BOTSWANA
 

Statement 

by

HIS HONOUR LT. GENERAL SERETSE KHAMA IAN KHAMA 
VICE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA 

to the World Summit on Sustainable Development

Johannesburg, South Africa
2nd September 2002


Mr. President

1. Ten years ago at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, we the international community committed itself to cooperate in the promotion of a peoplecentered development process aimed at securing a global environment that is conducive to sustainable economic growth and development. Today, the optimism of Rio has not been realised. The world has witnessed unacceptable levels of poverty, disease, economic stagnation, environmental degradation and many other problems caused in part by natural disasters and in part by poor governance. These conditions have deprived multitudes of people the basic necessities of human life and dignity.

2. In response to all these challenges, the international community convened a number of Summits and Conferences, which adopted action programmes with a direct bearing on sustainable development. It is my hope, that the Johannesburg Declaration and Plan of Action will refocus world attention on key priority areas to ensure sustainable development.

3. The momentum generated by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992, marked a new global approach to sustainable development. It played a catalytic role, which influenced Botswana to adopt an integrated approach to development underpinned by the three pillars of sustainable development, namely; economic development, social development and environmental protection. This transformation involved the sustainable use of natural resources so as to ensure that sustainable development is consistent with economic growth.

4. In Botswana, we have declared poverty eradication a central focus of our National Development Planning Framework. Botswana's long term strategy, "Vision 2016: Towards Prosperity For All" - pledges the eradication of poverty by 2016.

5. In this regard, we have to recognise that actions taken at national level alone cannot be sustained in the absence of a supportive global environment. Such an environment must incorporate an appreciation of the critical role played by trade, finance, investment, technology and Official Development Assistance. I am however encouraged that poverty eradication features prominently in the draft plan of implementation which we will be adopting during this Summit.

6. Since Bali, the international community has been grappling with the difficult issue of financing for sustainable development. We cannot overlook the imperfections in the financial and global trading systems, which-impede development in low-income countries. In discussing financing, we should not merely restrict our agenda to issues of development assistance. Aid alone, is not a sufficient condition to address problems of development. We should give due regard to other innovations that can generate more financial resources.

7. In our view, Mr. President, these should include greater market access, technology transfer, enhanced Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), combating HIV/AIDS and capacity building for developing countries. But these have to be matched by appropriate policies and conducive environment, and governance that is responsive to basic freedoms. To this end, with commitments from the Monterry Consensus, the international community has another opportunity to pursue sustainable development efforts and to take Agenda 21 forward.

8. The Member States of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and Africa as a whole appreciate the support extended to a number of countries in the continent through the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Such support will contribute to enhanced economic growth prospects in Africa and towards fulfillment of sustainable development challenges. We also appreciate the support the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) has received. NEPAD recognises that Africa's development problems and challenges can only be addressed successfully in partnership with international cooperating partners.

9. At Rio, none of us had anticipated that HIV/AIDS would become a global challenge of such magnitude. HIV/AIDS is a tragedy that is preventable by humans and therefore one the Summit must address resolutely. Let us seize this opportunity while we are here to make tangible commitments to reverse the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS in Africa and elsewhere in the world through all possible interventions. We must redouble our efforts to meet the agreed targets as set out in the United Nations General Assembly Special Session Declaration on HIV/AIDS. The Global Fund established at this Session must be provided with adequate resources and made accessible to all affected countries.

10. Despite the setbacks resulting from the many challenges we face, including HIV/AIDS pandemic, Botswana remains committed to the success of the critical conventions that address the need for a sustainable use of the Earth's environmental resources. To this end, Botswana is actively implementing all three Rio Conventions namely; the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought. We have also become party to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance for which the Okavango Delta has been designated as our first Ramsar site.

11. In a deliberate move to ensure the protection and conservation of biodiversity, Botswana has set aside seventeen per cent (17%) of its land territory as national parks, game and forest reserves.

12. In Botswana water is a scarce resource, and a very critical economic, social and environmental resource. Access to safe clean water is a basic human right. The Government of Botswana is currently reviewing the National Water Master Plan that was completed in 1992. The Water Master Plan provides for development and better management strategies for water resources in the country. Achieving the Millennium development goals of access to safe drinking water and sanitation remain key elements of poverty eradication and disease prevention.

13. The Government of Botswana recognises the complementary role of other stakeholders in development as identified by Agenda 21. The private sector, community based organisations, the youth and other members of civil society are vital partners for sustainable development.

14. We must at this Summit set ourselves clear, specific and time-bound targets on strategic areas of importance in the economic, social and environmental arena. We must then monitor and review our progress, reorient our actions and priorities in order to address the emerging global challenges.

Mr. President,

15. Botswana is fully committed to the implementation of sustainable development programmes through Agenda 21 processes. We endeavour in this regard, to deploy our energies towards the realisation of Agenda 21 and the dawn of a progressive and prosperous community of nations living within a rich Biodiversity in a clean and protected environment.

16. I thank you for your attention.