The 38th Session of the World Heritage Committee, which has been meeting in Doha this week, has agreed to the Inscription of the Okavango Delta as a Natural World Heritage Site. Below is the text of the Minister of Environement, Wildlife and Tourism, the Honourable Tshedkedi Khama’s, acceptance speech following the announcement.
On behalf of His Excellency, the President of the
Republic of Botswana Lt. Gen. SKI Khama, the government and the people of
Botswana, I am happy to accept the status bestowed on our Okavango Delta,
Natural World Heritage Site. This is evidence that the international community
recognizes and acknowledges the natural outstanding universal values of the
Madam Chair, let me assure you that the government
of Botswana is committed to the protection of all its natural and cultural
heritage, regardless of whether it is a World Heritage site or not. We
therefore assure the committee that we will continue to work with relevant
stakeholders, most importantly the communities living in and around the
Okavango Delta, and the riparian States of Angola and Namibia to maintain the
integrity of the Okavango Delta.
We are very honored to have the Okavango Delta as
one of the World Heritage sites after Tsodilo Hills which was inscribed in
2001. The success of this nomination is attributed to the support of the
African World Heritage Fund (AWHF), the World Heritage Centre, IUCN, ICOMOS,
through the Nomination Training Programme for Africa dedicated to the training
of heritage professionals in Africa in the development of nomination dossiers
with the aim of increasing the number of World Heritage Sites in Africa in the
World Heritage List.