The 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 27) to the 2022 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place from 6 to 18 November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt and Botswana is attending the conference.
The themes of COP27 include: Finance, Science, Youth & Future Generations, Decarbonization, Adaptation & Agriculture, Gender, Water, Ace & Civil Society, Energy, Biodiversity and Solutions. In addition, 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
In the 30 years since, the world has come a long way in the fight against climate change and its negative impacts on our planet. As a result, COP 27 will among other issues discuss tools that the world can use to address the causes and consequences of climate change. COP 27 will also discuss mitigation and adaptations measures to climate change.
Why is it critical for Botswana to attend COP 27. The answer to this question is that, apart from the fact that Botswana is a signatory to the UNFCCC, Botswana is considered highly vulnerable to climate change due to its high dependence on rain-fed agriculture and natural resources, high levels of poverty – particularly in rural areas, and a low adaptive capacity to deal with these expected changes.
Primary challenges are centered around water resource availability, changing precipitation patterns, and increasing population demands. Climatic and socio-economic environments in semi-arid areas in Botswana make communities vulnerable to food insecurity and unstable livelihoods as well as unsustainable agroecological systems, crop failure and unproductive rangelands. Food security and developments are being constrained by existing climate change stressors such as water unavailability, land degradation, desertification as well as loss of biodiversity.
Botswana’s climate is described as arid to semi-arid with highly erratic rainfall. This makes Botswana to have a high degree of risk to natural hazards. Botswana’s vulnerability is exacerbated by its high level of poverty and its dependence on key sectors most likely effected by climate change, namely: agriculture, water, tourism, and health.
Future projections indicate that Botswana will experience a rise in temperature as well as the increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme droughts and floods. These are likely to reduce crop yields and cause a loss in livestock, which will have important implications for food security. In addition, Botswana is exposed to numerous hazards including such as strong winds, land fires and pest infestations. Recurring droughts and floods have the most severe impact on the population. Climate variability is already negatively impacting livelihoods, and this is expected to continue.
The Government of Botswana is focused on the prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery to disasters and is working to integrate an effective disaster management strategy into sectoral policies and programs. Existing disaster risk reduction measures are being implemented by various sectors such as Agriculture, Forestry and Health. The National Disaster Risk Management Plan was developed in 2009, with the goal to enable achievements towards sustainable development by carrying out disaster risk reduction activities, reducing vulnerability and increasing resilience. Legislation and policies are currently coordinated through the National Disaster Risk Management Plan. The most vulnerable groups of climate change are children, the elderly, people with pre-existing health conditions, outdoor workers, agro-pastoralists, and people with low income. It is from this background that Botswana should attend COP 27 with other countries of the world so that we can gain more scientific knowledge of handling These people are at an even higher risk because of the compounding factors from climate change.