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The Situation

Key facts and figures:

The Okavango region is home to the largest herd of African elephants left on Earth and a myriad of other animals—African wild dogs, lions, leopards, giraffes, amphibians and reptiles, birds—and rare flora.
The Okavango Delta is one of the largest inland deltas. It is an essential source of water in the region. Every year, around 11 billion litres of water flow into the delta. This approximately 7,000-square-mile wetland is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Wetland of International Importance designated by the Ramsar Convention, whose signatories include Namibia, Botswana, and Canada.
ReconAfrica recently announced that they have confirmed a “working petroleum system” after drilling two exploration wells, and if further exploration proves to be successful in finding commercial oil and gas deposits, drilling and potentially fracking could be the next disaster in this pristine region. If ReconAfrica’s estimations are correct, it could be one of the world's last major onshore oil discoveries. The company has bought up the government licenses to conduct exploratory drilling in a total of around 35,000 square kilometres across northeastern Namibia and northwestern Botswana.
Fracking causes water pollution, unsustainable water usage, earthquakes, GHG emissions and physiological problems. Fracking in Botswana could have an impact not only the country's groundwater, but also that of Namibia and South Africa.
Local communities’ livelihoods rely on the Okavango Delta. Since its wetland system is practically intact, there is no contamination of its water which is essential to their food supply – and the food supply of both countries surrounding it. Indigenous communities inhabiting the region express their grave concern as most of them were unaware of the company’s prospect to destroy their ecological habitat and now they feel helpless about the situation.
The Namibian Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which gave the license to construct test wells in the region, has been said to not include public participation and is mere desktop analysis without actual fieldwork and exploration.
Continuing to extract fossil fuels will exacerbate the climate crisis, and starting to open up a whole new oil basin in the midst of a climate crisis is absurd and callous. Fridays For Future Windhoek has calculated based on ReconAfrica’s own advertised projections of 120 billion barrels of oil equivalent, carbon emissions could be up to 51.6 Gigatonnes of CO2, the equivalent of around one sixth of the world’s remaining carbon budget. This ‘carbon gigabomb’ will destroy global attempts of meeting a two-thirds chance of limiting global heating to 1.5°C as part of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and as is absolutely necessary for the people and biodiversity of this planet.

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