚.
We will keep on pushing to stop this inhuman project, in fact I have written an article on it and with this information I will continue lobbying for the stop to it. I might reference some of your sentiments in my article. Thank you
Thank you for sharing with us.
I’m confused by the first paragraph. Recon Africa said it wasn’t fracking and doesn’t have any permits to track. Also they had the area of the Tsodilo hills formally removed from their licensed area, even though they didn’t plan to drill anywhere near there in the first place. It doesn’t help the cause to be inaccurate about companies you are working to fight against.
Recon Africa license is completely within the Kavango Zambezi Trans frontier area and overlaps with six locally managed wildlife reserves and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. African elephants, African wild dogs, lions, leopards, giraffes, birds and rare flora will be deleteriously affected by the project. Kindly read more here >>>> Greenpeace Africa