Not only has climate change deteriorated natural landscapes in Botswana, it has also plunged rural livelihoods in poverty.
Researcher and Programs Director at Kalahari Research and Conservation (KRC) Dr Moses Selebatso says the use of grass, wood and mud for housing structures in some parts of the country contributes towards deforestation, and even extinction of some tree species.
He was speaking last week at a COP-27 session on Financing Nature Based Solutions in Egypt. He said it is time for government to heed calls for technological and economic support for Nature Based Solutions (NBS) in Botswana.
Dr Selebatso said that climate change effects are rampant as a result of the footprint of human population that is associated with harvesting for food, as well as grass and wood, which automatically supress climate change effects.
He says they have realised that Botswana does not get a lot of support due to her upper middle income status. He is also of the view that government-funded projects could use NGOs for implementation, especially that the private sector has the potential to support climate projects.
“Governments should be aware that there is a call for funding communities to protect natural resources, because there is plenty of natural resources in Botswana but we do not have money to potentially protect resources,” Dr Selebatso said.
He added that financing communities should come on board to finance and maintain the beautiful landscapes in Botswana.
Dr Selebatso said that communities are trying to survive poverty, as they depend on natural resources such as firewood, hunting and harvesting plants for food. This alternatively pressures Governments to rezone some of the conservation areas.
Therefore, enough financing based solutions could open opportunities to create jobs and create solar energy electricity, as well as making proper structures for the needy because some buildings that are made out of grass and mud cannot survive storms.
He applauded Botswana for trying to conserve the environment and landscapes, noting that some land has been transformed into livestock areas, and over 40 percent of the land in the country is protected for conservation, with 17 percent reserved for parks and game reserves.
(This article has been published with support from MESHA/IDRC grant for coverage of COP-27 by African science journalists)