Okavango Delta World Heritage Site Research and Practice Team Lab

Okavango Delta Management Plan 2021-2028 by  Okavango Research Institute, University of Botswana
Published: 12 May 2022
Last edited: 02 June 2022
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Okavango Delta World Heritage Site Research-Practice Team Lab is a collaborative multidisciplinary team founded in 2021 in the ICCROM-IUCN World Heritage Leadership Heritage Place Lab framework to bridge the gap between stakeholders that care for the site. In this process, the UNESCO Chair on African Heritage Studies and Sustainable Development of the University of Botswana and the Botswana National Museum Art and Gallery have partnered to develop a shared platform where researchers and site managers can co-produce collaborative research which informs the development of management policies. Our aim is to contribute to the protection and understanding of the Outstanding Universal Value of the Okavango Delta World Heritage Site through an ongoing research agenda that addresses the following areas:

1. Stakeholder synergy and participation

2. Climate change

3. Local cultural values




East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Freshwater ecosystems
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Connectivity / transboundary conservation
Flood management
Geodiversity and Geoconservation
Local actors
Poaching and environmental crime
Protected and conserved areas governance
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Sustainable livelihoods
Species Conservation and One Health Interventions
Wildlife Health Surveillance (to capture biodiversity, health, disease, and pathogen surveillance)
One Health
Wildlife trade and human-wildlife conflicts
Urban and Disaster Risk Management
Sustainable urban infrastructure and services
Lack of access to long-term funding
Changes in socio-cultural context
Sustainable development goals
SDG 4 – Quality education
SDG 13 – Climate action
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with associations


Okavango, North-West, Botswana


The Okavango Delta plays a major role in nurturing human cultural diversity and related knowledge systems, as well as in conserving unique biological diversity and inland waterway ecosystem. As a part of the management of this large natural site, the Okavango Delta World Heritage Site Research-Practice Team has identified research priorities and management solutions:


●     The socio-cultural values of the site are recognized and need to be documented. The Indigenous and local practices of diverse ethnic groups of people need to be appreciated and documented as they are intertwined with nature in the Okavango Delta;


●     People and wildlife coexist and co-existence needs to be further explored for sustainability. Eco-pedagogy needs to be infused into the daily lives of people as they reside in the wildlife area of the Okavango Delta;


●     Climate adaptation strategies are in place and could be locally based. Rural livelihoods and households adaptation strategies from shocks (e.g. recurrent droughts, intermittent rainfalls, crop damage, floods) are continuously being strengthened by local communities.


●     Indigenous and scientific knowledge are being integrated and the co-production of management knowledge and management practices needs further exploration.

Contributed by

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Katlego Mwale University of Botswana, The Department of National Museum Art and Gallery

Other contributors

University of Botswana
University of Botswana
The Department of National Museum Art and Gallery
University of Botswana
The Department of National Museum Art and Gallery
The Department of National Museum Art and Gallery
The Department of National Museum Art and Gallery