The Okavango Delta is the largest Ramsar Site in the world having been designated as Botswana’s first Wetland of International Importance in 1997 and is hydrologically unique, the largest inland delta in sub-saharan Africa after the inner delta of the Niger, the delta lies in a semi-arid area and every year 97% of the annual inflow of between 7,000 and 15,000 million cubic meters is lost to evapotranspiration and seepage. Only 3% of the water is discharged from the delta.
World Heritage Site
Adopted by UNESCO in 1972 the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
One of the most iconic natural areas on the planet, The Okavango Delta was listed as the 1000th World Heritage Site last Sunday at the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee in Doha, Qatar. Joining Ngamiland’s Tsodilo Hills on the World Heritage List, the Okavango Delta was recommended by IUCN, UNESCO’s advisory body on nature.
“The Okavango Delta has long been considered one of the biggest gaps on the World Heritage list and IUCN is proud to have been able to provide support to this nomination,”
Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General
Sustaining populations of some of the planet’s most threatened mammals such as the cheetah, rhinoceros, the wild dog and the lion. The Okavango Delta is also home to 24 species of globally-threatened birds and is key to the survival of Botswana’s 207 000 elephants.
“The Okavango Delta has been a conservation priority for more than 30 years and we are delighted that it has finally gained the prestigious status it deserves”