Strategic Partnerships to Improve the Financial and Operational Sustainability of Protected Areas

Inadequate management effectiveness of small protected areas, epitomised in this case by the Makgadikgadi Pans/Nxai Pan National Parks, is a key challenge facing small protected areas in Botswana; hitherto, most of the state-mobilised resources meant for PAs are invested in the larger protected areas such as Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Chobe National Park, and the Kgalagadi Trans-frontier Park. Despite this ‘marginalisation’, small protected areas are rich in biodiversity, and worthy of receiving meaningful conservation efforts.

In Botswana, the responsibility for managing protected areas currently solely lies with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, and has proved to be very expensive and a mammoth task. This project investigates an alternative way of managing protected areas which will improve the effectiveness and cost efficiency of management, ensuring that scarce PA funds are optimally employed, thus maximizing impact-per-unit investment. Local communities residing around protected areas will be capacitated to co-manage these areas, together with government, the private sector and NGOs, to reduce the current expenses, and also the resentment which exists towards conserving these areas. Nature-based tourism initiatives will be developed so that local communities realise direct economic benefits from conserving these eco-systems.

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