Although Botswana is among countries that contribute the least to global warming in both absolute and per capita terms as compared to other countries such as China, the United States of America (USA), and the European Union (EU), the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) notes that the country has insufficient resources to adapt.
In their assessment, ISS highlights that: “Botswana received no adaptation financing,” adding that “South Africa received the most multilateral climate financing on the continent and is placed sixth highest internationally. But only 2% is directed to adaptation, with the rest going to mitigation. Zambia, Tanzania and Comoros received relatively high amounts of adaptation financing relative to their climate vulnerabilities, yet the sums are still inadequate to meet their needs.”
ISS notes that weather related disasters in Botswana between 1980–2020 cost the country almost P2 billion. But without adaptation financing, the costs of these adaptation measures will keep rising. Adaptation measures include resilient water sources; early warning systems; dryland farming which encompass specific agricultural techniques for the non-irrigated cultivation of crops; and climate-resilient infrastructure which are smart practices and technologies for climate resilient agriculture such as fodder cultivars to tackle fodder scarcity, integrated farming system modules, recharge of wells to improve shallow aquifers.
The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resource Conservation and Tourism admitted that it is still “difficult” to access climate finances although “there are indications of growth in climate finance” globally. The minister of environment, natural resources conservation and tourism, Philda Kereng who attended the High Level ministerial dialogue on Climate Finance at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, noted that Botswana needs financial support to start climate initiatives mainly clean energy and adaptation.
ISS also notes that while the process might be fraught with challenges, climate adaptation is progressing gloabally. “As of 2021, 72% of all countries have at least one national adaptation planning instrument. All Southern African states except Angola and Botswana have adopted national plans and Botswana has launched an adaptation framework,” says ISS.
Botswana is greatly exposed to repeated and extreme hazards such as floods, droughts, with floods accounting for more than 60 percent of all extreme weather events while droughts account for nearly 25 percent thus far. According to the Botswana Climate Policy, there is evidence “that indeed Botswana is highly vulnerable to climate change, and that the vulnerability of … economic drivers will continue to increase if effective adaptation and mitigation actions are not implemented”.
The Climate Funds Update also corroborates these findings stating that Botswana received no adaptation financing and no climate funds. The African continent also received just 26% of available financing between 2016 and 2019 of which almost 75 percent of that was in the form of loans and other non-grant instruments that must be repaid. Reports also indicate that most of those finances have been directed towards mitigation and not adaptation.
According to the Brookings Institute, “Africa accounts for the smallest share of global greenhouse gas emissions—3.8 percent. This is meagre as compared to the largest emitters like China, the United States, and the European Union, which account respectively for 23 percent, 19 percent, and 13 percent of global emissions”.