JOSEPH E. MBAIWA, UNIVERSITY OF BOTSWANA, BOTSWANA
Abstract: Local participation in biodiversity conservation has come to be heralded as the panacea to the problems of natural resource degradation in developing countries. However, the effectiveness of local participation in biodiversity conservation is not adequately measured in conservation studies. The objective of this paper therefore, is to analyse the contribution of local participation in promoting biodiversity conservation in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. This is a synthesis paper based on previous survey data collected by the author dating back to 1998. Results indicate that the Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) programme, operational in Botswana since the mid-1990s, is achieving certain biodiversity conservation objectives in some communities involved in the project in the Okavango Delta. The paper concludes that the success is a demonstration that local participation is important in the decision making process if conservation is to be achieved in rich biodiversity areas like the Okavango Delta.
Keywords: Biodiversity conservation, Community Based Natural Resource Management, Local participation, Okavango Delta