Statement by the UNDP Resident Representative,Anders Pedersen Post at the COP 17 and Climate Change Policy Workshop Boipuso Hall, Gaborone

Apr 25, 2012

It is a great honour and privilege for UNDP Botswana to be part of this important gathering to share what we have learnt at the recent COP 17, the Durban Climate Conference in December 2011, and to also deliberate on what this means for Botswana in terms of formulating a comprehensive, forward-looking Climate Change Policy and Strategy. 

UNDP stands ready to provide both technical and financial support towards the development of this policy, and to work in collaboration with the Government of Botswana and Botswana society, to ensure its successful implementation, and that Botswana’s capacity to adapt and build the resilience of its population and economy are enhanced. 

Botswana became party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1994 and has since participated at the numerous Conferences of Parties (COPs). It is now about to publish its 2nd National Communication to the UNFCCC. The time has come for Botswana to make the necessary steps towards ensuring that planning for climate change adaptation and mitigation is coordinated through policy development. This is necessary in order to guide decision-making and align the different current and future initiatives in responding to the challenges of climate variability and climate change. 

Global action and debates towards addressing climate change have been ongoing for a long time. While there have been disappointments and lack of progress in many areas, there have also been achievements. The most recent global discussions, at the COP17 in Durban, saw much progress in terms of making forward-looking decisions and producing concrete results to guide future global action. In Durban, Governments adopted what some refer to as ‘a comprehensive package of decisions’. This entailed a resolution on three mutually dependent issues:

-Firstly, agreement on the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol; 
-Secondly, agreement on a long-term cooperative plan and shared vision to address climate change (a new protocol, another legal instrument for adoption in 2015 and to take effect by 2020) – the so-called Durban Platform; 
-And thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, agreement on finance – both through the provision of long-term finance to address climate change and through the establishment of a ‘Green Climate Fund’, a fund intended to become “the main global fund for climate change finance”.   

The relative success of the Durban Conference builds on a long history of difficult negotiations dating as far back as the first COP in 1995 in Berlin. Many commitments have been made within the process. Some have been honoured, others have failed. The outcome of Durban will also face challenges, but it is through the firm participation of all countries, both from the so-called developing and developed countries – with common but differentiated responsibilities – that concrete, fair and comprehensive agreements and commitments will be reached and honoured. This is why UNDP supported the participation of representatives from a wide range of sectors in Botswana; government, civil society, media and the academia,  at the Durban conference, and is also supporting today’s event. We want to hear what participants learnt in Durban and how these lessons will facilitate public discourse and action towards climate change adaptation and mitigation.   

The new Green Climate Fund (GCF) presents an opportunity for Botswana to access resources to transition towards a low-emission and climate-resilient green development trajectory. The goal of the GCF is to mobilize 100 billion USD per annum by 2020, to support country-driven approaches towards catalyzing public and private finance, both at international and national level, and provide a balanced allocation of resources for adaptation and mitigation activities. UNDP is committed to continue work with the Government of Botswana, civil society and the private sector to access these opportunities and enhance their capacity and build resilience towards climate change.

This said, UNDP’s collaboration with the Government and other stakeholders in Botswana on addressing climate change is neither isolated, nor new. UNDP has in the past, and will in the future continue to support the implementation of projects and initiatives that help build the capacity of Government institutions, local authorities, civil society organizations and rural communities to address the impacts of climate change and build their resilience and capacity to adapt. These projects and initiatives are in the areas of biodiversity conservation, sustainable land management, water resources management, and renewable energy and transport. Together, these projects have generated more knowledge, improved capacity and learning and helped Botswana take stock of where she is in terms of readiness to adapt to climate change.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me conclude by once again reiterating and reaffirming the continued commitment of UNDP and the wider UN system in Botswana to supporting the country’s efforts towards building capacity and resilience and reducing vulnerability towards the impacts and challenges that climate change will present. Thank you!

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