Oil drilling in the Kavango Basin
ReconAfrica (Reconnaissance Energy Africa), a Canadian company, has secured petroleum licenses for 3,542 hectares of land in Namibia and Botswana, upstream from the Okavango Delta, an area of rich and unique biodiversity that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. This land is also Indigenous territory of the San people of southern Africa. The company is projecting that it will discover 120 billion barrels of oil equivalent. If this full projected amount were extracted, it would contribute 51.6 gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 to the atmosphere. This amount alone may be over 12% of the carbon budget of 420 GtCO2 remaining for the globe to have a two-thirds (66%) chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, as laid out in the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report. In addition to violations of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), the proposed activities of ReconAfrica will have grave impacts for human rights, local livelihoods and drinking water, the global climate, and a critical ecosystem.
Affected communities, local and international organizations are raising the alarm about these activities. Trusha Reddy, Women Building Power, Energy & Climate Justice Coordinator at WoMin African Alliance (KAIROS exploratory partner) had this to share,
WoMin African Alliance is alarmed at the callous pursuit of oil and gas by Canadian company Recon Africa in the ecologically sensitive Okavango Delta that spans across Namibia and Botswana. There are already reported violations of local and indigenous women by contractors coming into the area during the exploration phase and more harm, also through capture of water and other resources, resulting displacement and pollution, is in the offing. We do not think that African women and their communities should be sacrificed for this relentless thirst for profit in a time of climate and ecological crisis. The resistance of affected women to this disastrous project in defense of their lands and livelihoods is already mounting and they will not be silenced.
While corporate governance laws remain weak in Canada, there are still many actions the federal government can take against the company, and media and public pressure are needed in Canada and internationally to raise awareness of investor risk.
- Anglican Bishops call for a halt to Drilling in the Kavango, Namibia (Green Anglicans, March 2021)
- Backgrounder – Okavango Delta Campaign (Grandmothers Advocacy Network)
- Africa’s Carbon Gigabomb (Skynews, 2021)
- A Big Oil Project in Africa Threatens Fragile Okavango Region (Yale School of the Environment, April 2021)
- Sign this petition which calls on ReconAfrica and Leaders in the Governments of Botswana and Namibia to immediately suspend all exploration and drilling activities and future plans.
- Follow and amplify content from the following accounts:
- Participate in events related to the global day of action on Friday June 4, 2021.
- Join the art build organized by @ClimateStrikeCanada on Thursday, June 3 (6 pm ET)
- Attend this action in Vancouver (12-2 pm PST) while maintaining local COVID safety measures
- Register and participate in the #SaveOkavangoDelta Action Call (2 pm EST) hosted by Fridays for Future Digital
- Participate in the digital protest by creating your own poster and sharing it on social media with the hashtags: #SavetheOkavangoDelta #StopReconAfrica #KavangoAlive