Sunday, February 28, 2021

Botswana already feeling impact of climate change

The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) that Botswana submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) end of September, 2015 have revealed to the world that Botswana is already feeling the impact of climate change.

Such impact manifests through constrained agricultural production, increasing food insecurity and increasing water stress, which are projected to worsen with time. Apparently, the submission follows a national communication which the country submitted to the UNFCCC.

The five- page INDC report states that the government of Botswana had initiated strategies to adapt to drought episodes which are cyclical in nature to reduce vulnerability. Consequently, as climatic extreme events are cross-cutting and affecting all economic sectors, the government has adopted a strategy that encompasses all economic sectors; with emphasis on the water, health and agriculture (crop and livestock) sectors.

It points out the fact that as a semi-arid country Botswana is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and places high priority on adaptation (devising means of living with the impacts) to reducing vulnerability. The country is thus developing a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and Action Plan which will highlight all the priority areas including Climate Smart Agriculture. Such techniques include low to zero tillage as well as multi-cropping to increase mulching, which reduce evapotranspiration and soil erosion. The development of the NAP calls for broader stakeholder consultation so that the products of this process represent the views and aspirations of all stakeholders and respond to their needs. The outcome of this process will be significant in guiding how the country responds to the development challenges across all sectors that are attributed to global warming and climate change.

“This will be informed by already existing climate change information, socio-economic and development indicators, local experiences as well as existing policies, plans and institutional frameworks. Development of the National Adaptation Plan is coordinated by the Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism, with support from the National Committee on Climate Change,” explains the INDC.

It further states that the government of Botswana has been spending a significant portion of its national resources to adapt to the impacts of climate variability over the years. With climate variability projected to intensify in future, the budget for adaptation measures could increase significantly as depicted under mitigation (devising means of reducing emissions of Green House Gases into the atmosphere) and adaptation. The country has set target of 15 percent green house gases emission reduction by 2030.

It is estimated that to achieve this target, the country would require approximately USD18.4 billion. These funds will be allocated to infrastructural developments in the energy and transport sectors, which will contribute to emission reductions.

Therefore, future activities need to be conducted on the following key issues: “Identification of sources of funding for implementation of the mitigation measures, share of government and international contribution to support the mitigation measures, an assessment of the impacts to the national economic growth for allocating national resources to mitigation measures as well as development of conducive legal framework to support 15 per cent emission reductions.”

As for adaptation, the INDC indicates that the country is guided and informed by the following documents: The Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Sustainable Land Management as well as National Water Master Plans

In order to ensure that climate change adaptation measures are mainstreamed into national development planning and sectoral planning, the current environmental programmes and projects strategically entail climate change adaptation. For instance, planning within the water sector takes into cognizance the impacts of climate change. Other national initiatives exist such as the on-going Sustainable Land Management in Ngamiland and Central Districts which is aimed at enhancing resilience and reducing the vulnerability of communities to climate change.

 

Adaptation action currently being implemented by the government nationally to help communities adapt to the impacts for climate change cover the following sectors:

Water Sector: Construction of pipelines and connection to existing ones to transmit water to demand centres; reduce water loss during transmission by investing on telemetric monitoring systems; enhancing conjunctive groundwater-surface water use.

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