A senior official in the Department of Environmental Affairs, Khulekani Mpofu has said that sustainable development is the overall guiding framework and starting point that integrates all National Development Plan (NDP) thematic areas priorities; promoting synergies and addressing potential trade-offs.
Speaking during a climate change workshop organized by Botswana Climate Change Network at Cresta Lodge last Wednesday, Mpofu said for realization of sustainability, cross-cutting issues should also be mainstreamed into national plans
“Mainstreaming of cross cutting issues in national priorities ensures that the country maintains natural assets that drive the economy and society continuously; has the capacity to respond to adverse climates; and has in general frameworks and practical tools for addressing economic, social and environmental issues,” enlightened Mpofu.
He said Botswana’s National Development Strategy Agenda is largely informed by the: National Development Plan (NDP), District Development Plans (DDPs) Urban Development Plans UDPs), and relevant policies. Additionally, government has put in place national mechanisms through which Climate Change related projects are developed and implemented.
“The NDP is a strategic national planning instrument approved by Parliament which presents the best foundation for Botswana to integrate, develop and implement adaptation and mitigation projects; it’s the single most important way of ensuring that climate change projects are integrated and prioritised at the national level and it provides an opportunity to prioritise projects for national and external funding. DDPs are key planning instruments for districts that are important in terms of setting districts priorities. They are developed through a participatory approach and climate change adaptation projects are mostly implemented at the district level, and it is important that DDCs capture such projects,” Mpofu said.
As for UDPs, he said each urban area is in the process of developing a UDP. That this presents urban areas with an opportunity to develop projects with climate response plans and projects, and that urban areas are affected by CC in different ways hence each needs to develop a Climate Change response plan and projects.
Mpofu said Botswana has a number of programs which directly and indirectly contribute to implementation of measures on national climate change. These are mostly spread across sectors and serve sectoral objectives but contribute to national Climate Change objectives. He outlined them as: National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan; UNCCD National Action Plans; Management Plans for Protected Areas; Agricultural programs and Social Welfare Programs.
The UNCCD National Action Plan he said deals with combating desertification and land reclamation; Management Plans for Protected Areas are important in conservation of flora and fauna which are important in the climate change management framework; Agricultural programs which provide support projects such as conservation agriculture, and SLM practices among others promote adaptation and resilience to effects of Climate Change; while Social Welfare Programs are important to vulnerable groups. These programs include the provision of food rations and other support programs. This is mainly for the rural poor as these are mostly affected by climate change.
“There also are research Institutions such as the University of Botswana (UB) BITRI; and Innovation hub research on wider issues which include Climate Change issues like clean technologies, and adaptation measures. Furthermore there are National Funding Programs such as Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA), National Environment Fund (NEF) and Conservation Trust Fund provide resources for development of Climate Change related projects. Ecosystem Management Plans like Makgadikgadi Framework Management Plan, the Okavango Delta Management Plan are important instruments in addressing ecosystem specific Climate Change issues.They offer a valuable approach to climate change and they complement traditional practices,” he said.
He said there is Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) which seeks to include or consider natural capital (land, mineral and water) in System of National Accounts & therefore recognizing the sustainability of growth and development (through valuation of natural resources). The WAVES process takes into cognizance Climate Change issues.
Mpofu motivated participants by saying Management of climate change is a national priority, and it will have wide-ranging effects on the environment, in particular the water, agriculture and food security, human health and biodiversity sectors
“The sectors need to integration of certain climate related risks in their day to day business to become more resilient. They must develop a Climate Change management plan and avail resources for implementation. Nationally, there is need to put more resources towards building resilience as this is central to being prepared for future changes. Research on Climate Change must be supported and accelerated as this will inform sound adaptation and mitigation measures.The Paris Agreement needs us to collaborate on projects, policy development and financing for it to be successfully implemented,” he said.