The Vice President Slumber Tsogwane on Monday officially opened the forth inter-governmental panel on climate change; a five day event which has bought to Botswana over 100 high level climate change experts from nearly 40 countries.
The experts are expected to work on one of the most significant climate change reports in the climate change discourse.
They will look at the impacts of global warming of 1.5 ┬░C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty (IPCC SR1.5)
Presenting his speech, Tsogwane highlighted that Botswana, like most other developing countries faces challenges in meeting her National Determined Contributions (NDCs) which means actions/steps a country intends taking to mitigate (device means to reduce impacts of climate change).
“Climate change in Botswana is reflected by a number of changes including longer drought episodes resulting in severe water shortages, changes in rainfall patterns resulting in destructive wind and hail storms and floods, extended spatial outbreak of malaria, heat waves and outbreaks of crop diseases that negate government’s effort to revamp the agricultural sector and fight poverty,” said Vice President Tsogwane. He said he however found courage in the hosting of the meeting which he said gave the leadership the opportunity to be acquainted with the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
He welcomed lecture by the panel, which included outreach activity which was conducted in Ramotswa, as well as seminars by NGOs and the academia where IPCC experts have volunteered their time to stimulate higher level climate change knowledge exchange.
“I am informed that you volunteered time and expertise to produce the reports of IPCC which are the basis for the international, regional, and national decision- making and action on climate change. Your rigorous assessment of the latest evidence on climate change from different climate research sources plays a very important role in providing policy makers and other societal actors with a clear view of relevant challenges and the actions that need be taken,” he said.
He said Botswana finds herself located in a region where the rate of warming exceeds that of the global average. The vulnerability of the country to adverse effects of climate change need to be better understood, he said.
On the efforts his government has put in place to tackle the climate phenomenon, Tsogwane said the Department of Meteorological Services, which is the focal point of IPCC serves as the secretariat for the multi sectoral Botswana National Climate Change Committee (NCCC) which together with the Botswana Global Environmental Change Committee (BGCC) at the University of Botswana are overseeing the meeting.
“The Ministry of Environment Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism is working with the NCCC to develop Botswana Climate Change Policy and Strategy. Availability of up to date science based evidence is critical in providing a solid foundation for national climate change response for many years to come,” he said.