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Valuing, accounting systems vital

Botswana has made strides in valuing and accounting for ecosystem service through the World Bank-led Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) global partnership programme.

That was said by Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) steering committee chairperson, Mr Kelapile Ndobana during an interview on the sideline of the Natural Capital Accounting workshop in Palapye recently.

Mr Ndobana said the workshop, which was held under the theme: Natural capital accounting; A tool for providing evidence-based data to inform policy decisions, was the first of its kind in Botswana in bringing together various stakeholders from government, the private sector and non-governmental organisations.

He noted that all these institutions, directly or indirectly, had a bearing on the production or use of data generated by various n natural capital accounts.

Mr Ndobana said there were three established natural capital accounts namely: water, energy and minerals as well as a framework for compiling macro-economic indicators for sustainable development.

He said the workshop was specifically meant to gain insight on how the accounts were generated and more importantly, to identify areas of close collaboration with the NCA technical teams.

He said it was prudent for stakeholders to appreciate what natural capital accounting was and why it was a valuable tool for policy makers in the public or private sector.

Mr Ndobana said Botswana was endowed with a variety of natural resources, especially minerals, and a rich biodiversity which had significantly contributed to the country’s sustained economic growth and socio-economic development.

“It is common knowledge that at independence in 1966, agriculture was a mainstay of the economy contributing about 43 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), on the other hand, sectors such as water and electricity at the time contributed only 0.6 per cent to the total GDP as the country was predominantly rural,” he said.

He highlighted that the post-independence discovery of minerals, especially diamonds, transformed the economic landscape of Botswana, moving from one of the poorest countries at independence to the current upper-middle-income economy.

Mr Ndobana said it was notable that minerals, water, wildlife and other natural resources were by nature finite and exhaustible, therefore exploiting natural resources may provide short-term revenues, but could undermine the ability of the natural environments to continue providing essential ecosystem services if not well managed.

He said the stock of ecosystems, which included renewable resources such as water, forest, farmland and non-renewables like minerals provided benefits to the country as well as people in the form of flows of goods and services in the economy over time.

“In most rural communities, poor people are heavily dependent on natural capital such as farm land and other products and services of the natural environment hence information on the stocks and flows of natural capital is useful for policymaking such as in designing poverty eradication strategies and programmes,” Mr Ndobana said.

He stated that there was need to sustainably manage the fragile ecosystems that the country spearheaded during the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa in 2012, in which 10 heads of state and government agreed to promote natural capital accounting in the respective countries and share best practices.

Mr Ndobana said it was through targeted stakeholder consultations at political and planning levels that decisions were made to prioritise water, tourism, energy and mineral accounts, with a view to subsequently compile macro-economic indicators of sustainable development.

He noted that the initiative had been going since 2012, adding that natural capital accounting had been included in National Development Plan 11. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Lebalang Ditlhobolo

Location : PALAPYE

Event : Workshop

Date : May 28 Mon,2018

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