Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Botswana funded by UNDP to roll down Nagoya Protocol

Botswana is among the countries benefiting from a three year project by the United Nations Development Programme-Global Environment Facility (UNDP/GEF). The project started in 2016 and scheduled to end in 2019; documents from the UN reveal.

Titled; ‘Strengthening human resources, legal frameworks, and institutional capacities to implement the Nagoya Protocol ‘ the project specifically aims at assisting countries in the development and strengthening of their national  Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-Sharing ( ABS) frameworks, human resources, and administrative capabilities to implement the Nagoya Protocol.

“The project seeks to achieve this by: strengthening the legal, policy and institutional capacity to develop national ABS frameworks; buildings trust between users and providers of genetic resources to facilitate the identification of bio-discovery efforts; strengthening the capacity of indigenous and local communities to contribute to the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol,” states the report.

“The implementation of the basic measures of the Nagoya Protocol in the participating countries will unleash a wide range of monetary and non-monetary benefits for providers of genetic resources. Some of these benefits should be reinvested in the conservation and sustainable use the biological resources from where the genetic resources were obtain. This will fulfil the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.”

The report enlightens that Botswana’s inclusion is informed by the fact that is relatively flat, at 900 meters above sea level (masl) with occasional rocky protrusion.

“The country’s vegetation provides a wide range of goods and services that satisfies the needs of the nation at large. 60 per cent of the country consists of forests and rangelands. However, of this 60 per cent, only one per cent comprises forest reserves. Botswana’s productive economy is fundamentally dependent on the exploitation of natural resources and ecosystems by the mining, manufacturing industry, energy, tourism, livestock, and arable agriculture sectors,” it states

Many people, it indicates especially in rural areas, are dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods. As a result, national planning is undertaken in a coordinated approach to derive value from the use of natural resources and ecosystems to support both social and economic development objectives. In spite of this impressive endowment, Botswana’s biodiversity is under threat from a variety of factors.

“These threats include pollution, overexploitation of natural resources, and climate change. Pollution to water and air threatens biodiversity in Botswana. Air pollution occurs as a result of various human activities such as mining (sulphur and heavy metals) and agriculture (spraying of insecticides for control of the tsetse fly in the Okavango delta). Water pollution, both surface water and groundwater, occurs due to the improper disposal of hazardous chemicals from mines and industrial sites, as well as human waste contaminating the water sources. Leaching of toxic chemicals resulting from agricultural activities contaminates the groundwater, reducing its quality for consumption and other purposes.”

“Overexploitation of natural resources leads to the loss of biodiversity. Veld products such as phane, grapple plant, and thatching grass are threatened by overexploitation; in Botswana these resources are essential for subsistence and serve as buffers for poor people. Population pressure has led to exploitation of the natural resources, which consequently affects biodiversity.”

The report further underpins that the amount of land used for pastoral farming has increased rapidly, creating pressure on the rangelands. It has been shown that bush encroachment is likely to occur within several years and there is clear evidence of vegetation changes around livestock watering points and settlements. Botswana is expected to be faced with increased temperatures accompanied by unpredictable rainfall; this will affect the biodiversity of the country, as it will change the prevalent vegetation and vegetation cover, in turn affecting species types, composition, and distribution. It is also projected that Botswana will experience decreased rainfall, which could lead to water scarcity and changes in Okavango delta.

Existing and planned investments for programs and baseline activities for the 2016-2019 periods in Botswana are estimated to be $462,941USD. Botswana is a Party to the Nagoya Protocol since its entry into force (accession) on October 12, 2014.

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