The second quarter workshop of the Okavango Wetlands Management Committee (OWMC)was held at Kamanga Lodge in Maun on 15th June 2010.The Okavango Wetlands Management Committee, chaired by the Tawana Land Board secretary is a committee made up of planners and officers who have a responsibility of ensuring sustainable use of natural resources in Ngamiland. The OWMC meets quarterly to review progress made by planners on issues of biodiversity conservation. A major challenge hampering sustainable biodiversity conservation is lack of access to current and correct information to enable sound planning and decision making.In light of this, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in conjunction with the Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre (HOORC)’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Lab and the BIOKAVANGO Project organized a workshop to introduce new planners in the district to the Okavango Delta Information System (ODIS). Presentations from DEA and the BIOKAVANGO project were made in the morning, keeping in mind that 2010 has been declared International Year of Biodiversity by UNEP. Resolutions were made that a Biodiversity Launch and activities should be carried out to sensitise the Ngamiland Community on the importance of biodiversity. Activities will be linked to major public events such as the Maun District Agricultural to be held from 29-31 July 2010, the World Tourism Day in September 2010, the Tawana Land Board Open Day planned for 4th September 2010 and the National Tree Planting Day.Lessons learnt from the BIOKAVANGO Fisheries and Systemic components were also presented.
The second half of the session saw the planners visiting the HOORC GIS lab where Mr Masego Dhliwayo, the ODIS manager facilitated a ‘hand-on’ ODIS session for all delegates. The online ODIS is expected to play a critical role in ensuring access to information and data to assist the planners and officers as well as researchers in the district.