Botswana’s Minister urges support to assist, mitigate effects of climate change

1 October 2013

More needs to be done to assist vulnerable countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, to cope with the effects of climate change, Botswana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation told the United Nations General Assembly today.

In his statement to the high-level debate, which concludes today, Phandu T. C. Skelemani called for financial support, technology transfer and capacity building to be generously extended to middle income countries most adverse to climate change, such as Botswana.

“My delegation believes that more needs to be done particularly to assist vulnerable countries in semi-arid and arid areas and landlocked and transit countries, such as my own, which are also susceptible to drought and desertification,” Minister Skelemani said.

He noted some of the manifestations of climate change, such as extreme temperatures, water shortages, land degradation, desertification and persistent drought.

“Climate change also adversely impacts on health and food security,” Mr. Skelemani added.

In 2012, Botswana hosted the Summit for Sustainability in Africa, resulting in a Declaration that urged Governments to contribute to sustainable economic growth, and improvements in social capital and human wellbeing are integrated into developments and business practice.

In addition to climate change, Mr. Skelemani noted that Botswana remains committed to making progress on the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to contribute to a sustainable development agenda for the years after the MDG deadline of 2015 is reached.

“In this regards, utmost priority is given to the implementation of poverty eradication programmes,” the Minister said, particularly those focused on vulnerable groups, such as women, youth, the elderly and people with disabilities.

The status of women is directly linked to food security. Women comprise nearly 50 per cent of the agricultural labour force in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

In his statement, Mr. Skelemani also spoke about the situations in Syria, Egypt and South Sudan, among others.

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