Harry calls for moratorium on oil and gas development in South Africa region

The Duke of Sussex said an area known as South Africa’s “natural beating heart” should be protected by a moratorium on oil and gas drilling.

Overflowing with rivers in Angola, the Okavango flows from Namibia’s Kavango region to a delta in Botswana, which Harry described in 2019 as “this magnificent final Paradise”.

In an opinion piece co-written with Namibian environmental activist Reinhold Mangundu for the Washington Post on Thursday, the Duke wrote: “The Okavango basin is a natural heartthrob that has nurtured people and wildlife in South Africa for generations and is at risk. ”

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Harry urged the world to protect the delta before visiting the area in 2019 (Sussex Royal Instagram/PA)

Harry and Mr Magundu added: “The Okavango River Basin is under siege by ReconAfrica, a Canadian oil and gas company licensed for exploratory drilling in a larger area of ​​Namibia and Botswana than some European countries.”

The authors said they had “critical” concerns about the environmental impacts of the drilling, citing examples of an oil company that set the ocean on fire in the Gulf of Mexico in July, alongside the recent pipeline spill off the Southern California coast.

The couple wrote: “To protect the Okavango River Basin, we call on the world to stand in solidarity with us, our allies and local communities in advocating a full moratorium on oil and gas development in the region.”

The delta is one of the largest freshwater wetlands in South Africa, the main source of water for one million people, and one of Africa’s richest places in terms of biodiversity.

Ahead of his 2019 visit to the region, Harry said in an Instagram post from his official account: “This ecosystem, known to the locals as a ‘source of life’, plays an absolutely crucial role for the planet, people and wildlife. This is our only chance to save this magnificent final Heaven.”

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