Climate change has become a more pressing issue today than it was in 2004 and 2010 as the country has become more susceptible to seasonal variations that contribute to harsh weather conditions such as drought, sporadic floods and frost bite.
Information from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG) summary indicates that, “These often have adverse effects on crops which result in reduced yields. Rainfall has become more unreliable over the years, greatly affecting the inflows into the dams and other water sources especially in Southern Botswana. Consequently, every year Government spends substantial resources on drought relief measures. The water demand on the other hand, is expected to increase with the growing population and urbanization.”
It however further states that substantial progress has been made with respect to ensuring environmental sustainability.┬á
“Botswana has one of the highest measures of population with access to improved water sources, at 96.2 percent in 2008 which is higher than the average for middle income countries which stands at 93 percent. Similarly, good progress has been made on access to improved sanitation as 79 percent of the population has access to improved sanitation in 2007,” the report states.
The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism continues to engage in wider stakeholder consultations in order to minimize the long standing conflict between population and wildlife, particularly in areas that border the wildlife protection areas of northern, north-western as well as eastern Botswana. The Ministry is also in the process of developing the National Climate Change Strategy and the National Strategy for Sustainable Development in line with Botswana’s position with regards to the RIO+20 outcomes.
On other related issues, the summary indicates that, “The national estimates for persons living below the one dollar a day in Botswana reduced from 23.4 per cent to 6.5 per cent between 2002/3 and 2009/10. While poverty remains highest in rural areas, the actual improvement in poverty levels seems to have occurred in this group. Rural areas experienced a 45.7 per cent decrease in poverty against 24.5per cent and 21.6 per cent decrease achieved by cities and towns, and urban villages, respectively.”
The inequality on the other hand has increased as demonstrated by the GINI coefficient which increased from 0.573 in 2002/3 to 0.645 in 2009/10. Similarly, the cash income GINI coefficient increased from 0.626 to 0.715 during the period 2002/3 ÔÇô 2009/10. However, a decline was experienced in the GINI Coefficient from 0.571 in 2002/3 to 0.495 in 2009/10. This intuitively indicates that consumption of goods and services is more equitably distributed in Botswana during this period whereas total income and cash income actually experienced worsening equity in distribution.
The poverty decline can largely be credited to intensified Government efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger through a number of initiatives and social protection schemes.┬áThe current agricultural programmes such as the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agricultural Development (ISPAAD), Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development (LIMID) as well as National Master Plan for Arable Agriculture and Dairy Development (NAMPAADD). These programmes address existing National Development Plan 10 policy objectives of food security, poverty alleviation and economic empowerment of both the active traditional and commercial farmers.
The 2011 census estimated the national unemployment rate to be 19.6 per cent which is an improvement from the 26.2 per cent recorded in 2008 though it still falls short of the 15.8per cent previously recorded in 2000. The 2011 situation also shows that female unemployment is higher, at 22.6 per cent compared to 17.7 per cent for males. The 2010 situation from the Botswana Core Welfare Indicator Survey (BCWIS) also shows that majority of the poor people are employed, even though their earnings are not enough to take them out of poverty.┬áGovernment therefore has to become more innovative in dealing with poverty as the current interventions have not created sustainable jobs.