Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Botswana tumbles on sustainable goals

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are critical of Botswana’s attitude towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). 

In a new report that the two institutions compiled, they slammed Botswana for failure to implement the SDGs describing it as ineptitude of “doing business as usual.”

It says an appropriate reporting mechanism which can accurately capture SDG implementation at the subnational level and report appropriately had not been developed at the time of the review.

“The country does not have a process plan that guides the localization of SDGs in selected districts and sub-districts,” the report says. However, the report found that the University of Botswana’s SDG hub, Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) and Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development Action (YALDA) have begun to contribute to localization through public service provision, creating a learning environment at local level and organized civil society to foster inclusion, accountability, human rights and peace values in various communities.

But the review process also observed that the country had not taken advantage of the new global framework for financing sustainable development which was established in 2015, despite the fact that Botswana had signed up to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

“The Addis Ababa Action Agenda builds on the outcomes of two previous Financing for Development conferences, in Monterrey, Mexico, and in Doha, Qatar, and addresses all sources of finance, and covers cooperation on a range of issues including technology, science, innovation, trade and capacity building,” the report says.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda further recognizes the critical importance of attracting private capital to finance the SDGs.

“The country (Botswana) is still “doing business as usual” and not paying attention to financing for development initiatives,” the report says.

The report says the importance of research in driving the SDG agenda cannot be overemphasized. “It should be noted that SDGs were borne of out of passion to solve challenges faced by humanity, it is therefore critical to conduct applied research that focusses on solving practical real life problems of different scenarios in society,” the report says.

Therefore, SDG related applied research will support the decision making process for policy formulation for enhancing growth and sustainable development in Botswana.

The review indicates that the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology is mandated to coordinate research on SDGs.

“However, a research agenda for the SDGs has not been set, and although academic institutions, including the University of Botswana and the Botswana Association of Private Tertiary Education Providers (BAPTEP) are represented in the NSC and TTF, their role in research in effectively providing the required knowledge on SDGs has not been clearly defined,” the report said.

Touching on other issues, the report says although the Botswana is commended for her efforts in reducing poverty incidence, however, poverty remains a development challenge, especially in rural areas, due to the country’s high inequality. Although the country’s Gini coefficient decreased from 64.7 to 60.9 during the same period, it is still high and has reduced the poverty-reducing potential of growth.

“Although the country does not have updated national data on nutritional status for children under five (5) years of age, as of 2015 the underweight rates decreased from 13.9% in 2007 to 13.1% in 2014, stunting decreased from 25.9% to 21.0% and wasting declined from 7.6% to 7.3%.2;3,” the report says.

According to the report, statistics indicate that there has been an upward trend between 2016/17 and 2018/19 financial years in the number of impoverished (destitute) people according to the country criteria.

“The overall grand total of beneficiaries under the destitute programme increased by 4 345 (6.1%) in 2018/2019 from 70,708 beneficiaries enrolled in 2017/18. The increase in the numbers is attributed to among others; disintegration of the extended family system, low socio-economic status, old age and disability which renders beneficiaries economically unproductive,” the report says.

Poverty Eradication and Community Development Programme Through the poverty eradication programme launched in 2010, agricultural sector had identified and registered 33,861 beneficiaries nationally for livestock (sheep, goats and traditional chickens) out of the targeted 43,738 Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development projects (LIMID).

“However, of the 33,600 funded projects, at least 26,225 are operational and employing 15 28,638 Batswana. In addition, to the LIMID programme, during the same financial year, the government supported 442 of the 728 Integrated Support Programme on Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD) projects for poverty eradication with 100% subsidy programme for a maximum of five (5) hectares,” the report says.

There have been challenges with bringing some of the planned activities to a conclusion, in several instances due to limited follow-up by national counterparts, the report says.

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The Telegraph November 25

Digital edition of The Telegraph, November 25, 2020.