The IUCN Director General, Julia Marton-Lefèvre opened the new offices of the Kalahari Conservation Society (KCS) in Gaborone, Botswana on 1 March 2011. Also present at the opening ceremony was the Botswana Minister of Environment and Tourism, Honourable Kitso Mokaila.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Julia Marton-Lefèvre commended KCS for its role in laying solid foundations for conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in Botswana.
“IUCN and KCS have been on a long conservation journey together, going back to 1984 when KCS became a Member of IUCN. Since then, IUCN has been an eye-witness to many conservation achievements that KCS has made,” remarked Julia Marton-Lefèvre. “Today, KCS is increasingly becoming a base for national and regional networks and programmes, in recognition of the Society’s role as a neutral platform for all conservation actors.”
IUCN has over years committed to strengthening the technical capacity of its members through the provision of credible knowledge, tools and standards aimed at improving the conservation activities of member organizations.
Marton-Lefèvre noted that the environment movement in Botswana, and in the rest of the world, has changed markedly over the past three decades. Non-governmental organizations (NGO) in Botswana and elsewhere have grown from grassroots initiatives driven by a few volunteers and benefactors to today’s professionally-run organizations.
She also observed that donors’ and people’s expectations have risen, and people are closely scrutinizing NGOs, looking at their technical and institutional capacity to deliver, accountability and efficiency.
“It is therefore my great pleasure to witness this milestone for KCS: the opening of a permanent and proper base of operation,” said Marton-Lefèvre.
The new offices were bought and renovated with financial support from the European Union (EU). In this regard, the IUCN Director General encouraged other public and private donors to build on the support from the EU and invest in the programmes of KCS and other environmental groups in Botswana, to ensure that our natural assets are managed wisely.
KCS is an NGO that was inaugurated in 1982 and President Seretse Khama Ian Khama of Botswana is its long standing patron. KCS has been a member of IUCN since 1984 and its Executive Director, Felix Monggae is the Chair of the IUCN National Committee in Botswana.
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