|Overview : |
The Government of Botswana, through the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism (MENT), in partnership with UNDP, is implementing a 6-year GEF-funded project entitled: : Managing the human-wildlife interface to sustain the flow of agro-ecosystem services and prevent illegal wildlife trafficking in the Kgalagadi and Ghanzi Drylands (PIMS 5590). This is a child project under the World Bank-led Global Wildlife Programme which seeks globally to prevent the extinction of known threatened species through activities that: reduce illegal wildlife trade (IWT) and wildlife crime; protect the habitats of targeted species through improved governance and natural resource management; and, reduce demand for illegally-traded wildlife and wildlife products by changing consumer behaviour, supporting activities that promote alternative, nature-based livelihoods and decrease the costs to communities of living with wildlife (by mitigating human-wildlife conflict).
The Kgalagadi and Ghanzi Drylands Ecosystem Project (KGDEP, as it is known locally), operates across a vast landscape that extends from the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the south-west, to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in the north-east, and includes the intervening Game Management Areas and communal lands that link the two protected areas. Natural resources management in this Kalahari landscape is impacted by land-use conflicts arising from competing goals of conservation and economic development, commercial cattle ranching and subsistence livestock-keeping, and the desire of communities to pursue traditional livelihoods. The consequent rangeland degradation and ecosystem fragmentation that has taken place threatens the future of wildlife and economic development and impacts on the quality of life of rural communities. Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) have been established to secure migratory corridors for wildlife to move safely between the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and to support nature-based economic activities for local communities.
Due to the complex interplay of multiple factors, the effectiveness of the GMAs is being compromised, wildlife is under threat from poaching, wildlife poisoning and illegal wildlife trade (IWT), and communities have yet to realize the benefits of living with wildlife. Competition between commercial and subsistence livestock farmers and increasing land-use pressures from these and other sectors is reducing the productivity of rangelands, and the lack of viable alternative livelihood opportunities fuels community frustrations. Stakeholders currently lack the planning tools, institutional coordination and operational capacities to balance competing needs and optimize environmental, social and economic outcomes.
The Government of Botswana seeks to address these issues through this project, which is structured under four components: 1) Coordinating capacity for combating wildlife crime/trafficking and enforcement of wildlife policies and regulations at district, national and international levels ; 2) Establishing incentives and systems for wildlife protection by communities to increase financial returns from natural resource use and reduce human wildlife conflicts, securing livelihoods and biodiversity in the Kalahari landscape; 3) Integrated landscape planning in conservation areas and introduction of SLM practices in communal lands to secure wildlife migratory corridors and increase productivity of rangelands, thus reducing competition between land-uses and increasing ecosystem integrity of the Kalahari ecosystem; and, (4) Gender mainstreaming, knowledge management, monitoring and evaluation..