Government and Stakeholder in Botswana Committed to Strengthening Participatory Environmental Governance

More than 80 participants from various sectors of government and diverse stakeholder groups kicked off a 1-year UNITAR supported project in Botswana on 9 September 2009 in Gaborone, Botswana. The project is entitled Preparing a National Profile and Action Plan on the Implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration. Principle 10 was adopted at the Rio Summit in 1992 and seeks to strengthen stakeholder participation in environmental decision-making through three main pillars: access to justice, access to information and public participation.

The event was opened by Mr. Stevie Monna, Director of Environment, Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism of the Government of Botswana who referred to the importance of the project for strengthening environmental governance in Botswana.  An important objective of the meeting was to develop a common workplan to prepare a National Profile on in the implementation of Principle 10.  Reflecting on the deliberations during the day, Mrs. Ina Kanjii from the Government Implementation Coordination Office of the President’s Office stated that “often our office talks to people, suggesting what to do; today we are listening, consulting and engaging in a participatory approach; this is a good experience’.

The project commences at an appropriate moment in time in Botswana’s history, where the country is working together to develop a common vision for Botswana 2016: Fulfilling the Needs of the Citizen. This common vision is fully compatible with ensuring access to information, public participation in decision-making affecting the environments and people’s living conditions, and where necessary seeking redress in justice, both in formal law and in customary law.  The project will also be embedded within in the national collaboration of UN agencies in Botswana to “Deliver as One” which seeks to foster a common positive impact of UN projects on the life of the people in Botswana.

As a contribution to capacity development to strengthen access to information and public participation in environmental decision-making in Africa, UNITAR is providing support to three pilot countries in Africa in 2009-2010 to develop a National Profile, set priorities and develop an Action Plan to strengthen national capacities to implement Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration. These countries are Mali, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The pilot projects have the objective to catalyze a multi-stakeholder process that assesses existing capacities at national and local levels and to identify opportunities for targeted capacity development.

For further information please contact the National Focal Point for the project Mrs. Arabang Kanego (akanego@gov.bw) or visit: http://www.unitar.org/egp/principle-10-botswana.

Environmental Governance Programme contact: envgov@unitar.org