As politicians meet to discuss how to cut carbon emissions, descendants of Southern Africa’s first inhabitants are raising concerns about an oil and gas exploration project. Religious leaders have also spoken out, with one saying the project is a sin, and calling on COP27 delegates to curtail the activities of fossil fuel companies.
In the Southern African country of Botswana lies one of the largest inland deltas in the world, a landscape the UN has called “exceptional” and “rare” in its beauty.
The Okavango Delta is an oasis in the heart of the Kalahari Desert. Its waterways and floodplains are home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammals, like black rhinos. The plants, birds, fish, and animals that live here make up a particularly delicate ecosystem.
It’s so precious it has been designated a World Heritage Site.
Thousands of elephants migrate to the Okavango Delta for water each year
But there are fears it is under threat, because of fossil fuels.
A Canadian company, Reconnaissance Energy Africa (Recon Africa), believes there could be a wealth of oil and gas under the ground in the north of Botswana and neighbouring Namibia.
It holds exploration licences for a 34,325sq km area straddling the border of the two countries.
Three test wells have already been drilled in Namibia.