Imagine how you would feel if a foreign oil and gas company started drilling for oil in your back yard, turning you out of your home, and polluting your environment.
Did you know this is happening now in Namibia and Botswana? And the company behind this destructive project is Canadian. Reconnaissance Energy Africa Ltd. (also known as ReconAfrica) lists Vancouver as its base.
ReconAfrica has secured petroleum licenses for 8.75 million acres 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. The company is engaging in oil and gas exploration and potential hydraulic fracking, with all its hazards, in the protected Kavango Basin area. This oil and gas project is expected to produce up to 120 billion barrels of oil. This equates to approximately 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide, which will make a significant contribution to climate change.
The ReconAfrica project poses threats to:
- the human rights of the indigenous San people of southern Africa and local citizens of Namibia and Botswana;
- the survival of this ecologically sensitive area; and
- the world’s climate.
Local residents have already voiced their opposition, to no avail. In support of the local people of the area, a growing chorus around the world is demanding that this destructive project be stopped. Please add your voice, by signing the two petitions that follow below.
GRAN has joined the Canada Okavango Solidarity Group to try to stop this project. Our objective is fourfold:
- Amplify the voices of those directly affected by this project in Botswana and Namibia.
- Raise awareness in Canada so that Canadians and potential investors alike are aware of how incredibly destructive this project promises to be for the people and land of the Okavango Delta, with a view to discouraging the investment needed to take it forward.
- Raise awareness of how this massive fossil fuel extraction will speed up climate change, despite global agreement to reduce carbon levels.
- Urge the Government of Canada to invest the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) with the necessary powers to compel witnesses and documents in response to complaints against Canadian companies such as ReconAfrica.
Please join us as we begin this effort by taking a minute to sign these two petitions:
The first is aimed at the governments of Botswana and Namibia in support of the local opposition to this project. Click here to sign.
The second petition calls on the Canadian government to investigate the complaints coming from concerned global and local citizens, including the San people, regarding the ReconAfrica project. Sign the Parliamentary e-petition here.
Please share these petitions widely with your own network of friends and family.
We encourage you to learn more about this issue. GRAN has prepared a short backgrounder and we also recommend this excellent online article, "Africa's Carbon Gigabomb", and its embedded nine-minute video .
Thank you for your solidarity and support for the people and the land of the Okavango Delta.
Janet Siddall and Pat Dolan