By Sharon Tshipa
In preparation for the upcoming Conference of Parties (COP24), political dignitaries, diplomats, climate change experts, researchers and civil society organisations this week gathered to discuss Botswana’s implementation of the Paris Agreement.
The outcomes of the discussions singled out a lack of finance as a potential hindrance to successful implementation of Botswana’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
Addressing the gathering, Balisi Gopolang, Deputy Director of the Department of Meteorological Services said the cost of adaptation for Botswana could possibly take up to 10 percent of the country’s GDP. An amount he said could be used for other social problems if climate change was not an issue.
Already, 2 percent of Botswana’s GDP is being spend on climate change. However, more work needs to be done in order for Botswana to deliver on its climate change commitment. Areas that will require attention, Gopolang cited as the water and agricultural sectors as these have suffered the effects of climate change more.
Despite the financial implications of Botswana’s efforts to play a plausible role in mitigation and adaptation, the collective gathering reaffirmed the country’s commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with the hope to help limit global temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, while pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius through transparent and ambitious emission reductions – taking the study findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 1.5 Degrees Celsius Special Report into consideration.
During the high level gathering, the European Union vouched to finance and continue to promote climate financing opportunities for the sake of climate adaptation among other efforts. Jan Sadek, Head of Delegation for the European Union to the Republic of Botswana and SADC, assured participants at event that was organised by the Botswana Climate Change Network with support of the Botswana government, held at the Gaborone International Convention Center (GICC), that the EU will increase its budget, continuing on its commitment to climate change – money and initiatives he said Botswana will benefit from.
At COP24, a two week long conference that will be held in Katowice, Poland, the high level gathering revealed that Botswana looks forward to the content of the Rule Book that will discuss financing and technology, taking into consideration how these can be used to protect the country’s ecosystems and biodiversity.
In anticipation of implementation of the Paris Agreement, the country has been carrying out research studies whose data will help to fully determine its vulnerabilities to climate change looking at health, water scarcity, crops, energy efficiency –regarding also the possible reduction of greenhouse gases and the effects of climate change on elephants, lizards and other species. However, to truly succeed, experts called on the Botswana government to approve the pending climate change policy and strategy.
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