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Effective Adaptation through Climate Change Response Policy

The Botswana’s Department of Meteorological Services has shared that Climate Change Response final policy document was developed and adopted by Parliament in April 2021, following an extensive and inclusive public consultation that facilitated broad-based participation from members of the public in District and Kgotla meetings, sectoral representations and thematic technical expert sessions. This policy document is being supported by the climate change strategy and Action plan which were develop in 2018 and 2019 respectively. 

According to Meteorologist Maikutlo Mokakapadi, Botswana Climate Change Response Policy shall contribute towards the realisation of the goal of sustainable development. This contribution shall be achieved through development activities including adaptation and mitigation response measures as well as building national resilience that balances social, economic, and environmental objectives to meet the needs of current and future generations.  This will also be guided by precautionary, public participatory; polluter pays and the common but differentiated responsibility principles.

In addition, valuable work is being done to enhance the NDC to achieve the GHG emission target in Botswana. The Ministry undertook a process to review and re-align the NDC to existing and new policies and frameworks developed in the country since the last NDC was developed in 2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure an integrated approach as highlighted by the climate change policy.

“Climate change in Botswana affects all sectors. Therefore, the Government of Botswana (GoB) has prioritised all the economic sectors in its National Adaptation Plan (NAP) processes. This includes agriculture and food security, water, human health, ecosystems and biodiversity, disaster risk management, infrastructure development, industry and manufacturing, and tourism. The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism through the Department of Meteorological Services initiated the process of formulating Botswana’s  first Adaptation Communication (AdCom).   Developing the AdCom is supported through the NAP Global Network.  The formulation of Adaptation Communication would allow Botswana to Strengthen adaptation action and support in Botswana and to achieve the global goal on adaptation,” said Mokakapadi.

National Adaptation Plan Framework have all been developed to provide strategic guidance on resilience building across all sectors. A national adaptation plan (NAP) will significantly contribute towards resilience building in key sectors and improve coordination and planning for adaptation. However, the government efforts to build resilience to climate change have been limited by financial constraints. Government of Botswana  in partnership with UNDP is currently working on applying for funding from Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme (RPSP) of the GCF to support the development of a national adaptation plan.

Climate change adaptation is a costly investment which will guarantee economic growth and development during climate change. The NDC reported a partial budget for the adaptation totalling US$ 93.96 million. However, this estimate did not consider vital expenditures such as drought relief programmes (DRP), health, infrastructure, and earmarked water development projects. There is therefore a need to revise the adaptation budget to realistic expenditure which could be more than US 1 billion (Botswana AdCom, 2022).  

Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Philda Kereng said that in Botswana, climate change manifests itself in increased variability of key climate elements such as temperature and rainfall and an increase of the frequency and severity of extreme events such as heat waves, destructive rainfall and droughts that will pose a serious risk and threat to human and natural systems, including health, rangelands, agriculture, wildlife, energy and water resources. She further explained that the main concerns for Botswana are increased energy and water stress because of rising temperature and changing rainfall patterns, losses in rangeland productivity and reduced agricultural yields, which are profoundly threatening food security.

To respond to existing and potential climate change effects, Botswana has decided to develop the Climate Change Response Policy, which sets out the major political intents and actionable commitments, setting the stage for formulating specific strategies and action plans to address climate change. The policy provides for a national vision that establishes a climate compatible development pathway that builds the resilience of the country to climate shocks while minimising the country’s contribution to global warming.

“The objective is achieved through established principles, policy considerations and approaches, identified response measures, as well as their support systems. Such a climate compatible development pathway that is based on SDG’s anchored on a national development framework that ensures building and maintaining the resilience of Botswana to endogenous and exogenous shocks. This approach will also provide the opportunity to mainstream climate change considerations into national macro-economic and sectoral policies,” concluded Kereng.

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