- Date submitted: 31 Oct 2011
- Stakeholder type: Member State
- Submission Document: Download
- Additional Document:
The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Botswana to the United Nations presents its compliments to the Secretariat of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), and has the honour to respond to the letter submitted by the Co-Chairs of the UNCSD Bureau dated 14 March 2011, requesting Member States to submit by the deadline of 1st November 2011, inputs and contributions for the necessary inclusion into the compilation document that will serve as the basis for the preparation of the zero draft of the outcome document of Rio+20.
Accordingly, the Permanent Mission has the further honour to transmit the attached submission on behalf of the Govemment of the Republic of Botswana.
The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Botswana to the United Nations avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Secretariat of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) the assurances of its highest consideration.
Botswana Initial Submission to UNCSD
"We believe that the Rio+20 processes present an excellent pkttfo rm for all Memi cr states, individually and couecttvety, to muster their resoive towards the attainment of sustainable development.
Htl Vice-President Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe UN Gcncral Assemblv (September 26, 2011)
Botswana welcomes the convening of the next UNCSD or 'Rio+20' conference scheduled for June 4-6, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to consider the themes of Green Economy in the context of Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication (GESDPE), and Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD). We believe the objective of the Conference to renew political commitment to sustainable development, review progress and implementation, to address gaps and challenges as well as new and emerging issues will enhance delivery of sustainable development goals. The IFSD deliberations should furthermore conclude the global discussions on International Environmental Governance (lEG) and the position and role of UNEP.
Botswana believes that desertification drought and land degradation should feature prominently in the outcome of Rio+20.TheConferenceshouldgiveemphasisto the implementation of the provisions of the United Nations Convention on Desertification including the promotion and strengthening of scientific research base on desertification, drought and land degradation, as well as provision of adequate and predictable financing, technology transfer and capacity building to combat desertification.
There is furthermore need to address the various emerging issues such as urbanisation and sustainable cities, climate change, food security and sustainable agriculture, energy and water security, waste management including electronic waste, and disaster management and preparedness.
1.0 From Rio 92 to Rio+20: Achievements and challenges
1.1 Botswana has made substantial strides in pursuing sustainable development. The six-year national development planning cycles have since Independence, concentrated on a robust planning approach which integrates the various sectors in the economy. Botswana's prudent management of its financial resources have resulted in sustained economic growth; environmental conservation and utilisation; programmes and various social protection initiatives, in line with the fundamental principles of sustainable development. The national development planning process is premised on objectives that provide a basis for sustainable development through an integrated approach that allowed scope for inter-ministerial dialogue during planning and implementation of programmes and projects.
1.2 At a policy level Government takes guidance from the Botswana Excellence Strategy for Economic Diversification and Sustainable Growth (2008) and from the 2010 Economic Diversification Drive (EDD), a comprehensive strategy framework to pursue economic diversification through various strategies. The EDD for its Research and Development (R&D) strategy within the context of creating a "vibrant technology driven economy" almost entirely focuses on the technology-based opportunities presented in such natural resource sectors as energy and environment, water harvesting and treatment, biotechnology, and agricultural production and agro¬processing.
1.3 At a technical and operational level this has taken the form of various legislation, policies, programmes and projects in support of all sustainable development pillars as well as their inter-linkages. Environmental Impact legislation, natural resource accounting, environmental mainstreaming, agricultural development, poverty eradication, social protection, drought relief and economic diversification programmes have all been pursued with the need for an inclusive development approach in mind. Botswana has furthermore commenced a comprehensive and stakeholder-based process towards the preparation of a National Strategy for Sustainable Development.
1.4 Botswana is ready to share mutually beneficial experiences of value addition in the extractive industries; Government policy formulation, implementation and investment in natural resource management; Creation of an enabling environment for investment in and development of small and medium size enterprises.
1.5 Over the years Government has also embarked on diversification efforts in order to broaden the economic base with the view to improving its performance and sustainability. Government pursued investments through the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC), the National Development Bank (NOB),the Citizen Economic Development Agency (and its precursor the Financial Assistance Policy), the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), and Botswana Enterprise Development and Investment Agency(BEDIA).
1.6 Sector specific policies such as the draft National Policy on Agricultural Development, the National Strategy on Poverty Reduction (2003), the recently approved Policy on Forestry, the 2008 Policy on Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM), the draft Wildlife Policy, and others also include reference to and objectives towards economic diversification.
1.7 The Ministry of Local Government has adopted a Local Economic Development (LED) framework which is an integrated approach to achieving poverty alleviation through 'pro-poor and equitable economic growth. Specific targeted groups include the poor, the disadvantaged, particularly women, unemployed, landless and the informal sector. The LED framework allows districts to sustainably utilise specific natural resources and economic comparative advantages to encourage targeted enterprise development.
1.8 The Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism is in the process of developing a Green Government Programme which focuses on improving energy and other resource efficiency within Government operations (incl. fuel-efficient vehicle use and fleet replacement, electricity and water use, and renewable energy) and aims to develop sustainable procurement guidelines.
2.0 Green economy in the context of Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication
2.1 The concept of Green Economy resonates well with the approach of the Government of Botswana to long-term development policy and practice. Principles of sustainable development and the economics thereof underpin various Government policies and strategies as well as the national development planning objectives. As such the Government of Botswana subscribes to the notion of Green Economy with the understanding that it does not replace sustainable development but rather provides an approach to further define the economics of sustainable development.
2.2 Botswana has borrowed the following United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) working definition on Green Economy as a basis for its initial deliberations: "a green economy is one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities". Hence, in its simplest expression, we see a Green Economy as one which is low-carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. Thus, in line with Botswana government policy, Green Economy provides a conceptual framework and an economic vehicle to advance human well-being, eradicate abject poverty and achieve the objectives of sustainable development.
2.3 Green Economy should essentially be about resource efficiencies, reducing pollution, moving away from the current 'brown' economy as it were, and promoting social equity. The concept should therefore provide a full examination of the current economic practices with a view to placing environmental and social equity considerations at the intersection of sustainable development.
2.4 The current economic archetypes which support policies towards economic growth should be interrogated for their sustainability and their inadequacy in dealing with such issues as social equity, poverty eradication, ecological imbalance, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, and climate change. Furthermore, there is need for alternative economic practices in order to guard against the misallocation of capital which is attributed to the global food, energy, climate change, as well as the financial and economic crises during the last decade.
2.5 A new paradigm is emerging in which economic development and wealth creation should take due recognition of the inclusion of natural capital and the associated opportunities for growth that prevents social inequities while embracing poverty reduction objectives.
2.6 Botswana underscores the importance of ensuring that green economy concept results in developing and maintaining a balance between the need for countries in transition whose economies rely on natural resources, to be assisted with new technology and financing to enable them to continue to benefit from their natural resources in a way that is less harmful to the planet. In this regard, green economy concept should develop models that could be employed by natural resource-rich countries to help them translate their natural resource abundance into economic prosperity through prudent investment and utilization of mineral revenue and beneficiation in order to achieve broader development goals such as improving the welfare of their citizens in health, education and building of infrastructure as well as assistance in meeting their national and global internationally agreed development goals including MDGs.
2.7 BotswanawouldliketocautionagainsttheuseoftheconceptofGreenEconomyto erect trade and other barriers including aDA or debt relief conditionalities by developed countries which could have adverse effects on the economies of developing countries. There is a growing concern among many developing countries that a green economy may induce subsidies to green production. Imposing new technological standards and categorization of goods could further disadvantage the developing world in the international trading system. Such new standards have the potential to promote new forms of 'green protectionism' that will adversely impact on the exports of developing countries and worsen their terms of trade. Botswana therefore feels strongly that Green economy should not impose conditionalities on developing countries for aid, debt rescheduling or debt relief. Transitioning including the scoping thereof should be accompanied by appropriate means of implementation, including financial and technical assistance, technology transfer, capacity building and the availing of adequate resources to assist developing countries in transitioning to a Green Economy.
2.8 In an effort to promote awareness on green economy and encourage broad participation in its conceptualization at national level, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, the UNDP/UNEP Poverty -Environment Initiative (PEl) and the Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism in collaboration with the International Institute for Environment and Development (liED) organised a multi stakeholder consultation on Green Economy in September 2011. Participants discussed the linkages between the economy and the environmental and natural resource management sectors such as agriculture, tourism, water and energy on the one hand and the opportunities within the sectors to alleviate poverty through decent green jobs. The meeting agreed on a more people-oriented sustainable and inclusive development pathway and furthermore agreed on an initial ten-point vision on Green Economy in the context of Botswana:
i. Botswana's competitiveness is improved through a preferential focus on diverse,
productive and sustainable operations
ii. Stakeholders are well-networked so that information flows improve, innovation
increases, and partnerships form to achieve shared goals
iii. Citizens and poor people in particular are empowered and benefit through decent
jobs and livelihoods
iv. Government incentivises a Green Economy through enabling conditions, setting
high standards across the sectors, and runs its own operations in a consistent, green
and ethical manner
v. Botswana private sector leads growth, takes initiatives and transforms itself to
become more efficient and inclusive; domestic investment is mobilised, and
responsible foreign investment is attracted towards green infrastructure, goods and
vi. Major issues are properly mainstreamed like environment, biodiversity,
desertification and poverty eradication and there is strong leadership to move to
vii. Resilience is improved through planning that takes a more integrated, coherent and
future oriented approach
viii. Accountability of all stakeholders is improved, through transparent information on
resource stocks, flows and damages and a robust legal framework
ix. Built on solid knowledge, scientific and cultural principles including indigenous
knowledge and 'Botho' which captures the values of 'humanness', respect, courtesy,
x. Internationally secure and responsible -cognisant of, and contributes to,
Botswana's interdependence and its role in the region and the world.
2.9 The prospects of transitioning towards a Green Economy require to be further scoped out and Botswana identified the following sectors shaving key Green Economy potential:
-Tourism and Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM)
2.10 Botswana would welcome a process whereby countries commit themselves to undertaking Green Economy scoping exercises and to preparing national plans to transition to a Green Economy through an inclusive and participatory process which involves civil society and the private sector. Particular emphasis should be given to the involvement of youth and women organisations and the sustainable development challenges the youth and women face including the creation of decent green jobs.
2.11 Reforming our economic sectors into low carbon and resource efficient sectors will have implications for all communities, sectors and nations. The poorest will be the most vulnerable to the shift and too reduce their vulnerability, it is important to maintain and strengthen social protection systems where these exist, and to establish those systems where none are in place. Social protection can furthermore playa key role in sustaining existing environmental protection practices by reducing poor families' reliance and pressure on natural resources.
2.12 Rio+20 should provide an enabling environment for countries to define their own paths towards sustainable development based on national circumstances and priorities. National strategies or frameworks for sustainable development, poverty eradication and green economy should be considered as an integrated way to address the complex nature of sustainable development. This is particularly significant as sustainable development seeks to enhance the resilience of nations, communities and households as well as ensure that the poor and marginalized are not left behind.
2.13 For landlocked countries such as Botswana it is pertinent that sustainable development and transitioning to a low-carbon green economy is scoped within the context of regional cooperation in transportation and communications infrastructure, energy, land and water resources management, trans-boundary protected areas and natural resource management, trade and customs.
2.14 The transition to sustainable development requires of each and every country that it reaches a critical mass of changes in policies, institutions, regulation, and incentives to markedly address critical government and market failures and empower civil society engagement and ownership. Such changes need to be consistent and feasible, and take as starting points what we know about the real constraints and bottlenecks.
2.15 Given the potential of green economy to spur investments in new equipment and new technology, transition from old technologies should be gradual and appropriately financed. Accordingly, capacity building, new skills transfer and training to aid proper transitioning to a Green Economy should be foremost in a possible technological revolution. This is particularly relevant in the area of climate change adaptation and mitigation. It is nearly impossible to achieve sustainable development goals without addressing climate change. For developing countries such as Botswana climate change adaptation is a crucial issue particularly for such sectors such as agriculture, development of infrastructure and communication networks, housing, water and health.
2.16 Botswana is of the strong opinion that countries must commit to a process of 'accounting for the environment' by quantifying the value that natural systems bring to our economies. Green accounting frameworks need to be integrated into national accounting practices. Natural capital has no dedicated systems of measurement, monitoring and reporting, and yet our natural capital and its income flows are of crucial significance for jobs and mainstream economic sectors as well as for future economic development.
2.17 Although countries are making impressive progress towards agreed international development targets including the MDGs, Botswana views Rio+20 as a great opportunity to recommit to the MDGs and pursue an inclusive, equitable, and environmentally responsible sustainable development process. The commitment towards the attainment of the MDGs should therefore address key challenges and provide incentives to stop unsustainable policies and practices and accelerate progress towards the eradication of poverty.
2.18 Monitoring and evaluation tools would need to focus on assessing implementation towards the higher results rather than merely measuring effort. Botswana urges international community to commit to the development and implementation of new ways of measuring national 'wealth', specifically with new indicators on societal well-being and environmental health. GDP was never intended to measure national welfare. Not only does it fail to address the well-being of people or environmental quality, but the averaging of incomes per capita in GDP masks poverty gaps, and inequity and social justice issues. It is a flawed metric by which to base and inform policy debates. A global metric system should consider such indicators as the Human Development Index (HDI) and the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) to measure the sustainability of well-being or income through access to a range of indicators including health, education, political decisionmaking, security and the fair allocation of resources.
2.19 Sustainable consumption and production including product life cycle and value chain assessment, ecological footprint awareness should be an integral part of a Green Economy and should appropriately capture among others:
i. environmental concerns like energy emissions and the materials used in manufacturing ,to aspects such as product originand length of Iife cycle;
ii. social criteria e.g. ethical issues such as fair, safe and healthy working conditions; and,
iii. economic; factors including cost-saving measures and all costs associated with the Iifecycle of a product including disposal.
3.0 Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development
3.1 Rio+20 should provide guidance and decision on an innovative, reliable and balanced integration of all the three pillars of sustainable development. There is global agreement that reform is desirable in order to bring coherence to the current institutional structures through an enhanced contribution of the environment pillar, such that all the three pillars can contribute harmoniously to sustainable development goals.
3.2 There is also general consensus that UNEP in its current structure is rather too narrow in scope and its resources too limited to effectively deliver on its key mandate as a global Institutional framework for sustainable development. UNEP also cannot sufficiently coordinate MEAs and therefore requires an elevated UN status with a renewed mandate which should build greater coherence between the environmental and the economic and social agendas thereby making the concept 'environment for development' a reality in comprising all dimensions of sustainable development. UNEP needs to be strengthened taking cognisance of the following needs:
i. Enhanced cooperation, cohesion and harmonisation between MEAs and other UN
ii. Improved implementation of a poverty-focused development agenda;
iii. Enhanced role of NGO [participation in programming] [(co)execution of
iv. Strengthened science base;
v. Clustering conventions and MEAs avoiding duplication and maximizing reporting,
compliance and implementation effectiveness;
vi. Utilisation of legitimate powers for compliance, enforcement and implementation;
vii. Improved international binding environmental decision-making;
viii. Sustainable, reliable and predictable financing.
3.3 A reformed UNEP in the form of a UN specialised institution should cluster and coordinate MEAs whilst reducing organisational fragmentation; develop and implement a common reporting format and system for MEAs as well as for earth governance reporting; setup a robust set of accountability mechanisms and a reward system based on performance; develop international norms and standards and a common dispute system; strengthen UNEP presence in different regions of the globe; pursue a joint system of knowledge sharing and capacity building for developing countries along with financial and technological transfer; and be based on a qualified majority voting system which would be binding to all members.
3.4 The reform process of the environment architecture should also result in a more enhanced mandate of the ECOSOC and the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). The relationship between the ECOSOC and the Bretton Woods Institutions needst o be clearly defined to improve coordination of sustainable development goals at international level. Similarly, the work of the CSD should result in improved implementation and effective sessions and session follow-ups, enhanced assessment of regional and international challenges, the overall linkages with MDGs, and the CSD sessions should also provide reinforcement of positions taken in other international forums on economic, social and environmental issues through the CSD process.
3.5 Institutional arrangements to support sustainable development require open, adaptive and coordinated mechanisms to respond to current and emerging issues of the environment and as well as the development agenda as a whole. There is need to strengthen and capacitate internal UN coordination for sustainable development, so that countries may receive more and better integrated support for sustainable development. Botswana would welcome an improved global SD 'architecture' including the option of Sustainable Development Council. As part of an improved IFSD, Botswana supports the upgrading of UNEP in its current mandate into a UN specialised institution for the environment based in Nairobi, Kenya.
3.6 At national level, the conventional sector-based planning should give way to integrated planning and decision making in support of sustainable development where Ministries of Environment or Natural Resources are no longer perceived as the sole custodians of sustainable development but can buttress their policy responsibilities with mandates spanning across other sectors.
3.7 Botswana still remains with the challenge of streamlining structures that would support efforts towards sustainable development. The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism and that of Finance and Development Planning play an integral part of advancing national sustainable development agenda and have the potential to coordinate national efforts in this regard, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is instrumental in maintaining key linkages at international level. However Botswana will be best served by a dedicated sustainable development coordinating institution established at the appropriate highest level with a greater degree of autonomy necessary to drive and compel policy formulation, integration and implementation to ensure delivery in all the three pillars of sustainable development at national level. A national response towards developing institutional arrangements, policy and planning which addresses green economy and sustainable development will encapsulate the following:
i. Assessing the level of uptake of sustainable development principles
ii. Coordination of efforts to link environmental management responsibilities to those of the economic focus and the social services provision
iii. Determination of the strength in terms of authority, status, resources and capacity of institutions to service the national sustainable development expectations
iv. Setting up oversight structures to enforce the agreed protocols
v. Strengthening MEA coordination and implementation
vi. Reconciliation of national functions across agencies implementing policy and planning decisions for poverty alleviation, climate change adaptation, economic diversification and sustainable development
vii. Assessment of performance in implementation of national development plans with a view to integrate programmes directed at advancement of energy, transport, agriculture, water, waste in addressing the green economy themes; and
viii. Empowerment drives targeting local authorities to consciously take up sustainable development initiatives.
4.0 Outcome of Rio and Means of Implementation.
4.1 Rio will need to raise the level of ambition and convince the world through tangible evidence of a renewed political commitment to sustainable development; such could be demonstrated by acceptance and implementation of agreements to tackle the challenges of sustainable development and an action oriented outcome document which has been developed in a participatory way, contains specific commitments to action at global and national levels, acknowledges the challenges confronting countries and communities as they strive for sustainable development, provides clear direction for continued international action and hence enables a move from theory to action with practical solutions and coherent institutional structures to carry this forward.
4.2 While individual countries have the primary responsibility for their national development through mobilization of domestic resources and innovative financing, this does not absolve the developed partners from fulfilling their commitments as well as new ones to support the implementation ofsustainabledevelopmentgoalsaswellastheinternationallyagreeddevelopment goals including the MDGs.
4.3 Botswana believes that there is relevance in undertaking a thorough review of internationally agreed development goals including MDGs', and all resolutions and recommendations adopted at international fora since Rio 1992 with a view to get a full overview of which of these metrics and decisions are still valid and require a consolidated follow-up. Consideration should furthermore be given to 'upgrade' the current MDGs to a 'next-generation' set of Sustainable Development Goals.
4.4 Botswanawouldliketoseeastrongerscience-baseddecision-makingprocesswithin the context of sustainable development and hence would welcome a debate on the possibilities and merits of establishing an Intergovernmental Panel on Sustainable Development.
4.5 Political commitment requires translation of support into increased and targeted resources to achieve sustainable development. National budgets, Official Development Assistance, the private sector, debt relief and new financing instruments and architecture all play a role whereby predictable, well targeted ODA can serve as a catalyst for mobilising resources and finance for sustainable development and new financing mechanisms will need to be developed in support of sustainable development objectives. In this regard, the special needs of vulnerable economies and economies in transition including Middle Income Countries should be taken into account when assessing needs and proposing intervention measures.
4.6 Alongside creation of institutional mechanisms and human capacities that will enable effective multi-sectoral decision-making across the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainable development, the involvement of the private sector is key to providing impetus for the realisation of sustainable development goals including internationally agreed development goals and MDGs.
4.7 The above would not be possible without an agreement on an effective, efficient and flexible intergovernmental structure that addresses the fast-moving challenges of achieving sustainable development. As such, Botswana is confident that Rio 2012 will act on the unique opportunity for us to make the case that a green economy can help us generate a practical policy framework towards economic and societal revival. As such Rio will need to provide a framework for bringing sustainable development into core economic decision-making through a process of broad stakeholder participation and working towards the same common goals-that of the needs of people and the planet.