The Sustainable Development Goals in Botswana
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Botswana:
12 September 2023
Halfway to the SDGs: Botswana youth call for action to turn the tide
The United Nations Office in Botswana convened various consultations during which youth, people with disabilities and various other groups offered inputs on what the country needs to do to fast track the implementation of the SDGs. The consultations came ahead of the 2023 SDG Summit and sought public opinion on how to accelerate attainment of the SDGs in Botswana. The 2023 SDG Summit will be convened on 18-19 September 2023 in New York, during the United Nations General Assembly high-level week. The Summit seeks to assess the progress made in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development and its 17 SDGs. Only seven years remain until 2030 and this year is the halfway mark in the race towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Progress is indeed off-track, as the world grapples with reversing development progress due to climate change, conflicts, the direct health effects and indirect social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SDG Summit, therefore, comes at an opportune time to reflect and review progress made thus far, with the imminent reality that the promise of achieving Agenda 2030 is at stake. The UN held stakeholder consultations with government, youth and young people, people with disabilities to gather public opinion on what Botswana needs to do to fast track the implementation of the SDGs, identify high impact initiatives that can lead to tangible change, and to discuss key commitments which the country can present at the Summit. Over 200 young people and youth were reached through the consultations. UN Resident Coordinator in Botswana, Mr. Zia Choudhury noted that the world is severely off track to achieve the SDGs by 2030 not moving forward. The SDGs were adopted in 2015. Since then, significant progress has been made in poverty eradication and combating unemployment. But Covid-19 hit the world, the geopolitical challenges and climate disasters. “The SDG Summit will aim to put the SDGs back on course. These dialogues provide an opportunity for government, civil society, major groups, and other stakeholders to share concrete suggestions on how to get the SDGs back on track for everyone, everywhere, all at once,” Choudhury said. The consultations suggested that the UN work with them and others to implement solutions such as: Inclusive participation - need to give disadvantaged groups - including women and girls - a seat at the table. We know that for any policy to generate change, participation is a must to ensure that the lived experiences and recommendations of affected communities are heard. Young people need to be invited to the decision-making table, where they can contribute valuable insights and innovations. Building a human rights economy - recognize that economic growth on its own will not redress structural injustices or fulfil people’s human rights. Our economies must deliver better results for people and our planet. Economic decisions, such as public budgets and investment choices, should aim to redress barriers to equality and be guided by human rights norms and standards. Promoting sustainable environmental management and benefit from natural resources Improve oversight bodies and hold leaders accountable. Adhere to and respect human rights – raising awareness about human rights. Working with the government to improve access and rights for people with disabilities and linking them with social protection tools. Take bold ACTION for people and planet – climate action. Make funding available for SDG actions. Reduce inequalities by providing equal opportunity for all. Increase access for young people and improve activism - young people also have the power to act and mobilise others. Youth activism is on the rise the world over, bolstered by broader connectivity and access to social media. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on Member states to put forward national commitments speaking to SDG Acceleration at the Summit, as well as concrete actions to ensure an enabling environment for developing countries to participate in activities in the global economy and benefit from green and digital technologies, and the identification of transformative high impact initiatives.
1 of 5
30 August 2023
Botswana Agriculture Joint Sector Review Validated
FAO and its partners have called for Botswana to increase its agricultural productivity by fostering sustained agricultural surpluses and integrating the agricultural sector into the domestic and global economy. This came during the Joint Sector Review held by the Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat and the Food and Agriculture Organization through the European Union-funded project, Support Towards the Operationalization of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy (STOSAR), to evaluate the performance of the agricultural sector and fostering mutual accountability among stakeholders. The Need for Increased Agricultural Productivity The JSR's comprehensive findings highlighted the pressing need for Botswana to increase its agricultural productivity. By so doing, the nation could achieve the transformation necessary for attaining food security and creating employment opportunities for its citizens. The report emphasized that agricultural productivity plays a pivotal role in elevating the sector's overall performance and positively impacting the economy. By engaging stakeholders, fostering mutual accountability, and heeding the recommendations outlined in the review report, Botswana is primed to achieve its ambitious agricultural development goals to unlock its agricultural potential. The key findings of the JSR review that was carried out by Dr Howard Sigwele emphasized the need for a collaborative approach towards increasing agricultural productivity, fostering sustained agricultural surpluses, and integrating the agricultural sector into the domestic and global economy to achieve agricultural transformation in Botswana. Speaking at the JSR validation workshop held in Gaborone recently, Honourable Fidelis Molao, Botswana's Minister of Agriculture, commended the JSR process and its outcomes. Honourable Molao said, “The Joint Sector Review is a critical step towards evidence-based planning, and implementation and advocates for greater participation and inclusiveness in terms of planning, designing and implementation of agricultural projects and programmes.” The Minister also underscored the JSR's significance in realizing Botswana's commitments under the Malabo Declaration, which aims to achieve food security, foster agricultural transformation, and generate employment opportunities. Also speaking at the JSR validation workshop, Mr Duncan Samikwa, a Senior Programme Officer in the Directorate of Food Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) in the SADC Secretariat emphasized the significance of JSRs in holding stakeholders accountable for their commitments under various cooperation agreements that include the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). He said, “the JSR serves as a valuable tool to assess the effectiveness of national agriculture policies and institutions and measure the realization of their intended results and outcomes.” The objectives of the JSR were to identify capacity weaknesses, enhance mutual accountability, and develop strategic action plans to drive agricultural growth and development. This critical initiative has set the stage for evidence-based planning and decision-making, propelling Botswana's agriculture towards a transformational path. The workshop brought together stakeholders from the private sector, farmers’ associations, State-Owned Organizations, and local development organizations to assess the sector's performance and gather their input for policy design and formulation.
1 of 5
30 August 2023
Botswana Opens its First Public Radiotherapy Centre, With IAEA Support
Botswana has established its first public radiotherapy centre – an important step in providing accessible health services for its people – with the help of the IAEA and assistance through the IAEA’s Rays of Hope initiative. “The radiotherapy centre is the first of its kind in Botswana. It will help address challenges in cancer treatment in the country and the region and reduce government spending in health care for cancer patients, while minimizing patient waiting time and improving health outcomes,” said Edwin Dikoloti, Botswana’s Minister of Health. Dikoloti officially opened the centre, which is in the Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital in Gaborone, on 27 July 2023. “This centre will serve patients from the region like those from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique and others from the rest of the world. It is only in Botswana that such technology is availed to both the private and public health care sectors, as well as for teaching and research purposes,” he added. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, together with President Macky Sall of Senegal, launched the Rays of Hope initiative in 2022. “The opening of Botswana’s first public radiotherapy centre exemplifies what we can achieve through Rays of Hope,” Director General Grossi said. “This life-saving centre is a milestone in our mission to improve global equity in access to cancer treatment.” Rays of Hope aims to close the cancer treatment gap in low- and middle-income countries by improving the availability of radiotherapy services, medical imaging and nuclear medicine. The IAEA has six decades of experience in helping countries fight cancer. Through Rays of Hope, the IAEA supports national efforts to mobilize resources and to develop partnerships that will promote safe, sustainable and equitable cancer treatment for all. Around the world, cancer is placing a heavy burden on human health and on national health services. In 2020, there were more than 19 million new cases of cancer and 10 million deaths globally. These figures are expected to grow over the next two decades. In Botswana, around 2800 new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed each year by 2030. Botswana and the IAEA The treatment room at the new radiotherapy centre at the Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) in Gaborone will be key to Botswana’s efforts to combat cancer. (Photo: SKMTH) Since becoming an IAEA Member State in 2002, Botswana has progressed in the peaceful, safe and secure use of nuclear technology in various areas, including radiotherapy. Five national IAEA technical cooperation projects have been carried out to support the establishment of the new radiotherapy centre. Building on previous support received from the IAEA, Botswana joined the Rays of Hope initiative last year. “Botswana’s short- to medium- term needs were analysed, and high impact, cost effective and sustainable actions have been prioritized, focusing on human resources, procurement, and safety and security support,” said Hua Liu, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation at the IAEA. Tumisang Healy, the local Member of Parliament, along with high-level officials and representatives from local authorities, attended the opening of the new radiotherapy centre. IAEA support has focused on human resource capacity building – in particular long-term training for personnel to operate the centre, including radiation oncologists, medical physicists, oncology nurses and radiotherapy technologists. In addition, IAEA expert services have helped Botswana to develop bunkers (shielded rooms) to house treatment equipment in line with approved international radiation safety standards. The IAEA has assisted in the development of specifications for the procurement of equipment, and in commissioning and acceptance testing. Together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the IAEA is providing support for the development of Botswana’s first National Cancer Control Programme. The draft programme is expected to be completed in October 2023.
1 of 5
22 June 2023
Combatting hate speech is a shared responsibility
Addressing and countering hate speech requires a holistic approach, mobilizing society as a whole, United Nations Botswana Resident Coordinator, Zia Choudhury has said. Choudhury was speaking at an event to commemorate the 2nd International Day for Countering Hate Speech, which is officially observed on 18 June. The UN in Botswana United Nations in Botswana in partnership with University of Botswana, MISA Botswana and Botswana Editors Forum hosted the commemoration of the International Day for Countering Hate Speech. “Hate speech and its consequences goes against fundamental UN values. It also undermines the UN Charter's core principles and objectives, such as respect for human dignity, equality and peace,” he said. Choudhury said the International Day encourages everyone to do their part by identifying hate speech early, confronting it directly and halting it immediately. Furthermore, a UN Strategy and Plan of Action on the issue “offer us a firm step in the right direction.” Launched three years ago by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, these initiatives recognize hate speech as a precursor to atrocity crimes, including genocide and crimes against humanity. They also call for addressing the root causes and drivers. “Education initiatives, positive speech campaigns, research to understand and address root causes, and efforts to promote inclusion and equal rights all have an important role. Religious, community and business leaders can all play their part,” Choudhury added. In his message for the Day, Minister for State President, Hon. Kabo N. S. Morwaeng said the impact of hate speech on communities and individuals can be devastating. The world has over time seen and experienced exploitation of the vulnerable through violence, exclusion, discrimination and in worse cases wars. Today more than ever before, we are faced with the daunting challenge of ensuring that we strongly advocate for unifying and building our communities and societies, fully cognizant that its scale and impact are amplified by powerful technologies of communication. Through technology, the spread of divisive rhetoric and hate ideologies can go viral on a global scale in an instant. Morwaeng said, “in the digital age, I encourage all relevant stakeholders to support a new generation of digital citizens, empowered to recognize, reject and stand up to hate speech. I take this opportunity to underscore that my Office remains available to provide support to all relevant stakeholders, and to work with the United Nations to address and counter hate speech in line with the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech.” He further called on civil society and human rights defenders, the private sector, media corporations, faith leaders, educators, youth, and all affected by hate speech to understand that they all have the moral duty to speak out firmly against instances of hate speech and reject any calls to violence. HOW TO DEAL WITH HATE SPEECH Hate speech occurs in all societies, whether offline or online. It can sometimes be hard to assess when a comment is meant as hate speech – especially when expressed in the virtual world. It can also feel overwhelming to try to deal with obviously hateful content. However, there are many ways you can take a stand, even if you are not personally the victim of hate speech. And you can make a difference. The following tips may be helpful. PAUSE Refrain from making any hateful comments yourself and/or relaying such content. Whether online or offline, we should all act responsibly to stop the spread of hate and misinformation. FACT-CHECK To detect false and biased information, including hate speech propaganda, be sure to check the content’s origin with the help of search engines, factchecking tools and other reliable sources. EDUCATE You can help raise awareness of hate speech -- online or offline – simply by engaging with your family and friends in conversations about how hateful content can harm societies. CHALLENGE You can undermine hateful content with positive messages that spread tolerance, equality and truth in defense of those being targeted by hate. SUPPORT Taking a public stand for, and extending solidarity to, people who are the targets of hate speech demonstrates that rejecting hate is the responsibility of every individual. REPORT Most online platforms and communities have rules to keep user discussions respectful and will let you easily report hate messages to administrators or moderators.
1 of 5
14 June 2023
UN Country Team Mission to Dukwi-a Visit to the Local community and to the Refugee camp
Dukwi Camp is home to over 800 refugees. The United Nations is striving to leverage and support the Government of Botswana's efforts to protect and assist refugees in the country on key issues and ensure we leave no one behind.
1 of 5
1 / 11