Sunday, June 16, 2024

Batswana women still underrepresented in climate decision making

It is a fact that gender and climate justice are closely interlinked. While natural disasters affect women more adversely than men in Botswana, a recent report says Batswana women are missing from the decision-making tables on climate change. According to the SADC 2020 Gender Protocol Barometre, Batswana women comprise only 9% of sources on gender and climate change stories in the country. This figure means Botswana is bottom of the pile in SADC, while Seychelles is the leader in the region with 55% of women being sources on gender and climate change stories.

“Five countries have no women in decision making positions related to climate: Comoros, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, and Malawi,” states part of the report. Furthermore the report says 30% of Batswana women are in climate decision-making while South Africa is the highest with 40%.

With regards to key climate justice indicators, the report says Botswana only has two National climate change policies/guidelines which make the country one of the lowest in SADC (excluding countries where data is not available). On the other hand, Angola has the highest number of policies with a total of nine. Although Botswana has signed and ratified the global climate change treaty (Paris Agreement), the report says the country has not submitted National Action Plans to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Amongst other things, the Gender Barometre says the prevalence of severe food insecurity in Botswana is 41.3%, adding that this has gender implications on the whole of SADC. “Most women in the region take part in farming, but they have trouble obtaining education, income, land, livestock, and technology. This means that climate change may negatively impact female farmers more than male farmers by further limiting their resources. Women produce between 60% and 80% of all food in the developing world, yet they own just 10% of all agricultural land and just 2% of land rights,” states the report.

The report also recommends the need “to improve gender equality in decision-making in this field,” adding that “it is also important to increase the number of women with relevant qualifications in scientific and technological areas and who participate in relevant scientific bodies at the highest level.”

Amongst other things, the report says Botswana will experience the highest temperature increase in SADC in the next decade which will have a major impact on women in rural areas especially those who will travel long distances in search of water. “The greatest temperature increases will occur in Botswana, Namibia, northern Zimbabwe, and southern Zambia, with increases in the occurrence and intensity of temperature extremes across the region,” states the report.

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