Dubai — A strong contingent of the Botswana team at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates is more than ready to stand its ground and negotiate for better deals in all the thematic areas that will be under discussion, says Minister for Environment and Tourism, Ms Philda Kereng.
Adaptation, Just Transition, mitigation, and Global stock-taking are among key thematic areas that will be discussed at COP28.
President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi will lead the Botswana team that comprises Ministers, Members of Parliament and other senior government officials.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the highest negotiating body consisting of about 198 countries that have ratified the convention and are referred to as Parties to the Convention. The body's primary aim is to prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
Also on board is the private sector which includes among others, First National Bank Botswana, ABSA, and National Development Bank, who are critical stakeholders in climate change issues.
"We have also brought along with us some of the youth innovators that have ventured into green technology and will showcase their products at the Botswana pavilion here at COP28," She said.
Furthermore, Minister Kereng relayed that the Botswana delegation had brought green technology videos from the Delta showcasing how young people have adapted to the use of solar energy as part of the country's spirited effort to reduce carbon emissions.
Botswana's presence and active participation especially at the level of the Presidency according to Ms Kereng was critical so that the country become part of the solution to the many problems bedevilling the climate.
"We want for instance to make sure that Botswana's narrative on the notion to stop mining altogether by some people is well articulated," she said.
Also, Ms Kereng said that the conference would deal with the issue of funding especially the P100 billion that had been pledged by the developing world but was not forthcoming.
Ms Kereng said Botswana would want for instance the Loss and Damage Fund by the UNFCCC to be not only accessible but to be prompt so that victims of the harsh climate conditions could be assisted promptly.
Such a form of assistance she stated should be designed such that middle-income economies like Botswana were also able to access it and not just small island states as was currently the case.
Minister of Minerals and Energy, Mr Lefoko Moagi shared Ms Kereng's sentiments and underscored that as a party to the convention on climate change Botswana was exercising caution in her mines to guard against excessive emissions through the use of technologies.
"That is why you will not find huge bellowing smokes being emitted from our mines," he said today at the ongoing COP28.
He said the same modus operandi would be used in critical minerals that have become a craze around the world.
The country, he said, will through parliament amend the Mines and Minerals Act so that mining companies will be coerced by the law to set aside money to undertake rehabilitation at the closure of the mines as opposed to the status where some companies leave gaping holes without any form of rehabilitation, a thing he stated worked against environment-friendly ethos.
On just energy transition, Mr Moagi was of the view that countries that use monies accrued from mining should not be ordered to close shop forthwith.
"These are minerals for the development of our people and foregoing them based on carbon emissions will not be a good idea," he said.
The country's narrative, he said was that Botswana and other nations that use their mineral resources for development must be given a chance and capacitated on the use of green technologies that could help reduce carbon emissions.
That being the case, Minister Moagi told BOPA that Botswana had continued to make great strides in green technologies such as the use of solar and wind energy.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Lemogang Kwape said as a developing nation, Botswana's participation at COP28 was critical as the country was also affected by the effects of climate change in critical areas such as agriculture and health.
The fact that Botswana had committed 40 per cent of its land to conservation according to Minister Kwape spoke to the country's commitment to a conducive eco-system.
As a Party to the Convention on Climate Change Minister Kwape said Botswana was ready to learn and share its experiences with fellow member states to make the world a better place for all.