Botswana: Environmental Law Context Report



Country Context Report: Botswana


A series of extracts and resources compiled by Tariro Kamuti, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Global Risk Governance Programme, University of Cape Town, with supervision from Amy Sinclair, Managing Editor of the African Legal Information Institute (AfricanLII).


1     Sources of environmental law in Botswana

A     Domestic constitution and legislation

B     Domestic executive decision-making

2     Environmental law topics in Botswana

A     Energy, minerals and extractives

B     Fisheries

C     Agriculture, plants and forestry

D     Climate change, natural disasters and air quality

E     Wildlife

F      Protected areas

G     African customary law and rights of indigenous peoples


1       Sources of environmental law in Botswana

A       Domestic constitution and legislation

This is a non-exhaustive list of the most important legislation affecting environmental law issues in Botswana.

Legislation title and URL

Constitution of Botswana

Wildlife Conservation and National Parks Act (Chapter 38:01).

An Act to make further and better provision for the conservation and management of the wildlife of Botswana, giving effect to CITES and any other international convention for the protection of fauna and flora to which Botswana is, from time to time, a party, to provide for the establishment, control and management of national parks and game reserves, and for matters incidental thereto or connected therewith.

Environmental Impact Assessment Act (Act No. 6 of 2005) (Cap. 65:07).
An Act to provide for environmental impact assessment to be used to assess the potential effects of planned developmental activities; to determine and to provide mitigation measures for effects of such activities as may have a significant adverse impact on the environment; to put in place a monitoring process and evaluation of the environmental impacts of implemented activities; and to provide for matters incidental to the foregoing.

Waste Management Act (Chapter 65:06).

“An Act to provide for the establishment of the Department of Sanitation and Waste Management; to make provision for the planning, facilitation and implementation of advanced systems for regulating the management of controlled waste in order to prevent harm to human, animal and plant life; to minimise pollution of the environment, to conserve natural resources; to cause the provisions of the Basel Convention to apply in regulating the trans-boundary movement of hazardous wastes and their disposal; and for matters incidental to and connected to the foregoing.”

Water Act (Chapter 34:01).

An Act to define the ownership of any rights to the use of water; to provide for the grant of water rights and servitudes; and to make provision incidental thereto.

Land Survey Act (Chapter 33:01).

This Act provides rules for the survey of land in Botswana and makes provision for the appointment of the Director of Surveys and Lands, for the establishment of the Land Surveyors' Board and for the recognition of land surveyors and the control of their activities.

Waterworks Act (Chapter 34:03).

An Act to provide for the constitution of water authorities in townships, to confer certain duties and powers upon such water authorities, to provide for the acquisition of existing waterworks and to provide for matters incidental thereto.

Herbage Preservation (Prevention of Fires) Act, 1977 (Cap. 38:02).

An Act to prevent and control bush and other fires. Herbage Conservation Committees are established under section 3. The Principal Herbage Conservation Commission is hereby established, whereas the Minister may, by Notice in the gazette, establish Subordinate Herbage Preservation Committees for specified areas as he or she thinks fit. The principal Committee may appoint a fire ranger. No person shall without permission of a Committee set fire to vegetation on land of which he is not the lawful owner or occupier. 

Forest Act (Chapter 38:03).

An Act to provide for the better regulation and protection of forests and forest produce in Botswana and to provide for matters incidental thereto. This Act provides rules for the management and conservation of forest resources of Botswana and for the trade in forest produce including protected fauna and flora. The 37 sections are divided into six Parts: Preliminary (I); Delegation by Forest Officer (II); Declaration of Forest Reserves (III); Protected Trees (IV); Control of Forest Produce (V); Trading in Endangered Species of Flora (VA); Miscellaneous (VI), (3 Appendices).

Botswana - Fish Protection Act 1975 (Chapter 36:02).

An Act to provide for the more effectual regulation, control, protection and improvement of fish and fishing in Botswana.

Tourism Act (Chapter 42:09)

An Act for licensing and regulating the tourist industry with a view to promoting its development and well-being.

Atmospheric Pollution (Prevention) Act (Chapter 65:03).

An Act to provide for the prevention of the pollution of the atmosphere by the carrying on of industrial processes and for matters incidental thereto. The Act consists of 17 sections divided into 4 Parts: Preliminary (I); Administration (II); Control within Controlled Areas (III); General (IV). Areas controlled by the Minister of the Environment and the Environment, including a valid registration certificate, Air Pollution Control Officer, appointed under section 3, the authority to do so. An application for a registration certificate shall be made with the Air Pollution Control Officer in accordance with section 9. Section 10. It is established by the Air Pollution Control Officers (section 11).

Agricultural Resources Conservation Act (Chapter 35:06).

An Act to make provision for the conservation and improvement of the agricultural resources of Botswana; to establish an Agricultural Resources Board and to define its powers and functions; to provide for conservation committees and subordinate conservation committees and prescribe their functions; and to provide for matters incidental to the foregoing.

Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act (Chapter 67:01).

An Act to make provision relating to the exploration for and exploitation of petroleum resources and for purposes incidental thereto or connected therewith. This Act makes provision for various matters relating to the activity of exploration and exploitation of petroleum resources in Botswana including licensing, control, surface rights, survey of wells, protection of the environment and compulsory acquisition of land.

Mines and Minerals Act 1999 (Cap. 66:01) (No. 17 of 1999).

An Act to re-enact with substantial amendments the provisions that regulate the law relating to Mines and Minerals; to provide for the granting, renewal and termination of mineral concessions; to provide for the payment of royalties; and for matters incidental to and connected to the foregoing.

Unwrought Precious Metals Act (Chapter 20:03).

An Act to make provisions for the control of dealings in unwrought precious metals.

Diamond Cutting Act (Chapter 66:04).

Export and Import of rough diamonds regulations

Mineral Rights in Tribal Territories Act (Chapter 66:02).

An Act to provide for the vesting of mineral rights in tribal territories in the Republic of Botswana. This Act transfers mining rights from specified tribes and tribal authorities to the State of Botswana in the manner and at the conditions as are specified in agreements for this purpose. These agreements are attached to the Act in the Schedules and shall have the force of law.

Mines, Quarries, Works and Machinery Act (Chapter 44:02).

An Act to provide for the safety, health and welfare of persons engaged in prospecting, mining and quarrying operations including any works which are part of and ancillary to mining and quarrying operations and to make provision with respect to the inspection and regulation of mines, quarries, works, and of machinery used in connection therewith, and for matters incidental thereto. Repeals the Works and Machinery Proclamation (Cap. 125).

Mines, Quarries, Works and Machinery Act Regulations 1978. No. 127.

Protection in certain sectors of economic activity; Mining and quarrying workers

Game Reserve Regulations

Explosives Act (Chapter 24:02).

An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the manufacture, importation, sale, storage, use and disposal of explosives and matters incidental thereto.

Precious and Semi-Precious Stones (Protection) Act (Chapter 66:03).

Botswana Power Corporation Act (Chapter 74:01).

An Act to provide for the establishment of a corporation to be known as the Botswana Power Corporation for the generation and supply of electric power and to provide for matters incidental thereto and connected therewith.

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B       Domestic executive decision-making

1. Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism[1] 

The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism (MEWT) in Botswana was established in recognition of the need to bring environmental issues under one roof for better coordination of policies, strategies and programs. The Ministry is made up of the following seven operational departments and a quasi-governmental entity responsible for marketing the country’s tourism product: The Departments of Ministry Management, Environmental Affairs, Wildlife and National Parks, Meteorological Services, Forestry and Range Resources, Waste Management and Pollution, Tourism and the Botswana Tourism Board

2. Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security[2]

“The Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security coordinates development and operational activities in the energy and minerals sector. The Ministry is made up of Corporate Services (Headquarters), departments of Mines, Energy, Mineral Affairs Division and parastatals; Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) and Botswana GeoScience Institute (BGI).”

Rules and Guidelines in Mining:

  • Handling & Storage of explosives
  • Procedure for obtaining a Botswana Blasting Licence
  • Requirements for Magazine Plans
  • Specification of explosives vehicle
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines for Mining Projects
  • Mining Licence and Minerals Permit Application guidelines
  • Rehabilitation Guidelines for Sand and Gravel Mineral Concessions


3. Ministry of Land Management, Water & Sanitation Services[3]

The mandate of the Ministry is to ensure, “proper land administration and management to facilitate socio-economic development through land servicing. Furthermore, ensures delivery of water and re-use of grey water for both domestic and agricultural development.

The Ministry is tasked to execute duties as follows:

  • Management and administration of land in both urban and rural areas.
  • Provision of water for human consumption and all sectors of the economy
  • Provision and management of Sanitation Services
  • Water Infrastructure development
  • Trans-boundary Water Resources Management and negotiations
  • Water Management
  • Policy development
  • Provision of services and information on cadastral surveying, mapping and remote sensing that lay the foundation for physical planning
  • National physical planning, which involves determination of optimal utilization and proper management and development of land.
  • Land Policy Development
  • Provision of services and information on cadastral surveying, mapping and remote sensing
  • Provision of service infrastructure to facilitate land development;
  • Adjudication of land disputes.


The Ministry discharges its duties through the following departments, divisions and parastatals:

  • Department of Town & Country Planning
  • Department of Surveys and Mapping
  • Department of Technical Services/PMO
  • Department of Water Affairs
  • Department of Lands
  • Deeds Registry
  • Land Tribunal
  • Corporate Services
  • Water Utilities Corporation


4. Ministry of Agriculture[4]

The Ministry of Agriculture is to develop on a sustainable and competitive basis the agricultural sector by improving farm incomes, generating employment opportunities and raw materials for agric businesses; conserving agricultural natural resources through the promotion and adoption of appropriate technologies and management practices.

The Ministry discharges its duties through the following departments and divisions:

  • Division of Research and Statistics (DRS)
  • Department of Agricultural Business Promotion (DABP)
  • Department of Agricultural Research (DAR)
  • Department of Extension Services Coordination
  • Department of Veterinary Services (DVS)
  • Information Division
  • Department of Corporate Services
  • Department of Crop Production


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2       Environmental law topics in Botswana

Introduction to Botswana

Land Area:                  566,730 km2

Water Area:                15,000 km2

Total Area:                  581,730km2 (#47)

Population:                 2,209,208 (#144)

Population Density:   3.90/km2

Government Type:    Parliamentary Republic

GDP (PPP):                  $35.90 Billion

GDP Per Capita:         $16,900

Currency:                    Pula (BWP)

More Information:     Botswana

Largest Cities:

  • Gaborone (208,411)
  • Francistown (89,979)
  • Molepolole (63,248)
  • Selebi-Phikwe (53,727)

Extract from[5]


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A       Energy, minerals and extractives

What are the Major Natural Resources of Botswana?

Botswana is an African nation that is situated on the southern edge of the continent where it spans an area of roughly 224,610 square miles. In the past, particularly in the 1960s, the Botswana economy was one of the lowest-ranked economies in the world with its per capita gross domestic product being roughly $70. The Botswana government implemented some economic reforms that gradually transformed the country's economy. In 2017, the Botswana gross domestic product was roughly $17.41 billion which was the 112th highest in the world, and the per capita GDP was $18,146 which was the 71st highest in the world. The Botswana economy is heavily dependent on its natural resources which include minerals, arable land, and livestock.

Extract from[6]


Energy Policy Brief - Botswana

This policy brief is aimed at raising awareness on the status, challenges and opportunities of the energy sector in Botswana. The policy brief captures progress to-date in expanding access to energy services, reflects on the challenges of the sector in light of the national concerns of energy security and the global concerns of expanding access to energy services to meet the Millennium Development Goals while protecting the environment. This is especially pertinent at this time when the atmosphere is currently suffering from an ever rising concentration of carbon dioxide and other Green House Gases. The balance between the global demands for cleaner energy in the interest of humankind and those of national energy security form a complex interplay which this policy brief seeks to articulate for the benefit of appropriate reforms in the energy sector.

Extract  from[7]




Botswana's Diamonds

Botswana’s extraordinary growth was fuelled by minerals, particularly diamonds. At independence, beef, the country’s main export and largest sector, contributed 39 percent of GDP. From independence until the 1970s, international aid dominated the government budget and was the main source of foreign exchange. At that time the mineral sector, mainly diamonds, began to take off and soon became the dominant sector.

Landlocked Botswana seems to have defied the odds by creating a successful economy. Poverty has been reduced, education has become more widespread, and health indicators had improved before the HIV/AIDS epidemic undid some of that progress. The country’s vast natural resources played a key role in this accomplishment, but the mere endowment of resources is clearly not the whole story. In much of Africa—and in other parts of the world-natural resources have not always been conducive to growth and development; in many cases they seem to have brought out the worst in countries, in the form of conflict and predatory governments. Studying the effect of mineral wealth on economic outcomes is timely, because the increase in the prices of natural resources as a result of the rise of China and India is likely to result in windfalls for many African countries. How can countries turn these windfalls into long-run growth and development? In Botswana’s case, the key to successfully harnessing natural resources lay in good governance and good policies. Governance has not been perfect in Botswana, but it has been good. Botswana has been largely free of kleptocracy and civil conflict; it has maintained a transparent, law-abiding government; and it has implemented good policies, including a hyper-prudent fiscal policy, which has done much to diversify foreign exchange earnings and prevent the volatility that typifies many resource-based economies. Investments in human and physical capital and vast improvements in infrastructure have also raised Botswana’s productivity, which, together with its substantial financial reserve in the form of foreign assets, should help ease the transition to a more diversified economy.

Extract from[8]



Mineral Policies

The overall objectives of the Department of Mines are to establish and maintain an effective organization to administer mineral exploitation legislation, and to enhance socio-economic, financial and other benefits to Botswana arising from the exploitation of mineral resources. With respect to mineral policies the department will assist in developing sound national policy on mineral development and operation. The department will provide professional guidance on matters pertaining to mine safety and control of pollution arising from mining activities. The department of mines will formulate and provide technical guidelines, performance standards for mining, mineral processing and metallurgical operations and advice government accordingly.

Extract from[9]

Other resources of potential interest:


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B       Fisheries


Botswana National Water Policy

Recognizing that water represents one of the key constraints to future sustained growth; the National Water Policy provides the guiding principles and policy direction for development of further National Development Plans. Since independence in 1966 we have demonstrated strong economic growth, with nearly 9% growth recorded year on year for more than four decades. Historically this growth has been driven primarily by the nation’s natural resources: mining, nature-based tourism, and agriculture. The development of these resources has been supported by sound macroeconomic policies, strong financial management and the implementation of incentives to attract private enterprise against a background of political stability. Recognizing the importance of the environment to securing this sustainable growth, this has been accomplished with relatively little environmental degradation or loss of biodiversity.

Extract from[10]


SADC Regional Water Policy

The SADC region has 15 major river basins which are transboundary or watercourses shared by two or more countries. They range from the large Congo River Basin (3,800,000 square kilometres), the Zambezi River Basin (1,400,000 square kilometres covering eight SADC Member States) to the Umbeluzi River Basin (5,500 square kilometres) shared by only two countries. Thus, one of the characteristic features in the region is shared watercourse systems, with complex water rights and potential conflicts over utilization of the shared resources. This common heritage also presents tremendous opportunities for cooperation in managing the shared resources for regional economic development and regional integration.

Extract from[11]

Other resources of potential interest:


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 C      Agriculture, plants and forestry


The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Forestry

This article highlights the origin of cooperation and integration in the subregion, threats to the region’s forests, the role of the SADC Protocol on Forestry and future challenges to fostering cooperation in the management of the region’s forest resources.

The Millenium Development Goals, adopted at the Millenium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, emphasize the need to free all people from abject poverty (United Nations, 2000). Of the approximately 207 million people in the countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), it is estimated that 70 percent live below the international poverty line of US$2 per day (SADC, 2003). The situation is exacerbated by the high population growth rate, estimated at 2.4 percent per annum (SADC, 2004); the high HIV/AIDS infection rate, estimated at above 20 percent of the adult population (SADC, 2003); the low agricultural output; and the increasing frequency of climatic extremes. Poverty has forced most communities to resort to unsustainable utilization of forest resources, which many people consider freely available. In the process they destroy the environment on which their existence depends, hence the vicious cycle of poverty. For the past two decades SADC has recognized the role of forestry in poverty reduction, food security and environmental protection. The development of the SADC Protocol on Forestry is a milestone in realizing the region’s socio-economic development goals.

Extract from[12]


Forest management and use in Botswana

This paper describes the situation of Botswana’s forests as well as their policy and legislative environment. A brief analysis is given based on the analytical framework developed in the inception report. The analysis leads to forest issues which are guiding the options for the Forest Conservation Strategy.

Major threats to forests and other woodlands (direct and indirect) are:

a. Encroachment into forests by settlements, infrastructure and agriculture

b. Elephant expansion and damage

c. Fires

d. Over utilisation of forest products (mostly communal)

e. Climate change

f. Inadequate, state led forest management

g. Undervaluation of the importance of forests

h. Lack of forestry research and data


Forest Policy of 2011

The policy defines basic principles, objectives, strategies and action plans which provide guidance and facilitation in the management of forests and range resources through conservation, development and sustainable use to meet social, cultural, economic, environmental and ecological needs of present and future generations. The objectives and strategies relate to the broader areas of forest resources management:

i. Wildland fire management;

ii. Public participation, education and awareness;

iii. Production forestry;

iv. Research and development;

v. Ecotourism and other socio-economic opportunities;

vi. Non-wood forest products development;

vii. Forestry training and capacity building; and

viii. Multilateral environmental agreements.


Forestry-based programmes, projects, policies and strategies need to be financed to enable forest resources to benefit communities. Finance could be provided as government revenues, grants, fee charges for forest goods and services, and user fees for tourism, ecotourism facilities, or incentives for forest industries and commercialisation of forest products.

The policy recognises the need for the involvement and participation of all stakeholders in forest management and decision making. These include government agencies, non-governmental organisations, community based organisations, the private sector, political and traditional leadership, and the international community.


Legislative Instruments

Forest Act of 1968

The Forest Act provides for the better regulation and protection of forests and forest produce in Botswana and matters incidental there to. The Act is aimed at the protection of areas designated as forest reserves, and calls for the protection of trees declared as ‘protected timber trees’ that fall within areas designated as state land.

The Act provides for control of over-harvesting of trees for commercial purposes, and regulates the use of certain tree species such as Baobab which exists within Makgadikgadi as heritage sites (e.g. the Baines Baobab in Nxai Pan National Park). People are required to obtain licences for the use of forest resources within the reserves, except for the residents of Kasane, Kazungula and Lesoma who are allowed to gather: firewood from dead trees provided that collection is made by donkey or head-load and not by motor vehicle; poles of the species of trees specified in Part I of the Schedule hereto for the purposes of erecting huts and cattle kraals; fruits of the species of trees specified in Part II of the Schedule; leaves of the species trees referred to in Part III of the Schedule; and the underground stem of the species referred to in Part IV of the Schedule

Herbage Preservation (Fire Prevention) Act of 1977

The purpose of the Act is to prevent and control bush and other fires. The Act defines “vegetation” as growing or standing vegetation, and includes any tree or part thereof and any shrub, brushwood, undergrowth, grass, crops or stubble. A written permit should be sought by anyone who wishes to burn bush/vegetation on land that they occupy.

The Act calls for the development and maintenance of firebreaks to aid in the management of forest/wild land fires. The Department of Forestry and Range Resources has developed a Fire Management Strategy to guide the management of fires which includes efficient construction of firebreaks to protect natural resources, biodiversity and its habitat, and agricultural holdings (ranches and fields).

Extract from[13]



Forestry Outlook Study for Africa - Botswana

The overall objective of the study is to provide a practical framework to reinforce the national forestry programs of Botswana. This in turn will give useful information to development agencies, development banks, the private sector, Non-Governmental Organizations and others to improve their strategies, programs and investments in forestry sector in the country. The key aspects of the study cover: conservation and management, production and environment, policies, social and economic dimensions.

The Forest Act, promulgated in 1968 formalizes the provisions for the establishment and conservation of forest reserves: prescribes the procedures for utilization of forest products; highlights rights and privileges granted to local communities; and, identifies those species to be granted protected status on State, tribal and private land. The Forest Act was carefully and clearly designed to ensure the protection and administration of Government forest reserves.

However, the effectiveness of the Forest Act is limited by the traditional nature of the land tenure system. Government Forests Reserves cover a mere small area of the country (0.8%), but their protection and management is one of the Act’s main concern.

One of the most serious problems however lies with the tribal lands and depletion of forest resources outside forest reserves. Over-exploitation of forest resources is prevalent in tribal lands particularly around major population centers. Open access communal ownership is inevitably resulting in each individual trying to extract the maximum benefit from the resource for himself/herself.

All these considerable changes in social and economic condition as well as changing environmental conditions have necessitated the review of both the forest policy and legislation to cover the judicious administration of forest resources of the country as whole.

Countrywide consultation to review the National Forest Policy and the Forest Act was undertaken between 1995/97. All stakeholders were involved and they included, Chiefs, Councilors, Land-board members, NGOs, Government Agencies, and Village Development Committees etc. To date a draft of the National Forest Policy has been produced, and it’s waiting to go to Parliament for consideration. Once its complete, then the review of the legislation will soon follow.

The general goal of the National Forest Policy is protection, conservation, development and sustainable utilization of forest land and forest resources for social, economic, ecological and environmental benefits present and future generations of the of Botswana. The goal is consistent with principles, goals and objectives of national as well as sectoral development policies, international initiatives and conventions related to the forestry sector such as Convention on Biological diversity, Desertification, Climate Change, Agenda 21, and United Nations Forest Principles.

Extract from[14]

Other resources of potential interest:

  • Forest Conservation Strategy 2013 - 2020 An independent evaluation of the Tropical Forest Conservation Fund (TFCF) and Forest Conservation Botswana (FCB) in 2012, recommended the development of a Forest Conservation Strategy (FCS) to guide the FCB Board in the award of project grants and other technical activities to support forest conservation. According to the evaluation, planning in the period 2008-2010 focused primarily on the internal working efficiencies of FCB and its Board and FCB’s operation did not have the desired impact on sustainable forest conservation and utilisation. This Forest Conservation Strategy (FCS) aims to provide technical guidance to FCB.
  • Botswana National Forest Program Process This document outlines a brief chronology of the NFP process, from its early phases to the latest developments. Details are given on the mechanisms, procedures and structures put in place to advance the implementation of the NFP, as well as on the main issues constraining its progress. A final overview on the forthcoming actions and activities closes the section.


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D       Climate change, natural disasters and air quality


Climate Change Considerations in Botswana

Climate change considerations in Botswana are championed by the National Committee on Climate Change and representatives from government departments and ministries, non-governmental organisations and the private sector regularly meet to discuss climate change issues and the possible impacts in various sectors. Whilst there is no dedicated policy to respond to climate change in Botswana, the potential for future climate change and the associated environmental threats is acknowledged in the National Development Plan. Climate change issues are addressed in a combination of different policy areas with a common focus on sustainable growth. Specific climate adaptation and mitigation policies are already in place in some sectors, such as the strong governmental support for solar energy technologies in the energy sector.

Botswana is believed to be a net sink for greenhouse gases, since emissions resulting from the burning of fossil fuels in Botswana in 1994 were small and were more than balanced by a net increase in the size and number of trees. The greenhouse gases reported here are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Excluding the uptake of carbon dioxide through tree growth in Botswana, the climate-changing effect of the emissions are 52% due to carbon dioxide, 33% due to methane and 16% due to nitrous oxide, and the sum is equivalent to about 0.02% of the global anthropogenic emission (IPCC, 1995). The sectoral origin of the CO2 equivalent emissions in 1994 was as follows: 57% agriculture, 17% electrical power generation, 10% mining and industry, 8% transport, 3% domestic heating and cooking and 1% government.

Extract from[15]


Botswana embarks on ambitious plan to tackle climate change

The Government of Botswana has initiated nation-wide consultations to build climate change into all of its development activities. Climate change is already being attributed to a number of changes in Botswana, including longer drought episodes, changes in rainfall patterns, outbreaks of crop diseases that affect the most important sector to rural households and subsistence agriculture. At a national level, Botswana is experiencing significant water shortages, resulting in dependence on its neighboring countries for inter-basin water transfers to augments its domestic supply.

Extract from[16]



E        Wildlife

Botswana Wildlife

The Republic of Botswana may be one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries, but it also happens to be one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Over the years, it has transformed into a middle-income country with a competitive banking system and a growing mineral industry that accounts for about 40 percent of its GDP. The Kalahari Desert covers about 70 percent of this flat, landlocked country. But this semi-desert supports more wildlife than a true desert — it offers huge tracts of grasslands for grazing after rains. In addition to its vast desert ecosystem, Botswana has deltas, rivers, grasslands, and savannas, making it a stronghold for a significant amount of diverse wildlife. One of the few remaining endangered African wild dog populations and the biggest population of African elephants on the planet both find sanctuary in Botswana. The famous Chobe National Park features four ecosystems with the most abundant wildlife concentration in all of Africa.

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Wildlife Conservation and National Parks (Hunting and Licensing) Regulations (Chapter 38:01)

These Regulations make provision with respect to the granting of hunting and other licences in the field of wildlife management and conservation, regulate the importation and exportation of game animals and trophies and the keeping of animals in confinement, the delivery, transfer and ownership of ivory and some other matters of miscellaneous nature and define powers of occupiers of land. The 44 regulations are divided into 11 Parts and completed by 42 Schedules.

Extract from[17]


The Trade in Wildlife

This paper provides an analytical framework for assessing the impact of international trade in wildlife and wildlife products on conservation and local livelihoods. It also explores the role of factors related to particular species and their habitat, governance settings, the supply-chain structure, and the nature of the end market. The framework is relevant for importers and exporters, regulators, policymakers, nongovernmental organizations, community representatives and researchers seeking to improve the sustainability of international wildlife supply chains.

The analytical framework presented in this paper provides a reference for the taxon-specific assessment of conservation and livelihood outcomes associated with trade. It is intended to benefit policymakers, businesses and practitioners in the wildlife trade sector seeking an impartial approach to evaluating trade impacts. The framework reveals that trade in a species or its products and derivatives may generate significant benefits for local livelihoods and strong incentives for conservation. However, it may also create disincentives and risks. A host of interdependent factors related to the species itself, governance, the supply chain and the end market for wildlife products affect these outcomes. A combined review of these factors can be used to increase understanding of the outcomes of wildlife trade and the potential for these to be improved. While a comprehensive application of this framework is likely to require significant data and resources, it would provide the information necessary to improve decision-making on wildlife trade and strengthen international wildlife value chains. More importantly, it can support informed discussion to mitigate unforeseen consequences of trade, improve the Aid for Trade programme design and strengthen natural resource management and the outcomes for biodiversity and the poor.

Extract from[18]


SADC Protocol on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement (1999)

Wildlife resources in Southern Africa have the potential to affect the region’s economic development and environmental protection – two primary concerns of SADC. Therefore, SADC passed its Protocol on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement on 18th August 1999 to establish a common framework for conservation and sustainable use of wildlife in the region. In signing the Protocol, Member States agree to policy, administrative, and legal measures for promoting conservation and sustainable wildlife practices within their jurisdictions. Member States agree to collaborate with one another on common approaches for achieving the goals of international agreements on wildlife. The Protocol advocates Member States harmonise legal instruments for wildlife, establish management programmes for wildlife, and create a regional database of wildlife status and management. It also establishes institutional arrangements for the Protocol’s implementation, specifying committees and units, a schedule of meetings, and each division’s functions.

Extract from

Other resources of potential interest:

  • National Biodiversity Planning to Support the Implementation of the CBD 2011-2020 Strategic Plan in Botswana To integrate Botswana’s obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) into its national development and sectoral planning frameworks through a renewed and participative “biodiversity planning” and strategizing process, including revising the country’s NBSAP to reflect effectively the emerging issues identified in the CBD Strategic Plan for 2011-2020.


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F        Protected areas


Protected Areas in Botswana

Protected areas in Botswana have been divided into two systems which are protected areas in the northern part of the country where the environmental conditions are slightly wetter than the southern system where the environmental conditions are the typical semi-arid conditions. These systems have been further separated by veterinary disease control fences which have cut-off historical wildlife migratory routes. Infrastructure Developments between the protected areas have also increased the difficulty of easy movement of wildlife between the protected areas thus greatly reducing connectivity between the protected areas. With the recent population declines of wildlife numbers in the northern part of the country where a number of floodplain species have been on the decrease there is a need to improve connectivity between protected areas as well as to secure some critical areas that can be used as refuge in the times when conditions are not favourable.

Extract from[19]


G       African customary law and rights of indigenous peoples


Mineral Rights in Tribal Territories Act (Chapter 66:02).

An Act to provide for the vesting of mineral rights in tribal territories in the Republic of Botswana. This Act transfers mining rights from specified tribes and tribal authorities to the State of Botswana in the manner and at the conditions as are specified in agreements for this purpose. These agreements are attached to the Act in the Schedules and shall have the force of law.

Extract from[20]


A case involving the Tribal Territories Act and the Tribal Land Act[21]

The appellant operated a granite quarry and in order to get its product to the markets, it contracted with haulage contractors to transport the granite in heavy-duty trucks on a road that passed over a farm, Forest Hill, that it considered the easiest and most convenient route. That route was however not the route identified by the environmental consultant as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process when the appellant obtained its licence. The heavy vehicles took their toll on the road in question, much of which had been privately funded and built. The residents of the area became concerned about the use of the road and took the view that the use of such heavy vehicles on the road was inappropriate. The appellant was of the opinion that the road constituted a public right of way and when the residents blocked the road, they applied to court for an order preventing the respondents from blocking access to the road. The judge in the court a quo concluded that Forest Hill was the freehold property of the Bamalete Tribe and that the appellant had failed to establish that it had a right to use the road over Forest Hill. The appellant appealed against this decision. At this stage, the fifth respondent, the local land board, was joined. The court embarked upon a historical overview of the ownership of the land in question that had belonged to an individual in 1907 who in 1925 sold it to the chief of the Bamalete Tribe 'for and on behalf the tribe'. In 1968 the Tribal Land Act (Cap 32:02) was enacted, s 10 whereof provided that all land in tribal areas other than land held by a chief in his personal and private capacity, vested in the land board. The land in question, not being owned by the chief of the tribe, accordingly, vested in the land board. The respondents contended that the legislation in question could never have intended so prejudicial a consequence as a deprivation of the tribe's ownership of the land.

Held: (1) Harsh as the statutory taking may at first blush appear to be, the fact was that Forest Hill was acquired for the benefit of the Bamalete Tribe. The practical reality though was that a land board's primary duty was first and foremost to the residents of the board's area of jurisdiction.

(2) The constitutionality of the Tribal Territories Act (Cap 32:03) and the Tribal Land Act had never been challenged and the inclusion of Forest Hill in the tribal territory involved the removal of certain powers of the Bamalete chief and affected tribal property. This was never challenged and the vesting of the land in the land board was accordingly not unconstitutional. Kweneng Land DBoard v Matlho and Another [1992] B.L.R. 292, CA considered.

(3) The respondents who had blocked access accordingly had to be interdicted and restrained from impeding use of the road. Appeal upheld. Quarries of Botswana (Pty) Ltd v Gamalete Development Trust and Others (2) [2010] 2 B.L.R. 595 overruled.


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[6] What are the Major Natural Resources of Botswana? available at

[7] UNDP Energy Policy Brief: Reflecting on the Challenges of Attaining a Green Economy1 for Botswana, available at

[8] Michael Lewin, Botswana’s Success: Good Governance, Good Policies, and Good Luck, available at

[12] Lloyd Mubaiya, The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Forestry – can it stop the mounting threats to the region’s forests? Available at

[13] Centre for Applied Research. “Forest management and use in Botswana: brief situation analysis and options for the Forest Conservation Strategy” available at

[14] Motsereganyl Sekgopo, Forestry Outlook Study for Africa – Botswana. available at

[15] UNDP Climate Action Adaptation – Botswana, available at

[17] Wildlife Conservation and National Parks (Hunting and Licensing) Regulations (Chapter 38:01) available at

[18] The Trade in Wildlife: A Framework to Improve Biodiversity and Livelihood Outcomes, International Trade Centre, Geneva, Switzerland, available at

[19] Action Plan for Implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity’s  Programme of Work on Protected Areas, available at

[21] Quarries of Botswana Pty Ltd v Gamelete Development Trust and Others 2011 2 BLR 479 CA.