Botswana’s Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources highlights the importance of the poverty-environment nexus for sustainable development

Environmental degradation of all key natural resource assets, including forests, soils and water resources, impacts strongly and negatively on the livelihoods of vulnerable groups in Botswana. To address this, the mid-term review process of the National Development Plan 10 (NDP 10) prioritizes natural capital accounting and poverty eradication through a keynote policy paper, which includes significant PEI inputs. As a part of this process PEI facilitated a workshop at the request of the Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism (MEWT) on how to provide technical inputs to the revision of the Sustainable Environment chapter and has as such provided important inputs to the chapter.

On the 23rd of April the honorable Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources – Mr. Onkokame Kitso Mokaila – delivered a speech to Parliament on the revised Sustainable Environment chapter of the NDP 10. The Minister highlighted that ‘understanding the economic value of natural resources is an important step in pursuing sustainable natural resources management and integrating the value of natural capital in development planning, budgeting and decision-making. We are therefore in the process of developing flow and monetary accounting for sectors such as water, energy, agriculture land and tourism. These activities are in direct support of the Gaborone Declaration of 2012. Botswana’s participation in global programmes such as the Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI), and the Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES), will add value to determining the value of natural resources and ecosystems to socio-economic development’.      

For PEI Botswana this is a promising indication that the programme can deliver on its primary objective to enhance the integration of sustainable development in national, sector and district level policies, plans, budgets and monitoring systems. It could also help improve the use of integrated tools and methodologies for sustainable natural resource management for the purpose of economic diversification and poverty eradication. When these changes in government policy trickle down to the local level it is likely to have positive impacts for the Batswana people who depend heavily on key natural resource assets for their livelihoods. 

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