Press Statement on lifting of hunting ban in Botswana – By Community Based Organisations (CBOs) represented by NCONGO

Date: May 24/2019

1. Introduction

The Ngamiland Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (NCONGO) was established in 2008 and serves as the umbrella body of Ngamiland Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in matters related to sustainable social and economic development. Including issues of community based natural resources management and youth & women empowerment. NCONGO covers the Ngami and Okavango sub-districts within the Northwest District and the Chobe district of Botswana. In order to co-ordinate the efforts of the NGOs in the region, NCONGO collects data from its member organizations and reports its findings to the Botswana Government. Based on these findings, NCONGO makes recommendations to the Government of Botswana and other NGOs on policies, programs and plans.

1.1 Community Based Organizations (CBOs) as represented by NCONGO would like to welcome the lifting of Hunting Ban by our Government as announced by The Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism. This is the first step in the right direction where community voices have been listened to and action taken.

1.2 The re-introduction of controlled hunting will go a long way in alleviating rural poverty by re-introducing tourism benefits lost in 2014 when the hunting moratorium was initiated. Hunting will also mitigate against the escalating human wildlife conflicts especially crop damage, livestock predation and the destruction of property especially by elephants. Elephants are causing deaths to our people and have injured many. As a result, the hunting of elephants will result in these animals relocating from human settlements to far away protected areas where they are meant to live.

1.3 Community Based Organizations (CBOs) are calling for the strengthening of the Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) programme in Botswana. It’s our believe that the CBNRM programme is one approach that can result in meaning tourism benefits to communities not only through hunting but through other tourism development projects.

1.4 As communities, we do not take kindly to those who are attacking our country in re-introduce hunting and uplift our livelihoods and reduce human wildlife conflicts in our local areas. It’s our believe that Botswana is a sovereign state and we have a right to discuss and decide on issues which directly affect our livelihoods and well-being. This is said in reference to the elephant distribution and populations which are threatening food security and lives in our local areas.

1.5 Finally, we would like to encourage the international community to open trade in trophies so that the proceeds will support conservation initiatives in Botswana especially the management of elephants hence reducing human wildlife conflict.

Siyoka Simasiku – Executive Director -NCONGO

Email: Cell: +267 72756622