PRE-FEASIBILITY STUDY ON THE LISTING OF BIOSPHERE RESERVES IN BOTSWANA - JUNE 2014 PREPARED BY - BFN

 
PRE-FEASIBILITY STUDY ON THE LISTING OF BIOSPHERE RESERVES IN BOTSWANA - JUNE 2014 PREPARED BY - BFN
Pre-feasibility study on the
listing of Biosphere Reserves
         in Botswana

                 June 2014
                Prepared by
         Centre for Applied Research
                     for
National MAB Committee Botswana & the German
     Federal Agency for Nature Conservation
PRE-FEASIBILITY STUDY ON THE LISTING OF BIOSPHERE RESERVES IN BOTSWANA - JUNE 2014 PREPARED BY - BFN
Prefeasibility study for Biosphere Reserves in Botswana

Contents
List of Tables ........................................................................................................................................... 3
List of Figures .......................................................................................................................................... 3
List of Boxes ............................................................................................................................................ 3
Acknowledgements................................................................................................................................. 4
Exchange Rate......................................................................................................................................... 4
List of abbreviations................................................................................................................................ 5
1      Introduction .................................................................................................................................... 6
2       The Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme.................................................................................. 8
    2.1        The global programme............................................................................................................ 8
    2.2        The southern African Programme.........................................................................................10
3      Examples of international biosphere reserves relevant to Botswana..........................................12
4      Benefits of biosphere reserves and comparison with other global certification programmes....15
5      Identification and initial ranking process of potential Botswana Biosphere Reserve sites..........18
    5.2        Synopsis of possible BR sites.................................................................................................19
       5.2.1          Greater Gaborone.........................................................................................................19
       5.2.3          Makgadikgadi Wetlands................................................................................................20
       5.2.4          Southern Sua Pan..........................................................................................................21
       5.2.5          Northern Forest Reserves .............................................................................................22
       5.2.6          Botswana part of the Kalahari Transfrontier Park and surrounding area ....................22
       5.2.7          Okavango Delta Ramsar Site.........................................................................................23
       5.2.8.         Khutse Game Reserve – Western Kweneng..................................................................23
    5.3        Ranking of the sites...............................................................................................................25
6      Description of the preferred BR site: Makgadikgadi wetlands.....................................................29
    6.1        Background assessment........................................................................................................29
       6.1.1          Biophysical characteristics ............................................................................................29
       6.1.2          Socio-economic characteristics.....................................................................................33
       6.1.3          Governance/Management Framework ........................................................................33
    6.2 Stakeholder consultations ..........................................................................................................35
       6.2.1          Introduction and scope .................................................................................................35
       6.2.2          Stakeholders’ views.......................................................................................................36
       6.2.3          General views................................................................................................................37
    6.4        Conclusion.............................................................................................................................37
7      Summary, conclusions and recommendations.............................................................................38
    7.1        Review of potential BR sites .................................................................................................38
    7.2        Pre-feasibility assessment for nomination of the Makgadikgadi wetlands as a BR .............39
    7.3        BR related activities for other potential BR sites..................................................................41
References ............................................................................................................................................42

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Annex I: Terms of Reference for a Prefeasibility Study on UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Botswana44
Annex II: List of people participating in community consultations, April 2014. ...................................46
Annex III: Schedule of Makgadkgadi wetlands local consultations ......................................................48
Annex IV: List of important support documents...................................................................................49
Annex V: Makgadikgadi wetlands BR listing endorsements.................................................................50

List of Tables
Table 1: Criteria for BR site ranking and weights used. ........................................................................25
Table 2: Unweighted criteria scores by potential BR site .....................................................................26
Table 3: An overview of the villages under each cluster: .....................................................................35

List of Figures
Figure 1: An indicative outline of the boundaries of the eight potential biosphere reserves.............19
Figure 2: Ranking of the BR site options (1 = highest scores; 8 is lowest scores)................................27
Figure 3: Provisional Makgadikgadi wetland area ................................................................................30
Figure 4: Land use in the Makgadikgadi wetlands................................................................................30

List of Boxes
Box: 1: Designation procedure for biosphere reserves ......................................................................... 9

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PRE-FEASIBILITY STUDY ON THE LISTING OF BIOSPHERE RESERVES IN BOTSWANA - JUNE 2014 PREPARED BY - BFN
Prefeasibility study for Biosphere Reserves in Botswana

Acknowledgements
This study has been carried out by a team of the Centre for Applied Research CAR (Batsumi
Rankokwane, Jaap Arntzen and Kabelo Senyatso) with valuable inputs and contributions to this report
by Thomas Schaaf of Terra-Sana Environmental Consulting.

The study has been financed by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN).

The authors are grateful to the National Man and Biosphere Committee (NMABC), chaired by Moemi
Batshabang, for their guidance on this assignment. We are indebted to the Department of
Environmental Affairs for their large support during the community consultations.

We thank the local community cluster representatives from across the Makgadikgadi, and chiefs of
Nata, Mosu, and Rakops for hosting our community consultations, and for their inputs. Similarly, we
would like to thank other contributors such as BotAsh, Debswana, and various committees dealing
with the Makgadikgadi wetlands.

The contributions of so many institutions and individuals demonstrate the interest in and support for
the biosphere listing process in Botswana.

Exchange Rate
6th of May 2014; www.fx.rate.net

BWP 1    = Euro 0.0825658
BWP 1    = US$ 0.1149
BWP 1    = Rand 1.19686

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PRE-FEASIBILITY STUDY ON THE LISTING OF BIOSPHERE RESERVES IN BOTSWANA - JUNE 2014 PREPARED BY - BFN
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List of abbreviations

AfriMAB     African Man and Biosphere Programme
BfN         Federal Agency for Nature Protection (German Government)
BR          Biosphere Reserve
CAR         Centre for Applied Research
CBNRM       Community Based Natural Resources Management
CBO         Community Based Organisation
DDP         District Development Plan
DLUPU       District Land Use Planning Unit
GIZ         German Agency for International Cooperation
IUCN        International Union for the Conservation of Nature
MAB         Man and Biosphere Programme
MIC         MFMP Implementation Committee
MFMP        Makgadikgadi Framework Management Plan
MWMC        Makgadikgadi Wetland Management Committee
NDP         National Development Plan
NMABC       National MAB Committee
ODMP        Okavango Development Management Plan
PA          Protected Area
TAC         Technical Advisory Committee
ToR         Terms of Reference
UNESCO      United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
WMA         Wildlife Management Area

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1            Introduction
According to the Terms of Reference (ToR) for this study (Annex 1), the overall objective of the
prefeasibility study is ‘’to support the National Man and Biosphere (MAB) Committee in order to
identify the potential for the establishment of iosphere Reserves (R) in otswana’’/ The specific
objectives of the prefeasibility study include:

           a. Screening and ranking of potential sites for Biosphere Reserves on the basis of defined
              criteria;
           b. Introduction of the BR concept and the testing of its acceptance and implementation
              potential in the most suitable area; and
           c. Formulation of recommendations for the establishment of BRs in Botswana in general and
              for the selected areas in particular.

The following specific tasks are listed in the ToR:

     i.      Form an interdisciplinary study team of experts that, apart from natural and social science,
             also covers expertise in community development;
    ii.      Define a set of criteria for the selection of potential BR sites in Botswana that reflect the
             specific situation in Botswana as well as the potential for local acceptance of and support for
             a BR;
    iii.     Site identification and selection:
                  Develop a matrix of a maximum of ten potential sites considering the defined criteria
                      and expert knowledge and indicate why the specific site would be suitable for
                      nomination as a UNESCO BR.
                  Select a maximum of six potential sites for which a more detailed desk analysis and
                      description is carried out.
                  Rank the sites and, in accordance with representatives of the National MAB Interim
                      Committee, select one site as a pilot site.
    iv.      Carry out a prefeasibility study in the selected site, considering the following aspects:
                  Natural and cultural endowment;
                  Land use;
                  Development activities;
                  Institutional set up and stakeholders;
                  Research and monitoring.
    v.       Submit a report on the potential for the establishment of Biosphere Reserves in Botswana in
             general and for the selected area in particular. The report should also include
             recommendations on how to foster MAB implementation in Botswana.
    vi.      Present the results of the study to the National MAB Interim Committee.

Biosphere Reserves are sites established by countries and recognised under UNESCO's MAB
Programme to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts and sound
science. The MAB programme is an Intergovernmental Scientific Programme aiming to set a scientific
basis for the improvement of the relationships between people and their environment globally. The
programme seeks to reconcile conservation of biological and cultural diversity with economic and
social development through partnerships between people and nature. BRs can be used to test and
demonstrate innovative approaches to sustainable development from local to international scales.

Biosphere reserves are thus globally considered as:

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     i.    Sites of excellence where new and optimal practices to manage nature and human activities
           are tested and demonstrated;
    ii.    Tools to help countries implement the results of the World Summit on Sustainable
           Development and, in particular, the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Ecosystem
           Approach; and
    iii.   Learning sites for the United Nations Decade on Education for Sustainable Development.

In order to qualify for designation as a biosphere reserve, the area needs to meet the following general
criteria    (see      MAB      website      for    details,    http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural­
sciences/environment/ecological-sciences/biosphere-reserves/). The area:

a. Should encompass a variety of ecological systems1 that represent major bio-geographic regions,
   including a gradation of human interventions. It should be of significance for biological diversity
   conservation and provide an opportunity to develop and showcase sustainable development on a
   regional scale.
b. Should have an appropriate size to serve the three functions of biosphere reserves:
    Conservation: contribute to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic
        variation;
    Sustainable development: foster economic and human development which is socio-culturally
        and ecologically sustainable;
    Logistic support: support for demonstration projects, environmental education and training,
        research and monitoring related to local, regional, national and global issues of conservation
        and sustainable development.
c. It should include the above functions, through appropriate zonation, recognising:
    a legally constituted core area (or areas) devoted to long-term protection, according to the
        conservation objectives of the biosphere reserve, and of sufficient size to meet these
        objectives;
    A buffer zone (or zones) clearly identified and surrounding or contiguous to the core area (or
        areas), where only activities compatible with the conservation objectives can take place;
    An outer transition area where sustainable resource management practices are promoted and
        developed.
d. Organizational arrangements should be provided for the involvement and participation of a
   suitable range of, among others, public authorities, local communities and private interests in the
   design and carrying out the functions of a biosphere reserve.
e. In addition, provisions should be made for:
    Mechanisms to manage human use and activities in the buffer zone(s);
    A management policy or plan for the area as a biosphere reserve;
    A designated authority or mechanism to implement this policy or plan; and
    Programmes for research, monitoring, education and training.

1
  An ecological system (‘ecosystem’) is defined as a dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism
communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit, as per the definition used in the
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD; see http://www.cbd.int/convention/articles/default.shtml?a=cbd-02).

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2         The Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme

2.1      The global programme

Sites listed under the “World Network of iosphere Reserves” are widely considered as model regions
for sustainable development/ They are part of UNESO’s M! Programme, an intergovernmental
scientific initiative launched in the early 1970s. The MAB Programme aims at setting the scientific basis
for the improved relationship between people and their environment globally by promoting an
interdisciplinary research agenda to maintain ecosystem services and to conserve biodiversity.
Moreover, the MAB Programme fosters sustainable development at the local level. Concerned with
problems at the interface of scientific, environmental, societal and development issues, the MAB
Programme integrates in its approach natural and social sciences, economics and education to
improve human livelihoods and to safeguard natural ecosystems. In this light, the MAB Programme
promotes innovative approaches to an economic development that is socially and culturally
appropriate        and     environmentally     sustainable   (see  UNESCO-MAB          homepage        at
http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/ecological-sciences/man-and-bio
sphere programme/).

Sub-programmes and research activities of the MAB Programme focus on specific ecosystems:
drylands; wetlands; mountains; tropical forests; urban systems; and marine, island and coastal
ecosystems. Study results on these ecosystems as well as on topics such as environment and society,
governance and policy or environmental/human impacts and changes are widely published by the
international UNESCO-MAB Secretariat in order to share this information among the global scientific
and environmental community2.

The MAB interdisciplinary research and conservation initiatives are carried out by MAB National
Committees. Currently 158 UNESCO Member States have created MAB National Committees with
MAB Focal Points involving a large portfolio of different scientific disciplines that are relevant to help
improve understanding of human-environmental interrelationships. A MAB National Committee
guides the MAB-related work within a country and provides the link to the international level, in
particular with the UNESCO-MAB Secretariat3.

The agenda of the MAB Programme is defined by its main governing body, the International Co-
ordinating Council, usually referred to as the MAB Council. It consists of 34 Member States elected by
UNESCO's biennial General Conference. The role of the MAB Council is to:

      a. Guide and supervise the MAB Programme;
      b. Review the progress made in the implementation of the Programme;
      c. Recommend research projects to countries and to make proposals on the organisation of
         regional or international cooperation;
      d. Assess priorities among projects and MAB activities in general;
      e. Co-ordinate activities with other international scientific programmes; and,
      f. Consult with international non-governmental organizations on scientific or technical
         questions

2
  (http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural - sciences/ environment/ecological-sciences/related-info/ publications).
3A directory of all MAB National Committees and MAB focal points is available at http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural­
sciences/environment/ecological-sciences/biosphere-reserves/mab/mab-national-committees.

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The MAB Council also decides upon the approval of new biosphere reserves (Box 1) and takes note of
recommendations on periodic review reports of biosphere reserves.

Box: 1: Designation procedure for biosphere reserves

 The International Coordinating Council (ICC) of the UNESCO MAB Programme is responsible for designating
 biosphere reserves for the inclusion in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves in accordance with the
 following procedure:
      1) States forward proposals for biosphere reserve nominations through the National MAB
          Committee, together with supporting documentation, to the UNESCO-MAB Secretariat after
          having reviewed potential sites, taking into account the designation criteria (the deadline for
          receiving biosphere reserve proposals by the UNESCO-MAB Secretariat are normally set on 30
          September of a given year);
      2) The Secretariat verifies the content and supporting documentation. The Secretariat requests
          missing information from the nominating State in case of incomplete nomination;
      3) The international Advisory Committee for Biosphere Reserves considers biosphere reserve
          proposals and makes recommendations thereon for the ICC (meetings of the Advisory Committee
          usually take place in February of March of the year following the submission of a biosphere
          reserve proposals) ; and
      4) The ICC decides on the designation of new biosphere reserves (meetings of the ICC are held in May
          or June of a given year) and the Director-General of UNESCO notifies the State accordingly

For implementation of its interdisciplinary work on the ground, the MAB Programme relies on
individual biosphere reserves that are nominated by UNESCO to serve as model regions for
sustainable development and which are an important component of the MAB Programme.
Collectively, biosphere reserves constitute the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which as at April
2014 included 621 sites (including twelve trans-boundary BRs) in 117 countries.

Many BRs collaborate within the framework of thematic and regional or sub-regional networks for
knowledge-sharing, research and monitoring, education and training, and participatory decision­
making.   There are three sub-regional MAB networks for Asia, one for Latin America, one for Europe
and Northern !merica, one for the !rab States and one for !frica, entitled “!friM!”/

The AfriMAB Network consists of most sub-Saharan African countries. It was created by the "Regional
Conference for Forging Cooperation on Africa's Biosphere Reserves for Biodiversity Conservation and
Sustainable Development" which took place in Dakar (Senegal) in 1996. The network promotes
regional co-operation in the fields of biodiversity, conservation and sustainable development through
trans-boundary projects, which are primarily based in biosphere reserves.

Given the size of Africa, and to increase efficiency, several thematic sub-networks were created which
correspond to:

        a.   Zoning and improving biosphere reserve functioning;
        b.   Biosphere reserves and local communities, stakeholders/social actors;
        c.   Participation and income-sharing;
        d.   Trans-boundary biosphere reserves; and
        e.   Logistical support function of biosphere reserves.

The current Chairperson of AfriMAB is Mr Daniel Amlalo (Executive Director of the Environmental
Protection !gency of Ghana and hairman of the country’s M! National ommittee), who also
participated in the international workshop “UNESO iosphere Reserves – Added Value for
Sustainable Development and onservation in Southern !frica” (Gaborone, otswana, November
2013). In fact, it is one of the strengths of the MAB Programme and its regional or thematic networks,

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to provide resource persons and to exchange expertise on issues related to environmental
conservation and sustainable development within the various networks.

The Chairperson of AfriMAB is currently assisted by four sub-regional coordinators as follows:

   i.   Coordinator for Central Africa: Mr Hessana Djibrilla, Cameroon
  ii.   Coordinator for East Africa: Mr Paul Makenzi, Kenya
 iii.   Coordinator for Southern Africa: Ms Skumsa Mancotywa, South Africa
 iv.    Coordinator for West Africa: Ms Martine Gauze Nee Touao Kah, ôte d’Ivoire

AfriMAB meets on a biennial basis. The Third General Assembly of the African Network of Biosphere
Reserves (AfriMAB) took place in Accra (Ghana, September 2013).

2.2     The southern African Programme

While many biosphere reserves exist in Central, Eastern and Western Africa (there are currently 64
biosphere reserves in 28 African countries, including two trans-boundary biosphere reserves in
Western Africa), there are relatively fewer biosphere reserves in the Southern African sub-region.The
following countries (using SADC membership to define the sub-region) have BRs and/or national MAB
Focal Points:

While Angola has no BRs as yet, the government has appointed Ms António Lôa of the Ministry of
Urbanism and Environment, National Director of Nature Resources, as the country’s M! Focal Point/

The Democratic Republic of Congo has three BRs: Yangambi and Luki (both BRs designated in 1976),
and Lufira BR (1982). M. René-Médard Bakenga Mbaya is the Secretary Director of the MAB National
Committee in his function as the Chef de service de la Programmation, Formation et Relations
internationales.

No BRs exist in Lesotho as yet, although the country would have great potential given its varied
mountainous environment and scenery as well as its regionally important ecosystem services, for
instance as a supplier of freshwater resources to South Africa. Two representatives from Lesotho
attended the international workshop “UNESO iosphere Reserves – Added Value for Sustainable
Development and Conservation in Southern !frica” (Gaborone, November 2013)/

Malawi counts two BRs: Mount Mulanje BR (2000) and Lake Chitwa Wetland BR (2006). Dr Sambo of
the University of Malawi is the chairperson of Malawi’s M! National ommittee/

As early as 1977, Mauritius had the Macchabee/Bel Ombre site internationally designated as a
biosphere reserve; this remains the only BR in the country. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry
of Environment and Urban & Rural Development serves as the country’s Focal Point for the M!
Programme.

No biosphere reserves exist in Namibia as yet. However, the Secretary-General of the National
Commission for UNESCO in Namibia, and the Namibian delegation to the UNESCO General Conference
in November 2013, have expressed keen interest for the establishment of a MAB National Committee
as well as for the designation of biosphere reserves in this country. Thanks to financial support
provided by UNESCO, the Namibia Nature Foundation (NFF), the Namibian Government, and the
UNESCO National Commission are currently working on setting up a MAB National Committee and
identifying pertinent sites for biosphere reserve designation involving various tourism operators
within Namibia.

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South Africa (together with Kenya) has the largest number of biosphere reserves in sub-Saharan
!frica/ The country’s six biosphere reserves are. Kogelberg R (1998), ape West oast (designated in
2000, extended in 2003), Waterberg and Kruger to Canyons (both designated in 2001), Cape Wine
lands (2007) and Vhembe (2009). Mr Kallie Naude at the Department of Environmental Affairs and
Tourism in Pretoria is the Focal Point of South !frica’s M! Programme/ Proposals for two new
biosphere reserves have been submitted to the MAB Secretariat at UNESCO regarding Gouritz Cluster
and Magaliesberg; a decision on the two proposed sites will be taken at the 26th session of the MAB
Council to be held in Sweden in June 2014.

The United Republic of Tanzania has three biosphere reserves: Lake Manyara BR (1981), Serengeti-
Ngorongoro (1981) and East Usambara (2000). Dr. Ruzika, Director for Environmental Planning and
Research at the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) is the focal Point of the MAB
Programme in the U.R. of Tanzania.

In Zambia, Dr. Mwenya of the National Science and Technology ouncil is the country’s Focal Point
for the MAB Programme. No biosphere reserves exist in the country as yet.

Zimbabwe had its first BR – the Middle Zambezi BR – approved in 2010. Prof. Magadza of the
University of Zimbabwe at Harare is the country’s chairperson for the M! Programme/

Mozambique, the Seychelles and Swaziland are not actively involved in the MAB Programme.

In Botswana, the expressed wish for the creation of a MAB National Committee as well as biosphere
reserves was voiced at the international workshop “UNESO iosphere Reserves – Added Value for
Sustainable Development and onservation in Southern !frica” (Gaborone, November 2013)/ This
wish was realised when the interim MAB committee was formalised late 2013.

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3       Examples of international biosphere reserves relevant to Botswana
At the global level, some 25 to 30 proposals for new BRs are annually submitted by countries to
UNESCO for international approval. Out of these, about 15 to 20 new BRs are then designated by
UNESCO following a rigorous selection process demonstrating that the proposed sites have:

    a. High value in biodiversity conservation;
    b. Potential for sustainable development through the active involvement of local people in the
       management of their biosphere reserve; and
    c. An existing scientific infrastructure to carry out application-oriented research on human­
       environment interactions so as to foster sustainable development in line with nature
       conservation.

This relatively large number of new sites proposed for international “biosphere reserve designation”
by UNESCO speaks about the success of the MAB Programme and its World Network of Biosphere
Reserves. In the following paragraphs, some case studies from across the world testify the relevance
of BRs, which may be of interest to Botswana and other Southern African countries.

In the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve (South Africa), characterised by savannas, dry forests
and grass landscapes, German cooperation assistance work focuses on traditional healers from the
Bushbuckridge Traditional Health Practitioners Association to develop a bio-cultural community
protocol for the area in order to support the participatory management of natural resources. A bio­
cultural community protocol is a document in which members of a community record their collective
traditional knowledge of the landscape and how they utilize its resources. The protocol is the basis for
reaching agreements with scientists and private businesses which intend to research or commercially
exploit biological resources or traditional knowledge belonging to the local population. Furthermore,
the bio-cultural protocol regulates the equitable sharing of any benefits or profits generated by
exploitation of such resources.

Having such a basis for negotiation is critical for socio-economic development in the biosphere
reserve: the majority of the poor rural population living in the area depend on traditional healers for
their health care. The healers act as custodians of the complex knowledge about the medicinal plants
that grow in the biosphere reserve. They also play an important part in the transmission of traditional
values. Traditional and sustainable uses of medicinal plants will in the future not only help to improve
the health situation in the region, but also create new income-earning opportunities. For instance, the
Bushbuckridge health practitioners aim to produce plants sustainably and market them commercially.
A cooperation venture already exists with the South African cosmetics manufacturer SilkSA for the
production of cosmetics based on natural silk fibres.

Bosawas Biosphere Reserve (Nicaragua) links up with three other biosphere reserves in Honduras,
including the Rio Platano BR; together they form the meso-American bio-corridor, the largest
contiguous area of protected tropical rainforests in Central America. More than 270 plant species
occur in the reserve, which also hosts some 200 animal species (including pumas, jaguars and tapirs).

The buffer zone of Bosawas is relatively densely populated which puts considerably strain on its
conservation function: original forest is turned into arable land and pastures and hardwood timber
from the protected area is being traded illegally. In order to reverse this trend, international and
national experts sourced through the R’s networks worked jointly with the local population to draw
up plans for the management of the site, including strategies for environmentally and economically
sustainable management. All stakeholders now work collectively within a network of state, non-state
and private actors to implement the management plan. This means that decisions that are taken

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collectively are also implemented and followed-up in partnership. At the same time, ecological
management models within a belt of sustainably managed lands in the buffer zones surrounding the
core areas have been developed in collaboration with the local farmers. In this endeavour, an
important aspect is not just to produce sustainably but also to find markets for locally-manufactured
products such as for cocoa consumers overseas. The indigenous population is also benefitting from
alternative sources of income: inhabitants of the reserve can meet their own needs for staple food
using traditional methods of husbandry. By selling non-timber products, such as nuts or fruits, they
earn additional income, which is used to pay for a variety of purposes like their children’s schooling/
Bosawas BR is a fine example of joint and coordinated action by inhabitants, local and central
administrative structures, NGOs and the international community.

With its mangroves, Viet Nam’s Kien Giang’s Biosphere Reserve helps to mitigate the effects of
climate change/ Located in the country’s Mekong Delta, the biosphere reserve is rich in biodiversity
and performs key ecosystem services, such as the supply of clean drinking water, food and
minimisation of soil erosion. Noted for its mangrove forests, species-rich coral reefs and peat swamp
forests, the reserve benefits from a successful trilateral collaboration among Vietnamese, Australian
and German experts who assist low-income residents that use the site’s resources for everyday
survival.

Efforts aim at supporting local fishermen in the restoration of degraded mangrove forests. The
designation of marine protected areas where human use is prohibited, allows these areas to function
as spawning and refuge sites, thereby ensuring the preservation and “reproduction” of important fish
populations. These measures are backed with environmental education: training sessions inform the
fishermen of how the mangrove forest ecosystem works so that overfishing can be minimized.
Mangroves also make an important contribution to coastal protection by slowing the erosion
associated with sea-level rise, one of the consequences of climate change. Moreover, new dikes have
been built and existing structures reinforced to withstand the increasingly strong currents along the
coast. Dikes used to be breached year after year, and salt water flooded onto agricultural land with
disastrous consequences for harvests and fish production. Kien Giang biosphere reserve is not only
contributing substantially to poverty reduction by establishing environmentally-sound fisheries, but is
also making an important contribution towards ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change in Viet
Nam.

Botswana, like most dryland countries the world over, is confronted with challenges regarding the
conservation of its biodiversity due to climate variability, high evapotranspiration rates and in
particular poverty among human beings in rural dryland areas who are often compelled to overexploit
natural resources for their everyday survival. The interregional UNESCO-M! Project “Sustainable
Management of Marginal Drylands” (SUM!M!D) addressed these challenges in different dryland
biosphere reserves and also facilitated information-sharing among scientists in Africa, the Arab States,
Asia, Europe and Latin America.

Omayed Biosphere Reserve (Egypt) participated in the SUMAMAD Project. Scientists from the
University of Alexandria carried out a detailed species inventory of this dryland biosphere reserve
which is located in a warm desert and semi-desert ecosystem with coastal calcareous dunes. Equally
important, the Egyptian project team focused on a wide variety of activities, including ecosystem
studies, soil and water conservation techniques, and the rehabilitation of old Roman cisterns for
irrigation. Exploring new ways of generating alternative employment opportunities for local
communities was one of the highlights of the SUMAMAD Project. At the Omo BR, women cooperatives
were empowered to gain access to health care systems and to produce carpets for the local market
as well for tourists. The establishment of innovative and low cost solar-powered desalinization plants

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provided safe drinking water to the edouins living in the biosphere reserve’s transition zone which
was praised by the Egyptian press all over the country.

In Burkina Faso, the Hippopotamus Pond Biosphere Reserve was yet another SUMAMAD Project
success story. Its conservation value derives in particular from its hippopotamus population that has
survived in a shallow lake within this West African savannah/dryland ecosystem. However,
environmental degradation through pressure from an ever-growing human population and the use of
pesticides in nearby cotton farms outside the biosphere reserve has had its toll on the integrity of the
site. Therefore, the National entre for Scientific and Technological Research (NRST) and the ‘Inter­
village Association of Natural Resources and Fauna in the Hauts-Bassins (AGEREF-H)’ - a local socio­
professional organization that includes farmers, breeders, fishers, hunters, women, mutual aid
associations - acted as an intermediary for activities carried out by the SUMAMAD Project with local
producers, in order to ensure the sustainable and participatory management of natural resources in
the area. Environmental education and training seminars using the Accelerated Method of
Participatory Research brought about notable changes in behaviour among those cotton producers
who had been trained on the sustainable management of natural resources. Using theatre plays,
school children “educated” their parents by alerting them on the threats of environmental
degradation and over-use of pesticides.

Dana Biosphere Reserve in Jordan is the country’s largest protected area comprising four different
biogeographic zones. Hefty variations in annual precipitation pose challenges to proper land
management, as does over-exploitation of natural resources from overgrazing, wood collection, and
hunting, and a general unsustainable use of the drylands: large areas of drylands that were previously
unsuitable for agriculture are used now for agriculture. These issues were addressed at Dana BR by
Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) as part of the SUMAMAD Project.
Awareness raising and training seminars on the sustainable management of the fragile environment
and its natural resources were conducted for the local Bedouin tribes. In order to diversify income
opportunities for the Bedouin so that the protection of the core zones of the biosphere reserves would
be enhanced, a production facility was created so that women could produce organic olive oil soap
that is marketed to luxury hotels. Other successful activities included the upgrading of overnight tents
and guest facilities for visitors using an explicit ecotourism approach: visits of the spectacular scenery
are complemented with experiencing Bedouin traditional culture, and marketing of local organically­
produced herbs, teas, capers and olives. Dana BR is also supporting a silver jewellery workshop in Dana
village which uses polished stones produced by the local women’s cooperative- RSN is buying 80% of
their jewellery products and sells them in its nature visitors’ centre in the country’s capital city of
Amman.

However, increased income opportunities do not only apply to developing countries when a biosphere
reserve is internationally designated by UNESCO. This was evidenced in Switzerland by a joint study
published by the Federal Technical University (ETH) Zurich and the management of the Entlebuch
Biosphere Reserve (Switzerland) which had calculated the added value that is generated within the
region due to summer tourism thanks to the biosphere reserve’s activities and the name UNESCO
Entlebuch Biosphere Reserve. An annual amount of about 5.2 million Swiss Francs (roughly the same
amount in US Dollars) as added value came to the fore, and daily expenditures of visitors amounting
to a direct income of 35.8 million Swiss Francs were estimated for the summer period between June
and October 2011. If benefits from winter tourism are added, the figures will be even higher. The study
concludes that the label “UNESO biosphere reserve” greatly enhanced the marketing potential of the
site. Although similar studies do not yet exist for the majority of other biosphere reserves, it is safe to
argue that the designation of a site as a “UNESO biosphere reserve” entails substantial benefits that
largely outweigh lengthy nomination procedures.

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4       Benefits of biosphere reserves and comparison with other global
        certification programmes
There are strong perceived and real benefits for countries once their conservation sites are
internationally recognised as biosphere reserves. One benefit is that internationally recognised
biosphere reserves are more prone to receiving financial assistance from national and international
funding sources. For example, the Global Environment Facility (GEF; administered by UNDP, UNEP and
the World Bank) is providing substantial funding to projects inter alia related to biodiversity, many of
which are implemented in biosphere reserves. The reasoning for selecting BRs as priority sites for GEF
– as well as for other donor agencies – is that they:

    a. Have proven their value for biodiversity conservation at the international level;
    b. Have been selected through a rigorous selection process (recommended by the twelve
       members of the International Advisory Committee for Biosphere Reserves, and politically
       approved by the MAB International Co-ordinating Council);
    c. In addition to biodiversity conservation they also foster sustainable development at the local
       level; and
    d. Are subject to a critical periodic review process every ten years since the date of their
       designation.

For example, the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala is the focus of the GEF project “Improvement
of the Management Effectiveness in the Maya iosphere Reserve”, currently being implemented by
the Inter-American Development Bank in conjunction with a loan operation, together totalling over
US$33 million. In India, the project, titled “onservation and Sustainable Use of the Gulf of Mannar
Biosphere Reserve’s oastal iodiversity”, was signed in 2002 as a 7-year initiative, with GEF funding
of US$7.7 million and co-funding of US$19.1 million from Government of Tamil Nadu, Government of
India, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and others.

The German Government with its Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation,
Building and Nuclear Safety and its Federal Agency for Nature Protection (BfN) is following a very
similar reasoning for the provision of funding to biosphere reserves both in Germany and in developing
countries. Biosphere reserves also feature high on the priority list for German-international
development cooperation. Published by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in
2011, the brochure “iosphere Reserves – Model Regions for a Green Economy” stipulates UNESO
Biosphere Reserves as an ideal instrument for German development cooperation to support partner
countries in their efforts towards conservation and sustainable use of their own biodiversity. This
publication evidences successful projects in Tai R (ôte d’Ivoire), osawas R (Nicaragua), Kruger to
Canyons BR (South Africa), Kien Giang BR (Viet Nam) and the Central Amazon region in Brazil. Other
benefitting biosphere reserves are: Pilon Lajas BR (Bolivia); Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo BR
(Dominican Republic); Archipelago de Colon BR, Podocarpus-El Condor, and Sumaco BR (all in
Ecuador); Rio Platano BR (Honduras); Huascaran BR, Manu BR, Noroeste BR, and Oxapampa­
Ashaninka-Yanesha BR (all in Peru); Pendjari BR (Benin); Mananara-Nord BR and Sahamalaza-Iles
Radama R (Madagascar)- the “W” Region BR (Niger); Ichkeul BR (Tunisia); Gunung Leuser BR
(Indonesia); Issyk Kul BR (Kyrgyzstan); and Can Gio Mangrove (Viet Nam).

Comparison with other global certification programmes
There are currently four globally-active intergovernmental and international, site-based conservation
and/or sustainable development instruments in operation. These are designed to encourage national
governments and local communities to identify special places, and to work together in ensuring they
are conserved and sustainably used for current and future generations. The four instruments are:

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a. The “onvention on Wetlands of International Importance”, called the Ramsar onvention (2 117
   designated wetlands);
b. The “Global Geoparks Network” which has strong linkages to the UNESCO Global Geoparks
   Initiative (90 sites in late 2012);
c. The “onvention oncerning the Protection of the World ultural and Natural Heritage”, called
   the World Heritage Convention of UNESCO (981, mostly cultural sites); and
d. The “World Network of iosphere Reserves” under the UNESO Man and the iosphere (M!)
   Programme (621 sites).

Botswana currently has one Ramsar site (the Okavango delta and surroundings) and one4 World
Heritage site (Tsodilo Hills). Botswana currently does not have any Biosphere Reserves. Botswana set
up an Interim National MAB Committee in 2011 to introduce the MAB programme and the BR concept
in the country. The Interim Committee was formalised late 2013.

With 2,117 sites designated for the List of Wetlands of International Importance, the Ramsar
Convention has the largest number of environmentally-important places. However, the Ramsar
Convention only deals with one particular ecosystem – wetlands – that leaves out many important
conservation areas in other ecosystems. The Ramsar Convention is not administered within the United
Nations System; it is managed by a standalone secretariat hosted under contract by IUCN.

In November 2012, the Global Geoparks Network counted 90 sites in 26 countries. It is a voluntary,
non-legally binding network of member territories. Although the network is managed under the
auspices of UNESCO with a Secretariat (Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences), it is not an
intergovernmental endeavour, but enjoys international reputation. Its main objective is to promote
the importance and significance of geological heritage through engagement with local communities.

The World Heritage Convention has the highest visibility and reputation in the international scene
with 759 cultural sites, 193 natural sites, and 29 mixed properties (both cultural and natural) inscribed
on its list/ The onvention’s main objective is to conserve exceptional sites of outstanding universal
value requiring the highest possible degree of environmental integrity for natural sites. Many natural
sites fail to meet the criterion of exceptional and outstanding universal value which accounts for the
relatively small number of natural sites vis-à-vis the convention’s cultural properties/

Counting 621 sites, the World Network of Biosphere Reserves under UNESO’s M! Programme
promotes harmonized management of conservation of biological and cultural diversity and socio­
economic development based on local community efforts and sound science. Featuring typical and
representative ecosystems of a country, they are raised as the principal internationally-designated
areas dedicated to sustainable development in the 21st century.

While all international certification instruments mentioned above have great merit in their own right
and according to their specified purposes, the biosphere reserve concept is the one that is most linked
to ensuring environmental integrity with sustainable development concerns. In fact, the notion of
“green economy” has been practised in biosphere reserves long before the term has been used in the
international arena because the provision of benefits and income opportunities to local people is part
and parcel of their efforts in conserving biological diversity. Bolstered by natural and social sciences,
biosphere reserves are living ‘laboratories’ to make sustainable development a reality on the ground/
Operating in a World Network, all biosphere reserves share their scientific expertise and management
experience so as to make each participating biosphere reserve a quality site for local inhabitants but
also a demonstration site at the national and global levels.

4
    The Okavango Delta has been nominated for listing as a World Heritage Site.

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Given their wide portfolios, biosphere reserves contribute to finding solutions of the concerns
expressed in several multilateral agreements and instruments, such as the UN Convention on
Biodiversity; the UN Convention to Combat Desertification; the Millennium Development Goal 7 –
Environmental Sustainability; the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (2005–2014);
the UN Decade on Biodiversity (2011–2020); the UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight against
Desertification (2010–2020)- and the UN International Decade for !ction “Water for Life” (2005–
2015).

If biosphere reserves were created in Botswana, the country could politically showcase its biosphere
reserves within the above-mentioned multilateral agreements through its on-the-ground
demonstration sites. Moreover, the national biosphere reserves (as well as a MAB National
Committee) would benefit from the exchange of international scientific expertise and good/tested
practises regarding conservation management through the MAB Programme. Most importantly, it
instils pride and provides recognition to the local people by having “their” biosphere reserve
designated internationally in demonstrating that nature conservation and quality of life are
inseparable.

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5       Identification and initial ranking process of potential Botswana
        Biosphere Reserve sites

Based on the suggestions and results of the November 2013 Botswana BR workshop, the consulting
team further discussed the options and identified 8 possible Biosphere Reserve sites for preliminary
assessment. The exercise was largely guided by the assessment criteria as contained in the MAB BR
nomination dossier, complemented by local (i.e. Botswana) criteria. The MAB BR criteria indicate that
the potential BR should:

a. Encompass a mosaic of ecological systems representative of major biogeographic regions,
   including a gradation of human interventions;
b. Be significant for biodiversity conservation;
c. Provide an opportunity to explore and demonstrate Sustainable Development approaches on a
   regional scale;
d. Have an appropriate size to serve the three BR functions;
e. Have appropriate zoning;
f. Have organisational arrangements for the involvement and participation of a range of
   stakeholders in the design and carrying out of the functions of a BR;
g. Have implementation mechanisms; and
h. The country-specific criteria considers the current level of qualification for BR status, on the basis
   of ease of accession, largely based on prevailing socio-political situations and governance
   structures in place at the various potential BRs.

The 8 sites considered were Greater Gaborone, Tuli block-Tswapong Hills, Makgadikgadi wetlands,
Southern Sua Pan (part of the Makgadikgadi wetland), an area including (one of the) Forest Reserves,
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Okavango Delta Ramsar site and Khutse Game Reserve-Western
Kweneng.

An outline of the potential BR boundaries, as used in this report, is shown in Figure 1 overleaf.

A desk-top review of literature (e.g. reports, management plans, and internet searches) was
undertaken to collect background information for each site. A brief synopsis and ranking of all the
sites is provided in the next section.

The ecological ecosystem classification system used in this analysis is the World Wildlife Foundation
(WWF) Eco-regions, which is used in the Botswana National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan
(Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, 2007), and other national environmental planning
documents. This is used because the Udvardy classification system otherwise used by the global MAB
(http://www.unep-wcmc.org/udvardys-biogeographical-provinces-1975_745.html) would be too
coarse for some of our analysis, especially for some of the smaller sites. By using that system,
Botswana would only have ecological ecosystems, which would be insufficient for the current analysis,
particularly for criteria 4.1 and 4.2. On the other hand, by using the WWF Eco-region classification,
Botswana has seven distinct eco-regions: Kalahari Acacia-Baikiaea woodlands; Southern Africa
bushveld; Zambezian and Mopane woodlands; Zambezian Baikiaea woodlands; Zambezian flooded
grasslands; Kalahari xeric savanna, and Zambezian halophytics.

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        Potential BR sites (boundary definitions)
Figure 1: An indicative outline of the boundaries of the eight potential biosphere reserves.

                                                        Forest Reserves
                             Okavango Delta
                             Ramsar site
                                                        Makgadikgadi wetlands

                                                                                      Tuli block-
                                                        Southern Sua Pan
                                                                                      Tswapong Hills

                                               Khutse Game Reserve
                                               -Western Kweneng

                                                                 Greater
               Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
                                                                 Gaborone,

5.2     Synopsis of possible BR sites

5.2.1   Greater Gaborone

This is an area covering several large villages (Molepolole, Mochudi, Kanye, and Ramotswa), peri­
urban areas (Tlokweng, Mmopane, Metsimotlhabe, Gabane and Mogoditshane), the town of Lobatse
and the city of Gaborone (capital of the country) with an approximate population of 581,812 people
(Statistics Botswana, 2012). The area has a fairly modest socio-economic status, even though
unemployment rate especially among females is still high (21% for females and 18% for males;
Statistics Botswana, 2012). Unemployment is also higher for the village settlements as compared to
urban centres. However, poverty levels are generally lower and education levels generally better
compared to other parts of the country.

The area falls within the Kalahari Acacia-Baikiaea woodlands and the Kalahari xeric savanna, which
creates some ecosystem diversity as well as habitat types strong enough to influence local level
ecology (Tyler and Borello, 1998). There are notable IUCN Red Listed species which include Cape
Vultures Gyps coprotheres, small populations of globally threatened waterbirds (especially greater
Phoenicopterus roseus, lesser flamingos Phoenicopterus minor and Maccoa duck Oxyura maccoa) that
are occasionally recorded at some wetlands within the study area, and small rhinoceros Ceratotherium
simum and cheetah Acinonyx jubatus populations at Mokolodi Nature Reserve useful for
environmental education. The diversity of the habitat types, and of land-use and economic activities,
provides ample opportunities for demonstrating sustainable development. The presence of hilly areas

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supports nature- and leisure-based walks/climbs, notably in Gaborone and Otse surroundings.
Tourism potential, mining activities, as well as both subsistence and commercial agriculture, provide
a rich mix to test a wide spectrum of sustainable development limits within the country.

In terms of appropriate zonation, three core zones (Mokolodi Nature Reserve, Mannyelanong Game
Reserve and Gaborone Game Reserve) are too small for self-sustained ecological processes. However,
all were created primarily for environmental and conservation education. There are no clearly or easily
identifiable buffer zones around the core areas because human settlements immediately border the
core zones/ However, some of the major dams and wetlands within the site may qualify as ‘buffer
zones’- this particularly applies to Gaborone and okaa Dams/ Some localities such as the Water
Utilities Corporation-managed dams (Gaborone, Bokaa and Nnywane) offer opportunities to
demonstrate sustainable development through nature-based tourism, recreational fishing, boat rides,
botanical gardens, ecological park, etc. The area does not have a management plan and mechanisms
to manage human activities are lacking.

5.2.2   Tuli block and Tswapong hills

The area straddles the Bobirwa and Tswapong regions and includes the Tuli block area, presenting a
mixture of private and communal land tenure systems. The area encompasses over 17 villages in the
Bobirwa region (Central: Bobonong) and over 20 villages in the Tswapong region (Central: Serowe-
Palapye). There is evidence of limited participation of local communities, private sector and
government in biodiversity conservation projects and Community Based Natural Resource
Management (NRM), which is primarily the main avenue through which most of otswana’s
communities engage in village-wide biodiversity conservation and use of natural resources for
livelihood enhancement; however, some communities, including Motlhabaneng, Lentswe le moriti,
Mathathane, Lepokole, and Goo-Moremi have established community based organisations and have
entered into joint venture partnerships with private companies, alongside Kgetsi-ya-Tsie Trust, which
covers 26 villages in eastern Botswana, many of whom are in the area considered for this potential
biosphere reserve.

Agriculture and tourism are the most significant land uses. The area has a rich cultural heritage
including the Solomon's wall, Tswapong and Lepokole hills (rock paintings, stone age tools and ancient
pottery), Zebra dance troupe (women dancers) in Mathathane, Goat dogs in Lentswe le Moriti,
Handicraft shelter built in Motlhabaneng and Moremi Gorge, which is a designated national
monument. The area does not have a management plan in place. However, the proposed
Shashe/Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area provides an opportunity for proper participation of
all stakeholders and better management of human activities in a part of this potential BR.

5.2.3   Makgadikgadi Wetlands

The Makgadikgadi wetlands (provisionally defined as the same areas as covered by the Makgadikgadi
Framework Management Plan, MFMP) have an estimated population of 57,118 people (Statistics
Botswana, 2012) and falls largely within the Zambezian halophytics ecoregion; the eastern edge falls
within the Southern Africa bushveld, and the rest of the area is bordered by and transitions into the
Kalahari Acacia-Baikiaea woodlands. Hence, at broad ecological scales there is some ecosystem
diversity within this potential BR. This site also comprises a wetland and a dryland component, further
increasing the mosaic of ecological systems, especially at localised scales. The gradient of human
intervention is relatively modest, as the area encompasses only a few large towns (Orapa, Sowa) and
large villages (e.g. Letlhakane), with small villages largely interspersed with protected areas,
agricultural areas, and several mining operations. The demonstration area has global biological
significance, as it supports the second largest flamingo population in Africa and other birds listed as

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