Thursday, September 24, 2020

Botswana encumbered in the fight against climate change

The government of Botswana will need more funding and support from first world countries if it is to win the fight against climate change and global warming.

This was said by the Minister of Environment Wildlife and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila, at a press briefing ahead of the COP 17 conference on climate change, to be held in Durban at the end of the month.

Mokaila explained that fighting climate change is a costly exercise that Botswana cannot effectively address on her own, as she has to meet other competing needs like providing health and services to her citizens.

“We need financial assistance from big economies to support mitigation. Climate change and use of clean technology come at immense costs, and is a burden to developing countries. This is especially so because we have competing needs to address,” said Mokaila.

Developing countries are of the view that bigger economies have failed to provide the financial and technological support needed to fight climate change. In Botswana, for example, people cut trees for firewood. Government cannot ask people to stop cutting trees and yet fail to provide alternative sources of energy.

“Big economies must stop paying lip service to the issue of financing for mitigation and access to technology. We will never be able to achieve anything if we cannot offer people alternatives,” said Mokaila.

Botswana acknowledges the fact that global warming and climate change have created a huge ecological burden which puts human survival in jeopardy. Present and future generations of the developing world will disproportionately bear these impacts for years to come.

Therefore adaptation is an overriding priority in Botswana and there is urgent need for support for the implementation of adaptation measures. Such support should include the provision of substantial financial resources, environmentally sound technologies and capacity building.

“Funding should be facilitated through grants and concessions and not through loans. The governance of the Adaptation Fund should be more transparent and accessible,” said Mokaila.

However, concerns have been raised that developing countries have in the past failed to account for the funds provided to them. Mokaila argued that Botswana has acquitted herself well in accounting for whatever funds were provided to them. He added Botswana is of the view that financing should be more predictable and reliable, financing without creating more financial burdens for developing countries.

“Funding should be sourced from public resources in developed countries, and should be separate from overseas development assistance. The Kyoto Protocol must also be amended because developed countries have failed to meet the set reduction targets of 5.2 percent reduction during the first commitment period (2008-2012),” said Mokaila.

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