UN Botswana COVID19 Response -newsletter-04
Jun 2, 2020
Life after lockdown; A new context; The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world into uncharted territory. Strategies to reduce the spread of the virus have been designed, implemented, reviewed and tested on daily basis. There is much trial and error, and many factors are in play. Following a seven-week lockdown, Botswana has lifted movement restrictions which were implemented to fight COVID-19 pandemic. This newsletter highlights some key considerations to keep in mind as we move on from the lockdown to keep ourselves safe.
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Jun 23, 2020
The Cubango-Okavango River Basin (CORB) remains a relatively undisturbed, with near-pristine ecological and environmental status due to limited socio-economic development. The CORB ecosystems currently supports predominantly rural communities who practice subsistence agriculture and also subsist on natural resources harvesting in particular fisheries, game, wild fruits and wild vegetables. Meanwhile the tourism potential of the basin remains enormous due to its high ecological integrity, outstanding biodiversity and a network of channels and deep lagoons, and vast floodplains. Tourism activities are currently limited in the upper catchment (Angola), while significant tourism activities are currently on-going in the Okavango Delta with minimal ecological and environmental impacts. However, there is evidence that pressure to harness the CORB’s resources through various large scale water development projects aimed at generating significant economic benefits is increasing. According to a recent Multi-Sectorial Opportunity Investment Analysis for the CORB, potential future water development schemes which may have adverse impact on the CORB ecosystems and its water resources include hydropower dams, mining and large scale irrigated agriculture. To facilitate coordinated management of the CORB, the three riparian states, Angola, Botswana and Namibia are advised by the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM) on matters relating to the conservation, development and utilisation of water resources in the CORB.
Jun 18, 2020
A profound shock to our societies and economies, the COVID-19 pandemic underscores society’s reliance on women both on the front line and at home, while simultaneously exposing structural inequalities across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection.
May 20, 2020
COVID-19: Human development on course to decline this year for the first time since 1990 Concerted action with a focus on equity could still limit the impacts of this unprecedented crisis: closing the digital divide would reduce by more than two-thirds the number of children currently not learning because of school closures. New York, 20 May 2020 – Global human development – which can be measured as a combination of the world’s education, health and living standards – could decline this year for the first time since the concept was introduced in 1990, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) warned today. “The world has seen many crises over the past 30 years, including the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09. Each has hit human development hard but, overall, development gains accrued globally year-on-year,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. “COVID-19 – with its triple hit to health, education, and income – may change this trend.” Declines in fundamental areas of human development are being felt across most countries - rich and poor - in every region. COVID-19’s global death toll has exceeded 300,000 people, while the global per capita income this year is expected to fall by four per cent. With school closures, UNDP estimates of the “effective out-of-school rate”—the percentage of primary school-age children, adjusted to reflect those without Internet access—indicate that 60 per cent of children are not getting an education, leading to global levels not seen since the 1980s. The combined impact of these shocks could signify the largest reversal in human development on record. This is not counting other significant effects, for instance, in the progress towards gender equality. The negative impacts on women and girls span economic - earning and saving less and greater job insecurity -, reproductive health, unpaid care work and gender-based violence. COVID-19: a magnifying glass for inequalities The drop in human development is expected to be much higher in developing countries that are less able to cope with the pandemic’s social and economic fallout than richer nations. In education, with schools closed and stark divides in access to online learning, UNDP estimates show that 86 percent of children in primary education are now effectively out-of-school in countries with low human development—compared with just 20 percent in countries with very high human development. But with more equitable Internet access, - where countries close the gap with leaders in their development group, something feasible – the current gaps in education could close. Determined, equity-focused interventions can help economies and societies rally, mitigating the far-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This crisis shows that if we fail to bring equity into the policy toolkit, many will fall further behind. This is particularly important for the ‘new necessities’ of the 21st century, such as access to the Internet, which is helping us to benefit from tele-education, tele-medicine, and to work from home,” says Pedro Conceição, Director of the Human Development Report Office at UNDP. Implementing equity-focused approaches would be affordable. For instance, closing the gap in access to the Internet for low- and middle-income countries is estimated to cost just one per cent of the extraordinary fiscal support packages the world has so far committed to respond to COVID-19. The importance of equity is emphasized in the United Nations’ framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19 crisis, which sets out a green, gender-equal, good governance baseline from which to build a ‘new normal”. It recommends five priority steps to tackle the complexity of this crisis: protecting health systems and services; ramping up social protection; protecting jobs, small- and medium-sized businesses and informal sector workers; making macroeconomic policies work for everyone; and promoting peace, good governance and trust to build social cohesion. UNDP calls on the international community to rapidly invest in the ability of developing countries to follow these steps.