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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 6th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

UN-SUPPORTED RENEWABLE ENERGY CENTRE FOR WEST AFRICA OPENS IN CAPE VERDE.

A new regional centre to help develop the renewable energy potential for West Africa opened today in Cape Verde, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which is supporting the facility, said.

The Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), a specialized agency of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is based in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde. It is supported by UNIDO and the Governments of Austria, Cape Verde and Spain.


It will help develop renewable energy and energy efficiency markets in West Africa, formulate policy, build capacity and quality assurance mechanisms, as well design financing plans. The centre will also implement demonstration projects with potential for regional scaling up.

“The current energy systems in the ECOWAS region are failing to support the growth prospects of the over 262 million inhabitants, especially the needs of the poor. The creation of ECREEE is a central milestone in efforts to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies and services in the region,” said Yoshiteru Uramoto, Deputy to UNIDO’s Director-General.

“Investing in renewable energy systems and introducing energy efficient technologies will contribute to the region’s economic and social development without harming the environment,” he added.

It is estimated that a total of 23,000 megawatts of large and small hydroelectric potential is concentrated in five ECOWAS member States, of which only 16 per cent has been exploited.

Traditional biomass is already the main source of energy for the poor majority and accounts for 80 per cent of total energy consumed for domestic purposes. There are also considerable wind, tidal, ocean thermal and wave energy resources available. The region has vast solar energy potential.

UNIDO has a number of projects in Africa where renewable energy sources like small hydro, biomass gasification, wind energy, solar thermal and photovoltaic energy are used to promote the development of small industries, particularly in rural areas, that contribute to growth and poverty reduction.

The agency has also developed an energy programme for 18 countries in West Africa, including all ECOWAS member States, funded by the Global Environment Facility. ECREEE will become the main implementing agency of the $150 million programme that will focus on the energy access agenda and energy efficiency in key sectors of the economy.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 9th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

GENERAL ASSEMBLY AGREED TO HOLD TOP-LEVEL MEETING ON AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT IN SEPTEMBER.

The General Assembly today agreed to convene a high-level meeting this September, on the eve of its annual general debate, on how to better meet the development needs of Africa, which is struggling to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the target date of 2015.

In a resolution adopted without a vote, Assembly members agreed both to hold the meeting on 22 September and that it should result in a formal political declaration on the issue.

The text calls for participation at the highest possible political level, including heads of State and government, and it also asks Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to submit in advance a comprehensive report, including recommendations, on African development needs.

The meeting “will constitute a significant event that will review the implementation of all commitments made to and by Africa in order to comprehensively address the special development needs of the continent,” the Assembly said in the resolution.

* * *

COMMUNITIES NEED MORE SOPHISTICATED METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES, SAYS WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION (WMO).

Governments, businesses and the general public need more sophisticated information from their national weather services if they are to prepare adequately against natural disasters and better adapt to the threats posed by climate change, the head of the United Nations meteorological agency says.

Michel Jarraud, the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), told a workshop yesterday in Cape Verde that there is “a vital need to better understand the linkage between environmental protection and sustainable development.”

Mr. Jarraud noted that the global economy had become increasingly sensitive to the fluctuations of weather, climate and water phenomena. Climate change, the growing competition for water, ozone depletion and the impact of desertification all require countries to have access to the best available information.

“There are also raised expectations and demands for newer and more sophisticated types of services by most sectors of the economy, all of which are highly relevant to your respective societies,” he said.

The workshop, help on Sal Island on Cape Verde, runs until Friday and is aimed at helping Portuguese-speaking countries develop greater partnerships between government and civil society on environmental and climate issues.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 11th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Commission on Sustainable Development Is It A Moribund UN Body Or Will It Be Revived Because It Is Needed After The Re-Engagement Hoopla That Happens Now At Bali?

Our Website was established in order to help create the awareness that there is no other development possible – not in the developing countries and not in the developed countries – that is not SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

We had experience starting from before the Brundtland Commission of 1987, we were engaged at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, and we wrote the “Promptbook on Sustainable Development for The World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg 2002. In short we are strong believers that if the UN CSD were not created in 1994, we would have had to create it now.

Why that? Simply, because as it is crystal clear now that the development of tomorrow cannot go on by rules of the development of yesterday – and this was given, right today, full global recognition in Oslo, when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the scientists of the IPCC, and to Al Gore – whatever will come out from the Bali-Poznan-Copenhagen process will be clearly a final global landing on the runway that was built in Rio for Agenda 21. And as we keep saying – this will be a joint Sustainable Development for North and South, East and West. It will be a world were those that have the needed technologies will share them with those that are only trying out for their own National development. This will not be done because of altruism – it will be rather because of self interest that comes from the simple fact that we are all residents of planet earth, and we understand that we have caused the planet to be on a path of destruction that harms the continuation of life as nature or god created.

After UNCED, The UN created a Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development and Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Gali appointed Mr. Nitin Desai, at the Under-Secretary-General level to head the Department. 1994-1998 Joke Waller-Hunter from the Netherlands was the first Director of the Division for Sustainable Development and the head of the Commission on Sustainable Development – so the Commission itself dates back, for all practical purpose, to 1994 – even though it officially was started in 1992. In May 2007 we witnessed the CSD 15 (that is counting back to 1992!).

In 1997, Secretary-General Kofi, in an effort to reduce the number of UN Under-Secretary-Generals, consolidated three economic and social departments and created UN DESA (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs) and eventually put Mr. Desai as head of DESA where he was until he was replaced in 2003 with Mr. Jose Antonio Ocampo, the former Finance Minister of Colombia; the new Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, brought in, July 2007, Mr. Sha Zukang, the previous China Ambassador in Geneva. In 1998 Ms. JoAnne DiSano, with a background of having worked for the Canadian Government, and then for 11 years with the Australian Government, became the Director of the new Division of Sustainable Development within DESA. She held this position until September of 2007 and since then the position is VACANT, and it looks as if the UN does not care.

Ms. Joke Waller-Hunter, left her position with the CSD in 1998 in order to become the Executive Secretary of the of Bonn based   UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) where she remained untill her death in 2006. She was replaced there in 2007, by Mr. Yvo de Boer, appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Mr. Yvo de Boer is also from the Netherlands, where he was Director for International Affairs of the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment. He was in the Past Vice-Chair of the Commision on SD and Vice-Chair of the COP of the UNFCCC. Both, the CSD and the UNFCCC are outcomes of the 1992 UNCED. Ms. Joke Waller-Hunter’s departure from New York may have had something to do with the 1997 UN reorganization that replaced the Department of SD with a Division of SD within DESA. She may have sensed that her presence at UNFCCC will further SD goals easier then   at the new Division of SD – that its creation caused in effect a demotion in her position.

The present vacancy at the nerve-center of the CSD, at a time the CSD is needed indeed, following the latest push at the UNFCCC, on matters of climate change, that causes our renewed interest in the UN CSD and in the UN Division that was established specifically in order to run the CSD. We are afraid that it will be difficult to see progress on the UN level, in matters of climate change, without a functioning office that deals with sustainable development.

Now to be honest, our interest is not just because of curiosity – but rather because of the worry that we understand very well the reasons for the slow demise of the CSD – the factors that got it to start on what may be a path to extinction.

At CSD 9 it was decided that the CSD will discuss specific topics in cycles of two years. So the first cycle was Water for CSD11-CSD12, the second cycle Energy for CSD14-CSD15, the third cycle Land Use for CSD16-CSD17.

So 2006-2007 was the Energy cycle, and as in UN fashion it was supposed to be the turn to have a chair from Asia, it was the Asians that suggested Qatar to chair the energy subject. Now Qatar is a producer of gas rather then oil.

Some said that though sustainable development must help put forward development methods that are less dependent on oil and coal, this for reasons of global warming and climate change, nevertheless, recognizing the role of natural gas as a cleaner fuel and a potential intermediary fuel from an oil and coal economy to an economy that is starting to be based on renewable sources of energy, Qatar could have been acceptable also as a political peace-maker between the interests of conventional industry and the incoming new industry based on renewbles. But to the consternation of those optimists, we could see that behind the representative of Qatar, at the CSD sessions, there was always sitting a representative from Saudi Arabia, and in the end there was no resulting negotiated text for what is probably one of the most important topics of Sustainable Development – Energy.

Above was nothing yet when compared with what happened in the last day of CSD 15. As always, there are elections for the next CSD membership – the membership is held at 53 countries elected according to a regional key – and then there is the election of the “bureau” and the new chair. The turn according to UN habit was that next chair will be from Africa, and as said, the topic for CSD16 in 2008, and for CSD17 in 2009, will be Land Use. The Africans decided to put forward Zimbabwe as their choice and campaigned with the G77 that this is their wish. The UK did not want any part of this, and specially since the land policies of the Mugabe Government have run Zimbabwe agriculture from being a large agricultural exporter to becoming a starving nation, with an economy that was totally destroyed, a monetary situation that shows astronomic inflation rate, and human rights problems that clearly make it ineligible for a UN leadership position, it is this obstinacy that reduced the CSD to plain irrelevancy. We were there that night of Friday May 11, 2007, in room 4 in the UN basement, and watched in disbelief how the distinguished, low-key German Ambassador, head in New York of the EU presidency, with the German Minister of the Environment next to him, simply told the CSD Chair from Qatar that the EU cannot work with this sort of CSD.

If by any way I exaggerate now, 7 months later, please forgive my memory, but see what I, Pincas Jawetz, Inner City Press journalist Matthew Rusell Lee, and the EUobserver from Brussels, wrote about this – the references on the www.SustainabiliTank.info web are:

– EUobserver on the 5/11 Crash of CSD15 (May 14th, 2007)

– A First Analysis: From The Ashes of the CSD, Will We See A Rising Phoenix? A Brundtland II, To be Called – “OUR COMMON GROUND” ? (May 13th, 2007)

– The UN General Assembly Resolution of September 30, 1974 against South Africa was not Premised On Apartheid’s Threat To Security, But On Its Serious Violation Of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. WHY DOES
SOUTH AFRICA OF 2007 BACK MUGABE’s ZIMBABWE SAYING HE DOES NOT THREATEN INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY? (May 13th, 2007)

– 9/11 and 3/11 Have Become Symbols of what Oil Money Can Cause To Those Who Insist On Buying The Oil, Will 5/11 Become The Symbol of Awakening at the UN? This Because Of May 11, 2007 Late Evening Happenings At
The So Called UN Commission On Sustainable Development? (May 12th, 2007)

– At the UN, Zimbabwe Elected 26-21 to Sustainable Development Chair for CSD16, As EU and Others Reject Final Text of The Chairman from Qatar of CSD15. (May 12th, 2007)

I took then the 5/11 date and in ways of exaggeration tried to compare this with 9/11 in New York and 3/11 in Madrid. Was it really an exaggeration? Could we say that the backing Zimbabwe got from States with unresolved problems from colonial days, and oil states that think, completely wrong, that they have anything to gain from derailing the concept of sustainable development, sustainable energy, global warming, climate change…, from efforts to improve the life of billions of people?

Further, the UN recognizes three groups of States with greater needs – these are the Least Developed States (LDCs), the Small Island Independent States (SIDS), and the Landlocked States. These are the States within the UN system that are most in need of help via sustainable development. Why did the UN take them out from being under the Under-Secretary-General who heads DESA, and put them under a separate Under-Secretary-General? Does this not cause waste and decreased efficiency? Would they not be served better within a well functioning unified economic organization that takes, for instance, in account the interests of Island States when it comes to the subject of the effects of global warming/climate change?

Now, I was not going to allow myself to lose my hope for a functioning CSD. The articles I refer to above are actually articles of hope – that is I hope that from the ashes the CSD will rise, as a Phoenix, under the leadership of Brundtland II.

Does this look likely? I submit it is imperative, and by the end of this week, whatever wind will be blowing from Bali, people will see that it does not go without sustainable development. So why do the Africans not get together and try to rein in Mr. Mugabe? Again, just this week, the EU invited all Heads of State of Africa to Lisbon for discussions on trade that were needed in order to help restart the Doha trade round. The Europeans were ready to put aside the dispute with Mugabe, and he was also invited – then why did he have to show physically his raised fist? Is this the end of an EU-Africa relation? Clearly not. It was just a new beginning showing that rational people can try to restart negotiations even in the presence of a street-bully. And that brings me back to the UN DC-2 building – that is where one finds the CSD Secretariat.

CSD 16 will happen one way or another in May 5-16, 2008. The full list of topics is: “The Review Session of The Third Implementation Cycle that Will Focus on Agriculture, Rural Development, Land, Desertification, and Africa.”

The CSD expects Germany to fund the bringing to New York of youth representatives from the developing countries. A main topic will be “Drought and Desertification and Africa” – this means effects of climate change that helped cause warfare in Africa. Will the world allow Africa to commit suicide through obstinacy, or is the world obliged to look into the mirror and say we cannot continue on this path? Mr. Baroso bit his lip and made an effort. We assume the EU will continue to try to find a way to keep the Commission in business, if at least the UN Secretariat helps reestablish a CSD Secretariat – and at the minimum there must be a functioning Director of the CSD Secretariat. That is the closing of the three month old vacancy that was created with the departure of Ms. JoAnne DiSano.

I understand that part of the nominating and election process involves the Commission itself. The present 53 members are:

African States: 12 besides Zimbabwe. They are – Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo/Kinshasa, Djibouti, Gambia, Guinea, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Tanzania, Zambia.

Asian States: 11 – Bahrain, China, North Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kuwait, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Thailand.

Eastern Europe: 6 – Belarus, Croatia, Czech Rep., Poland, Russia, Serbia.

Latin America and Caribbean: 10 – Antigua and Barbuda (the incoming head of G-77), Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Haiti, Peru.

Western European and Others: 13 – Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Monaco, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK, US.

By looking through this list I clearly see that Poland, the host of next year’s follow up meeting to Bali, motors of the UNFCCC track like Germany, UK, Japan, Australia, India, even China, Antigua, Korea,Tunisia, Congo/Kinshasa, Tanzania, Croatia will want to see a functioning CSD. What is needed is a low key peace maker with vision who comes from inside the UN system, and who has a history of having seen the difficulties when working with developing countries that seem to have memories from colonial days that they apply to new situations that really are of a totally different nature. Finding such a person would help, we hope, revive the CSD, so it could continue its functions and prepare for much larger importance when the UNFCCC track finally starts sputtering.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 30th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The following is written after three days, of the five day August 27-31,
2007, meeting of the UNFCCC.

The Monday opening was celebratory. The main presentation by the local
host, Austrian Federal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and
Water Management, Mr. Josef Pröll. He was followed by two speakers from
the Developing world’s most disadvantaged States – the Small Island
Developing States (SIDS) and the Least Developed States (LDCs). Those are
the clear victim states of Global Warming/Climate Change, the least
influential states in the world, and thus the states that are given
highest priority as speakers in UN meetings on subjects of Sustainable
Development/Climate Change – this because of the reality that the more
powerful Industrialzed and Industrializing States have little to fear that
these less priviledged states could have a real effect on the outcome of
the negotiations. The two speakers were Maria Madalena Grito Neves,
Minister of Agriculture and Environment of Cape Verde, and Mr. Monyane
Moleleki, Minister of Natural Resources of Lesotho. The room was full and
that was it. The UN says that there were 1,000 registrants to the meeting
but after that initial session the number of those participating started
to dwindle. On Wednesday, early afternoon I still had a chance to speak
with the Senior Climate Negotiator & Special Representative of the US
Department of State, who with his entourage was on his way to the airport.
To be honest, there really was no reason for him to stay any longer.
Besides, the US has an alternate idea that they will be presenting also in
a September meeting in Washigton DC, to address the problem directly to
the major emitters, and twist them into accepting voluntary arrangements
that address the problem.

The Austrian Minister, voicing the opinion of the large majority of the
EU, said “Climate change is a huge challenge that can only be tackled at a
global level and in integrated manner … we do not have much time to
create adequate framework conditions. Each year without mitigation measures
is a year which drives the human and financial cost of adaptation steeply
upwards.”

For the EU, is speaking now the Portuguese EU Presidency, and the subject
matter is dealt with in negotiations by the chief Danish international
coordinator Mr. Thomas Becker. They clearly stand for international
agreements and real action.

The speaker from Lesotho spoke of the prolonged draught in Africa about
which our website wrote much in the past. We wrote over a year ago already
that much of the misery in places like Darfur is a direct result of
climate change. This is not just a prolonged draught that is part of a
natural cycle as it happened in previous times. This is a clear impact
caused by global warming. Our old assumptions got vindicated by Sir
Nicholas Stern about a month ago when he made similar statements – but the
UN does not come out yet in clear language to put a finger on the culprit
to blame – just look at the sterilized official UNFCCC press releases.

The speaker from Cape Verde pointed out that her State has made progress
by developing tourism – but this tourism may be wiped out because of
climate change. “Climate change can potentially offset all the gains made
in achieving the Millennium Development Goals” (that is the UN holy cow!),
and she made it clear that the SIDS are particularly vulnerable.

The Times of India quotes the Secretariat of the UNFCCC as stating in its
report that the “Emissions bill will come to $210 billion by 2030.” Does
one believe that this can compensate losses of land and life that are
already in progress? Then, when mentioning money, why are not the
Ministers who deal with large amounts of money at this meeting? Aha! and
that is the rub – the meeting is charged with coming up without a
resolution. In effect, this is just one more meeting, in a series of
meetings, that are intended to not have a negotiated resolution – this is
a negotiation about negotiation – or even in UNFCCC language – “Vienna UN
meeting tests temperature of international climate change process.” The
global temperature may be heating up – but the UN process is being kept
under control so even the facts are made difficult-to-obtain when it comes
to independent media think tanks.

The speaker from Lesotho did actually emphasize the need to begin
post-2012 negotiations in Bali and indicated that while African countries
need support, they also have responsibilities concerning climate change.”
And you know what? The UN press release has no mention of the above as if
the stand by one of the weakest African States, calling for real
negotiation, is not one of the most relevant things that were said that
morning.

The AWG track of the Vienna meeting was chaired by Leon Charles of Grenada
– the State that chairs now AOSIS (the Alliance of Small Island States). In
New York AOSIS is represented by Ambassador Friday who is very outspoken
on the subject of investments for mitigation and adaptation in the context
of creating a global program that allows such investments for the benefit
of all. The problem is global – so an organization like the UN is
imperative – but the UN in its present form makes it difficult to direct
activities to the achievement of real results.

The powerful group of the G77/China is lead by Pakistan, and with them,
leading speakers are from South Africa, China, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi
Arabia.

When Saudi Arabia speaks about “the need to consider the impact of Annex I
mitigation activities on developing countries”, what they mean is that if
the world will become less dependent on oil – they – rich Saudi Arabia –
will lose some of their export market – and as they want to be counted as
a developing country – they have to be compensated for having lost some of
their market. They were clearly seconded by South Africa that stated “the
need to address the unintended consequences of adaptation and mitigation
policies and response measures on oil exporting countries.” And small
surprise, when the Saudi speaker took the floor again to support the South
African position on “building blocks approach and the importance of
financing and need for technology transfer.”

The above was just a little bite out of the material of these first three
days in Vienna, we will obviously return with more – but let us say
already here that we, like some others before us, may actually also wonder
in the end if a bad marriage can be improved – or not.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 15th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

From: Republic of Botswana (15/7/07): TAUTONA TIMES no 23 of 2007
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President

July 16, 2007 – President’s Day in Botswana.

Today is the eve of President’s Day celebrations in Botswana. Like “Botswana Day”, which every year falls on the anniversary of our nation’s independence, President’s Day is an annual occasion for Batswana to reflect on the fruits of their political sovereignty. The creation of the State Presidency at the time of independence brought to an end a period of eighty-one year’s in which the British Crown had claimed and exercised sovereign rights over Botswana’s territory, much of which was thus demarcated as “Crownlands”.

During the colonial period, imperial sovereignty over Botswana was annually celebrated by the British administration as either “King’s” or “Queen’s” day, an Empire wide tradition that dated back to the time of Queen Victoria (“Mmamosadinyana”). Replacing Queen’s Day with President’s Day thus represented a break from foreign rule to self-rule.

Subsequently, it was also deemed appropriate to mark the 1st of July birth date of Botswana’s first President, Sir Seretse Khama with a separate holiday, while preserving the tradition of President’s Day.

It has also become an informal tradition for local political parties to hold meetings on the President’s Day long weekend. Thus, while H.E. the President has been attending the 32nd National Congress of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), elsewhere around the country there have been similar gatherings of various other political movements that, like stars in a constellation, collectively enlighten this nation’s democratic unity in diversity.

—————————-

From the President’s Statement:

CITIZEN EMPOWERMENT

14. Our government has championed citizen empowerment for the past 41 years, and we will continue enthusiastically to do so. A plethora of empowerment schemes exist and have existed as individual projects or as sectoral programmes in our development plans. Since they have not been isolated and highlighted in one document, some people, including members of the BDP have erroneously assumed that we do not have a policy on citizen empowerment.

15. The bottom line is that an enabling environment should exist, wherein all Batswana are empowered with requisite opportunities and skills to enable them to optimise their standard of living. Furthermore, it should be clarified, that most proponents of a stand alone citizen economic empowerment policy often refer to countries that have a preferential treatment policy for a specific segment of their society.

16. In most cases the segment that is being singled out for targeted empowerment tends to be a historically disadvantaged group, but in Botswana our empowerment efforts should and must focus on every single Motswana and not a specified segment of the population as we have all been previously disadvantaged.

POVERTY

17. The BDP Governments have over the years focused aggressively in resourcing the poor in our society. Not only has poverty dropped from 60% in our population in 1985/86 to 28% in 2002/03; a clear indication of our success in our poverty eradication efforts, but we have also very effective safety nets which ensure, that not one Motswana can perish because of hunger.

18. Our safety nets include schemes for the poor, the aged, remote area dwellers, orphans, the disabled and war veterans. As I speak, my government has allocated some P395m to drought relief projects for this year alone. This will provide part time employment for some 180, 000 Batswana the majority of whom would have depended on agriculture had the rains been good.

EMPOWERMENT IN EDUCATION AND LOCAL TRAINING PROGRAMMES

19. Education has been either heavily subsidized or totally free for all Batswana from primary to secondary education. All deserving Batswana continue to get substantial assistance for their education even at tertiary level. These subsidies on education are a targeted investment by the BDP government, intended to provide Batswana, with a springboard they could use to empower themselves.

20. The expansion of the University of Botswana; the planned Botswana International University of Science and Technology; and the Medical School and Training Hospital are recent examples of projects in education aimed at further empowering Batswana for employment and higher calibre job creation. Recently the Ministry of Education started to sponsor students at local private tertiary institutions for Diploma and Degree courses. Over 7000 are now so sponsored. This is empowerment.

SUBSIDISED HEALTHCARE

21. Health care is virtually free in Botswana. Even expensive medications such as ARV’s are availed free of charge. The BDP government is cognisant of the relationship between an individual’s health and their overall ability to command an acceptable living standard.

22. For this reason, we have ensured, on a sustained basis, that our people have the best healthcare we are capable of providing as a nation. The evidence is overwhelming! Our commitment and determination to arrest the spread of HIV/AIDS is total and unshakable – hence the modest success we have registered in reducing the rate of infection.

UNEMPLOYMENT

40. Our ultimate objective is to achieve full employment for all our citizens as reflected in our Vision 2016 statement. As Democrats are aware, the rate of unemployment was around 10% in the early 1990’s. However, as a result of a combination of chronic droughts and the plateauing of minerals growth with a concomitant depression in the construction industry unemployment rose to 24% and it hovered around that level for many years, until recently, when we were able to reduce it to 17.6%.

41. The big projects which your government has initiated should force unemployment to go down further. I must express my concern though, about the rather lax attitude of some of our people. Many jobs in the agricultural sector remain unmanned for a long time because Batswana are not interested in working in that sector. This is regrettable. If we are to fight unemployment successfully we must become less choosy.

ELECTIONS

51. This is the penultimate congress before the next General Elections in 2009. This means by the time we get to the 2009 Congress it will be too late to fine tune or sharpen our thinking in various policy areas. This congress is, therefore, the most important opportunity to do so.

52. Our election preparedness starts right now with the preparations for “Bulela Ditswe” our primary elections. The Central Committee has appointed a Task Force, which in turn has sent teams around the country to clean up our membership registration hitches. This is very important, as it will determine that we have a clean, peaceful primary election, not adulterated by incomplete voters’ rolls and allegations of rigging.

53. Of course ultimately the business of any political party that wants to run the country is to win elections. It is for this reason that everything that we do must be aimed towards – the attainment of that objective – the 2009 elections. I shall never tire of reminding you, to channel all your energies towards making sure, that the BDP not only wins those elections but does so convincingly.

54. A scenario where we win the majority of seats but fail to command a comfortable majority in the popular vote is not a good one. Let us face it, it would undermine our mandate. Although in other countries it is not uncommon for a party to win elections sometimes with numbers as low as 30%, our opponents seem to think our 52% gives them some hope and even reason to celebrate.

55. I know we can legally and legitimately exercise a mandate even with less than half of the popular vote, but this we should never aim at. If all Batswana who were carrying our cards in 2004 had voted for their party, we would have won with more than 60% of the popular vote.

OPPOSITION

56. As for the opposition, we should remember, that they still present no alternative to ourselves, united or separately. This is why Batswana look to us as their only hope. Our policies, programmes and projects are well thought out. I still do not know what our opposition stands for. This situation is further compounded by the very public disunity that currently plagues the main opposition party, the BNF.

57. Anyone who thinks their recent special congress has healed their rift has got another surprise coming. To begin with, the one group did not even accept the results and we are receiving reports of a divided and disenchanted opposition membership around the country.

58. We should not, however, just sit here and celebrate their current state of disarray. We must work hard to exploit it to our benefit. We should graphically point out their current state of affairs.
Imagine the leader of a political party contemplating to run in an election under another party name and symbol as we hear is being contemplated in Ramotswa! And as happened in Lobatse when the leader of PUSO, in the person of Modubule successfully usurped the BNF seat and came to Parliament. You could go through them one after another and still be left wondering. The answer is of course that there is still no alternative.

59. This is why it is laughable for an organization like the BCP, which is not even running for state power, to lampoon Botswana’s democracy. Our democratic credentials are impeccable. They constitute the foundation of our political culture. And as such they do not belong to a single party but to all Batswana.

60. An entity that dissociates itself from this democratic culture runs the risk, of being driven into the political wilderness by our voters. I would not be surprised if the lonely member the BCP has in Parliament, who is there by dint of our generosity, went into extinction after 2009.

61. Madomi a Mantle, as I mentioned at the recent Women’s Wing Congress, the Constitution of our country, quite properly decrees that I retire by the 31st March 2008. I thank you most sincerely for the support that you have always given me during my tenure as Party leader. I have no doubt that you will extend similar support to my successor, His Honour the Vice President, Lt General Seretse Khama Ian Khama. I should enjoy my retirement immensely if you would do so.

CONCLUSION

62. In conclusion, let me wish you well in your Congress and encourage you to be level headed in your discussions if you are to come up with meaningful resolutions. May I also ask that we end our Congress in the spirit of love and mutual respect that must reflect our current theme: Unity and hard Work: Towards 2009 and beyond. Those elected and their supporters must, as they celebrate their success, do so with the utmost restraint and have consideration for the feelings of those who will have been less fortunate.

63. Much as I will spend as much time with you as I can, the immediate affairs of the country require that I, as is usual, leave you at some point to join the people of Goodhope on President’s Day. I join Batswana in different parts of the country every year for these celebrations at this time.

64. It is now my singular honour and privilege to declare this the 32nd National Congress of the Botswana Democratic Party officially open. TSHOLETSA! TSHOLETSA!

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10/7/07 – from the World Bank Institute launches 2007 World Governance Indicators (WGI) Report:

With reference to the above, please find below [a] Statement by this Office, as well as [b] the full text of a media release received earlier this evening from the World Bank. The World Bank media release had been embargoed for forward transmission until 19hOO local time (CAT) (13h00 EST – Washington D.C.). Both statements’ can thus be understood as breaking news.

[a] “Botswana praised in latest World Governance Indicators Report

This Office is pleased to note that Botswana was once more been singled out for special praise by World Bank researchers in the context of today’s launch of the 2007 World Governance Indicators (WGI) Report, the full title of which is: “Governance Matters, 2007: Worldwide Governance Indicators 1996-2006”.

The launch was held at the World Bank Institute in Washington D.C.

In a statement released by the World Bank to coincide with the launch, Botswana has been singled out by researchers as being among a select group of developing countries that score higher on key dimensions of governance than a number of leading industrialized countries.

Botswana is the only African country to be so singled out in the statement. The other high achievers among those classified as “developing countries”, which are listed along with Botswana in the statement are Slovenia, Chile, Estonia, Uruguay, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, and Costa Rica.

The 2007 World Governance Indicators Report is said to represent a decade-long effort by a global network of researchers to build and update the most comprehensive cross-country set of governance indicators currently available to the public.

The latest indicators are further reported to cover a total of 212 countries and territories, drawing on 33 different data sources to capture the views of tens of thousands of survey respondents worldwide, as well as thousands of experts in the private, NGO, and public sectors.

This Office is also pleased to note that Botswana has performed well in all six of the Report’s identified components of good governance, which are:

1. Voice and Accountability – measuring the extent to which a country’s citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, freedom of association, and a free media.

2. Political Stability and Absence of Violence – measuring perceptions of the likelihood that the government will be destabilized or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means, including terrorism

3. Government Effectiveness – measuring the quality of public services, the quality of the civil service and the degree of its independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation, and the credibility of the government’s commitment to such policies

4. Regulatory Quality – measuring the ability of the government to formulate and implement sound policies and regulations that permit and promote private sector development

5. Rule of Law – measuring the extent to which agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, and in particular the quality of contract enforcement, the police, and the courts, as well as the likelihood of crime and violence

6. Control of Corruption – measuring the extent to which public power is exercised for private gain, including both petty and grand forms of corruption, as well as “capture” of the state by elites and private interests.

The aggregate indicators as well as data from the underlying sources will be available at the website www.govindicators.org, which currently posts last’s year’s aggregate data.

According to the World Bank statement measuring various countries’ governance performance, and their improvements over time, is both a key item on the international governance agenda and a complex challenge, as governance has many dimensions, each with inherent measurement challenges. It goes on to state that the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) project shows how this challenge can be met.

[b] [World Bank Institute] Press Release No: 2007/009/WBI… [The Release is now accessible online at – www.worldbank.org]

E2) 11/7/06: “Botswana a global leader in Political Stability”

The World Bank Institute report “Governance Matters, 2007: Worldwide Governance Indicators 1996-2006”, which was released yesterday, has ranked Botswana among the global leaders for Political Stability and the Absence of Violence.

With a score of 92.8% Botswana was ranked number 16 in the category out of the 212 countries and territories covered by the study, as well as number one in Africa. The score also placed Botswana above:

* all of the G8 nations, i.e. Canada (80.3), France (61.5), Germany (75.0), Italy (56.3), Japan (85.1), Russia (23.6), UK (61.1), and USA (57.7);

* all but 2 of the member states of the European Union, i.e. Finland (99.0), Luxemburg (99.5);

* all but 2 countries/territories in the Western Hemisphere, i.e. Aruba (95.7), St. Kitts & Nevis (94.2);

* all but 3 countries/territories in Asia, i.e. Bhutan (95.2), Brunei (93.3), and Singapore (94.7).

The 2007 World Governance Indicators Report is said to reflect a decade-long effort by a global network of researchers to build and update the most comprehensive cross-country set of governance indicators currently available to the public. Its composite indicators for 212 countries and territories have been drawn from 33 different data sources to capture the views of tens of thousands of survey respondents worldwide, as well as thousands of experts in the private, NGO, and public sectors.

Botswana scored exceptionally well for all six areas identified by the Report as being the key components of good governance. As labelled in the report itself, these are:

1) “Voice and Accountability” – measuring political, civil and human rights;

2) “Political Stability and Absence of Violence” – measuring the likelihood of violent threats to, or changes in, government, including terrorism;

3) “Government Effectiveness” – measuring the competence of the bureaucracy and the quality of public service delivery;

4) “Regulatory Quality” – measuring the incidence of market-unfriendly policies;

5) “Rule of Law” – measuring the quality of contract enforcement, the police, and the courts, including judiciary independence, and the incidence of crime; and

6) “Control of Corruption” – measuring the abuse of public power for private gain, including petty and grand corruption and state capture by elites.

With a composite score for all of the above categories of 74 Botswana occupies first position in Africa, followed by Mauritius (72) Cape Verde (66), South Africa (65), Namibia (62) and Seychelles (55).
13/7/07: 2007 Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) Africa Top Ten wrap up: “Botswana leads the way, as African countries make progress”

According to a now widely circulated news article, originally published in the New York Times, Africa has been portrayed “as a continent of great variety, with some countries making extraordinary progress over the past decade” in the latest World Bank Institute study “Governance Matters, 2007: Worldwide Governance Indicators 1996-2006”, which was released earlier this week in Washington D.C.

The article further cites the World Bank’s own descriptions of the study as providing strong evidence to contradict the notion of “Afro-pessimism”, while, moreover, establishing that wealthy, industrialized nations must also struggle with challenges of corruption and bad governance. In this respect the study is seen as a credible counter to negative media stereotypes of Africa as a whole as somehow being a continent that is uniquely mired in corruption, misrule and violence.

When combined, the World Bank Institute Report’s indicators place Botswana among the global leaders, as well as number one in Africa, for good governance. At the Report’s launch Botswana was thus singled out as being among an emerging group of developing countries that had scored higher on key dimensions of governance than many leading industrialized countries.

Described as the world’s most comprehensive database on governance issues, the Report incorporates composite indicators for a total of 212 countries and territories, which have been drawn from 33 different data sources. These are said to capture the views of tens of thousands of survey respondents worldwide, as well as thousands of experts in the private, NGO, and public sectors.

Botswana’s composite WGI score was 74, while Africa’s other top ten overall performers were, as ranked, were: Mauritius (72), Cape Verde (66), South Africa (65), Namibia (62), Ghana (55), Seychelles (55), Tunisia (53), Madagascar (48) and Lesotho (48).

In achieving its top score Botswana was also ranked well above the international norm, as well as in first, second or third position for Africa in each of the sub-category indexes for the six areas that were identified by the Report as being key components of good governance.

Botswana score and rank among Africa’s top ten for each of the six is reproduced below:

I. “Political Stability and Absence of Violence Index”, which is a composite of indicators measuring the likelihood of violent threats to, or changes in, government, including terrorism:

Botswana (93), Seychelles (84), Mauritius (79), Cape Verde (79), Namibia (75), Mozambique (64), Benin (59), Zambia (57), Libya (55), and Ghana (55). (In this index Botswana was also ranked 16 out of the 212 countries and territories surveyed.)

II. “Voice and Accountability Index”, which is a composite of indicators measuring political, civil and human rights:

Mauritius (75), Cape Verde (74), Botswana (67), South Africa (67), Benin (66), Namibia (61), Ghana (60), Mali (58), Lesotho (56), Seychelles (54).

III “Government Effectiveness Index”, which is a composite indicators measuring the competence of the bureaucracy and the quality of public service delivery:

South Africa (77), Botswana (74), Mauritius (72), Tunisia (71), Cape Verde (62), Namibia (59), Ghana (57), Morocco (56), Seychelles (53), Madagascar (50).

IV. “Regulatory Quality Index”, which is a composite of indicators measuring the incidence of market-unfriendly policies;

South Africa (70), Mauritius (67), Botswana (63), Tunisia (58), Namibia (57), Ghana (51), Morocco (48), Cape Verde (45), Madagascar (43), Senegal (42).

V. “Rule of Law Index”, which is a composite of indicators measuring the quality of contract enforcement, the police, and the courts, including judiciary independence, and the incidence of crime:

Mauritius (76), Botswana (67), Cape Verde (66), Tunisia (60), Namibia (57), South Africa (57), Seychelles (55), Morocco (53), Ghana (51), Lesotho (49).

VI. “Control of Corruption Index”, which is a composite of indicators measuring the abuse of public power for private gain, including petty and grand corruption and state capture by elites:

Botswana (78), Cape Verde (72), South Africa (71), Mauritius (66), Tunisia (62), Namibia (61), Seychelles (61), Lesotho (58), Morocco (57), Rwanda (56).

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11/7/07: Report from VOA News  www.voanews.com) – “Six African Countries Win High Marks in New Study of Religious Freedoms”

Six African countries – Botswana, Mali, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, and Kenya – rank among the world’s most tolerant societies in terms of religious freedoms. That’s according to the latest study by the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom. It measured the amount of government regulation, government favouritism toward a particular religion, and the amount of social pressures and constraints imposed by other faiths and organized groups in the country.

These factors, along with a high economic correlation had a close bearing on the study’s rankings of more than 100 countries worldwide. Eritrea and Sudan ranked among the most restrictive. Paul Marshall is the Hudson Institute Centre’s Senior Fellow and editor of its latest study, Religious Freedom in the World 2007. In Washington, he said that the 20 African countries studied revealed several success stories and also displayed some surprising anomalies.

“Sub-Saharan Africa scores lower than western Europe and the North Atlantic countries, all of which tend to score pretty highly with ones, twos, or threes. It scores better than North Africa and West Asia (sometimes called the greater Middle East),” he says……”The study shows that religious freedom correlates very well with firstly economic freedom, and the development of markets. Secondly, it correlates with economic well-being, that income levels measure equality. It actually correlates even better than income with indexing, as measured in this context, by numbers of cell phones in use. And we have grounds to believe that we can actually show, in general, religious freedom helps development. This is true in Sub-Saharan Africa especially,” he says.

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