His Excellency, The State President, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, Botswana

03 July 2012 | News story

President Lt. Gen. S.K.I.Khama of Botswana has had a life-long commitment to the environment. He was Vice Chair of the Kalahari Conservation Society (KCS), Botswana’s oldest environmental NGO, for 22 years and is currently the Patron of the organization.

He has a keen interest in community participatory conservation projects and in 1990 mobilized the people of Botswana to establish the Khama Rhino Sanctuary at a time when there were only six animals left in Botswana. Thanks to his efforts, their numbers have increased and they have been re-introduced into the wild.

In 1991, he became the first chair and founding trustee of Mokolodi nature reserve (educational park in Botswana) and is now the Patron of the Trust. He has encouraged and promoted conservation trusts like Moremi Gorge, Lepokole hills historical sites, and Qchwihaba caves: local projects that benefit communities through ecotourism. He also started Botswana’s first anti- poaching unit through KCS and introduced the Botswana Defence Force anti-poaching function which still undertakes that function to date. President Lt. Gen. Khama also serves on the Board of Conservation International.

He has received several conservation awards including the Africa Conservation Award from the Safari Club of Washington in 1991, the tourism industry award of Botswana in 1996, the Paul Harris Fellow and Endangered Wildlife Trust Statesman Award in 2001, and the International Conservation Caucus Foundation Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Award in 2011.

In May 2012 he co-hosted together with Conservation International, a summit on sustainable development in Africa that brought together ten African nations and numerous public and private sector partners to voice their support for the value of natural capital in national accounting. The summit culminated in the Gaborone Declaration which contains a set of concrete principles and development goals that move the value of natural capital to the centre of development planning.

The Kalahari Conservation Society and the Khama Rhino Sanctuary are Members of IUCN.