Combating land degradation and desertification in Botswana

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1 Combating land degradation and desertification in Botswana Dr. M. Manthe Tsuaneng Director, Department of Forestry and Range Resources Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism 1

2 Introduction Botswana is a land locked country situated in the central plateau of southern Africa & km % of the land is National Parks & Forest Reserves. Generally flat with gentle undulations and occasional outcrops. Climate falls within the semiarid zone with the extreme southwestern part falling under the arid zone. Rainfall range from mm Ecosystem prone to drought and mainly marginal. Botswana can be divided into (4) major zones, the Hardveld, the Sandveld, the Lacustrine (e,g Makgadikgadi pans) and the Alluvial (e.g Okavango delta). The major plant communities found in Botswana include shrub savannah, tree savannah, closed tree savannah, aquatic grassland, dry deciduous forest, mophane veld tree savannah and woodland. The land cover is dominated by savannah (mixed tree and grass systems) of various forms. Key Obligations Botswana signed and ratified the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in 1995 and 1996 respectively. The country adopts the principle of bottom up approach in tackling desertification that is emphasized by the UNCCD, because people at grassroots level deal directly with impacts of land degradation on daily basis. The convention calls for the involvement of all stakeholders in decision making processes when policies, plans, programs and strategies are developed and implemented. As party to the convention, Botswana developed National Action Programme to Combat Desertification as required by the UNCCD. The NAP was completed in

3 National Action Programme The National Action Programme (NAP) outlines strategies and activities to be undertaken to meet the objectives of the UNCCD. Prepared pursuant to Article 10 of the UNCCD which calls for NAP as the Convention implementation tool. The NAP is a product of stakeholder consultations and therefore articulates their contributions as captured through the different stakeholder consultation fora. NAP Operational Objectives To mobilize resources to implement the National Action Programme. To undertake research on processes of drought and desertification. To facilitate capacity building for stakeholders involved in combating desertification and mitigating effects of drought. To facilitate establishment of alternative livelihoods projects particularly for people living in marginal and degraded areas. 3

4 NAP Operational Objectives Cont To create awareness on the causes and effects of desertification and drought. To coordinate interventions and approaches on desertification and drought among different stakeholders. To control and prevent land degradation. Efforts made to combat desertification Participatory process in the implementation of the convention All policies and programs including NAP were formulated and developed through consultation with relevant stakeholders. On annual basis there are commemorative activities that significantly involve a variety of stakeholders. The World Desertification Day, World Environment day, National Tree Planting Day and others. Through public awareness promotion, alternative livelihoods options are made available for adoption by the communities. Stakeholder participation is enhanced through Forum for Integrated Resource (FIRM) and Local Level monitoring participatory approaches. 4

5 Efforts cont. Legislative and institutional frameworks in place to support UNCCD There are supportive legal instruments in place aimed at improving the management and conservation of forest and range resources. a) Forest Act of 1968 b) Agricultural Resources Conservation Act of 1974 c) Herbage preservation Act of 1977 d) Harvesting of veld products regulation of 2006 e) Draft National Forest Policy f) Community Based Natural Resources Management Policy g) The Fire Management Policy is currently in the formulation processes Mainstreaming NAP objectives into the National Development Plan - NDP 10 Measures for rehabilitation of degraded lands Nurseries (20 nurseries producing half a million trees per year) Woodlots and plantations (52 woodlots each 5 ha) Sand dune stabilization Reclamation of gullies and dongas Prevention and amelioration of degraded areas 5

6 Early warning systems for mitigating the effects of drought Range Assessment Fire detection System CHALLENGES Limited community knowledge Limited Capacity human & infrastructure The need to increase agricultural land at the expense of forest reserves Climate change 6

7 THANK YOU 7

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