BOCOPAC – with 16 Members of Parliament, including the Vice President, the Deputy Speaker, and key opposition leadership – will work with government, the private sector, and NGOs to advance the role of conservation in domestic policymaking, economic planning, and regional development.
Vice-President Masisi highlighted Botswana’s leadership in conservation for having set aside large portions of land as protected areas, which are home to the largest population of elephants in Africa. He also committed BOCOPAC to addressing the challenges that remain, including wildlife crime, water management, forestry, agriculture, and mineral extraction. The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Gladys Kokorwe, endorsed the launch of the caucus, emphasizing that BOCOPAC should collaborate with Parliamentary conservation caucuses in neighboring countries. A leading MP in the opposition party, Hon. Bagalatia Arone, whose constituency is in the Okavango, spearheaded the development of the caucus.
Hon. Mwimba Malama, Provincial Minister and MP from Zambia participated in the Botswana launch on behalf of the Zambian Parliamentary Conservation Caucus (ZPCC) from Zambia, and committed to inter-parliamentary collaboration on tackling cross-border conservation challenges.
Demonstrating support from the private, NGO, and development sectors, senior representatives from USAID, GIZ, Barclays, Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, the Kalahari Conservation Society, and BirdLife Botswana attended the launch event.
The Botswana caucus joins a growing group of Parliamentary Conservation Caucuses in legislatures throughout Africa, Latin America, and the U.S. The ICCF Group is partnering with these conservation caucuses to support the strengthening of legislation and policy governing natural resources and combating wildlife/environmental crime. The ICCF Group is also working with governments in East, Southern, and Central Africa to support the capacity of judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officials to combat wildlife/environmental crime.