The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism (MENT), Dr Oduetse Oldman Koboto has said that according to scientific evidence on climate change, there is urgent need for stepping up climate action through adaptation and mitigation initiatives.
Giving a key note address during grant awarding ceremony for seven grantees of the Global Environment Facility -Small Grants Program (GEF-SGP) last week, he said according to studies undertaken, drought related stress in semi-arid regions such as Botswana is likely to increase due to the increased variability in precipitation coupled with extreme temperatures due to climate change.
“Botswana, he said is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to high dependence on climate sensitive sectors of economy such as; agriculture and tourism. It is, therefore, imperative to support initiatives aimed at mitigating and adapting to curb the effects of climate change while supporting sustainable livelihoods geared towards reducing poverty at grassroots levels,” said Dr Koboto.
SGP Botswana, he said has supported a total of 11 per cent of the projects within the climate change focal area since inception and continued efforts to support the government of Botswana on climate action initiatives. SGP intends to intensify support in rural areas in order to contribute to restoration and conservation of the environment, alleviate poverty and overall attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The program supports non-profit oriented organisations with grants ranging from USD 5,000.00 to USD 50,000.00 (equivalent BWP50,000 to BWP500,000) to enable; Civil Society Organizations -Non-Governmental Organizations and Community-Based Organizations; including women groups, youth, people with disability and San groups. The support is also extended to the Academia and Research Institutions established by an Act of Parliament, which is consistent with the Botswana government shift towards knowledge-based economy.
Globally, climate change has become a real threat to mankind in this century and Botswana has not been spared. Unmitigated climate change presents significant risks for humanity, threatening the livelihoods of millions, while the poorest and most vulnerable are likely to suffer the most and lose development gains of recent decades. Interconnected challenges of overcoming poverty and managing climate change were described as “the two defining challenges of this century”.