BY ARNOLD LETSHOLO
The sleepy town of Selibe-Phikwe, under-going rigorous economic resuscitation, will come alive next month after being selected host for this year’s World Wetlands Day (WWD).
The Department of Environmental (DEA) Acting Chief Natural Resources Officer, Lechani Motshwaragole, says being situated not far from the man made wetlands the town is in a ‘re-building ‘state.
“There are horticultural farms in the town which are part of the economic diversification meant to resuscitate the town. All these and others have an impact on the biodiversity within the wetlands in the area, hence the selection of the town as the venue for this global event,” Motshwarakgole said.
She said the objectives of the commemorative day include; raising public awareness about the effects of climate change on wetlands; sharing public awareness on the impacts of climate change adaptation strategies, sharing knowledge with various stakeholders on how Botswana is mainstreaming climate change issues and challenges into wetlands management and highlighting Botswana’s preparedness to address the effects of climate change initiatives.
“The WWD commemoration will entail an activation week for the WWD from 24th to 28th January. A panel discussion of an audience of 150 people consisting of various stakeholders from all levels of government especially those responsible for climate change and wetlands management,” said Motshwarakgole.
These include the National Environmental Education Committee (NEEC) members, natural resources management researchers, management researchers, environmentalists and water resources planning engineers.
She further underpinned that her department envisages ensuring that environmental conservation and climate change issues are mainstreamed in every developmental initiatives and projects to ensure sustainability. Issues such as pollution would be guarded against. The life in the wetlands-fish and plants, she says, need to be conserved well.
This explains why different stakeholders have been engaged for this event. The Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU), the Department of Water and Sanitation, the Department of Meteorological Services (DMS), the Department of Public Health, the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) will participate. And so also would be farmers and other town dwellers.
“We have to take stock and see how much various stakeholders are prepared for the climate change era. That is why during the panel discussions all members and observer institutions will be encouraged to intervene in an interactive manner, through questions, comments and sharing of experiences, good practices and challenges as well as suggested recommendations on the way forward, with a view to stimulate constructive debate,” said Motshwarakgole.
Ever since the closure of the BCL mine, which threw out more than five thousand employees into the streets, Selibe Phikwe leadership and the government have been devising means to diversify the economy of the ailing mining with the view to resuscitate it.
This year’s WWD theme is, ‘Wetlands and Climate Change’