Botswana embarks on ambitious plan to tackle climate change

Drought-hit pastre land in Botswana
Botswana is already prone to drought; climate change is likely to worsen the situation, resulting in reduced pasture available for more the more than 3 million herds of cattle in the country.

The Government of Botswana has initiated nation-wide consultations to build climate change into all of its development activities.

Climate change is already being attributed to a number of changes in Botswana, including longer drought episodes, changes in rainfall patterns, outbreaks of crop diseases that affect the most important sector to rural households and subsistence agriculture. At a national level, Botswana is experiencing significant water shortages, resulting in dependence on its neighboring countries for inter-basin water transfers to augments its domestic supply.

Highlights

  • As a result of climate change, Botswana is expected to experience a temperature rise of up to 2 degrees Celsius by 2015 and a decline in river flows of up to 13 percent.
  • The focus of the national adaptation and mitigation plan would be the development and transfer of technology, finance and knowledge, and promote education and public awareness of climate issues.

According to Botswana’s Second National Communication to the UNFCCC, the country is expected to experience a temperature rise of up to 2 degrees Celsius by 2015 and a decline in river flows of up to 13 percent.
Bringing together representatives from regional organizations, government, civil society and the private sector, the aim is to develop a national climate policy, strategy and action plan that will guide Botswana to respond to the current and future impacts of climate variability. The strategy will also inform the country’s low carbon development pathway and a national adaptation and mitigation plan. This would focus on the development and transfer of technology, finance and knowledge, and promote education and public awareness of climate issues.

In September, the first workshop was held in Gaborone to  kick off the consultation process and participants provided guidance on who to include in the process, how to access important data and information and generate tools to drive the process.

Botswana’s national climate change policy is expected to be ready by mid-2014, while the strategy and action plan will follow later in the year.

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