Thursday, December 3, 2020

Botswana is falling short of SDG targets

With only ten years to go until 2030 — the endpoint of the sustainable development goals, after which they’ll be re-evaluated and updated — Botswana is lagging on most targets and is ranked 121st out of 193 on the latest Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index.The latest Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index, which was developed by Jeffrey Sachs to review how countries are performing with regard to achieving SDGs shows that Botswana scores an overall score of 61.45/100.

“The overall score measures a country’s total progress towards achieving all 17 SDGs. The score can be interpreted as a percentage of SDG achievement. A score of 100 indicates that all SDGs have been achieved,” says the index. Whilst a score of 61.45/100 seems sound with only ten years before the SDGs endpoint — most markers on the index show that Botswana is not on track to meet most of the goals. Out of the 17 SDGs, the index says Botswana is facing major challenges in eight goals being SDG1 no poverty, SDG2 zero hunger, SDG3 good health and well being, SDG7 affordable and clean energy, SDG9 industry, innovation and infrastructure, SDG10 reduced inequalities, SDG 12 responsible consumption and production and SDG16 peace, justice and strong institutions. But the good news is Botswana’s spillover score is 78.54/100.

“Each country’s actions can have positive or negative effects on other countries’ abilities to achieve the SDGs. The Spillover Index assesses such spillovers along four dimensions: environmental, economy & finance, social and security. A higher score means that a country causes more positive and fewer negative spillover effects,” states the Index.

However a researcher who spoke to this publication, Oaitse Malesu is questioning the SDG metric saying it is completely inaccurate as it only gives high scores to rich nations. “Sweden is the best performing country on the Index with a score of 84.7. What we are not told is that Sweden is probably the most environmentally unsustainable country globally. For example, the amount of natural resources that Sweden uses per year is one of the highest globally, almost the same as the USA, at 32 metric tons per person. The global average is approximately 12 tons per person, and the sustainable level is approximately 7 tons per person. This means Sweden consumes over four times the limit,” says Malesu.

Amongst other things Malesu says the SDG Index is illogical and creates the false impression that western countries have high levels of sustainability when in fact they do not. “Another worrying issue is that out of the 17 SDGs only four are mostly or entirely concerned with ecological sustainability (goals 12, 13, 14 and 15). The other 13 are mostly concerned with development. So this means countries like Sweden and Germany are regarded as the best on the index simply because of their good performance on the development index, yet they perform badly on sustainability goals. Now we have African countries at the bottom of the index yet the unsustainable levels of ecological impact on the continent are disproportionately caused by overconsumption in richer countries, and quite often perpetrated by corporations headquartered there,” says Malesu.

The Index also states that Botswana is on track or maintaining SDG achievement for only one goal being SDG 6 clean water and sanitation.

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The Telegraph December 2

Digital edition of The Telegraph, December 2, 2020.