Major constraints of the Environmental Impact Assessment process in Botswana

Major constraints of the Environmental Impact Assessment process in Botswana

Botswana has adopted environmental assessments (EAs) as a tool to protect the environment against the adverse impact of developments. Botswana’s first EA legislation
was enacted in 2005 and revised in 2010, with the accompanying regulations approved in
2012. The act designated the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) as the Competent Authority, ie, the custodian of the EA process. However, a number of deficiencies in the EA process have been identified, including technical and human resources capacity limitations, the DEA’s lack of independence, limited stakeholder co-ordination, and questions around the long-term sustainability of the Botswana
Environmental Impact Assessment Practitioners Association (BEAPA).

This policy briefing makes recommendations related to the above deficiencies, including for the development of guidelines for the ministerial prerogative on exemptions and exempted security agencies, and the drafting of a formal arrangement to encourage technically competent partners to participate in the EA process.

Recommendations:

  • the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism should develop operational guidelines for the implementation of Section 3(3) of the Environmental Assessment Act of 2010 and formally constitute the Environmental Impact Special Committee to deal with the EA of security agencies’ activities
  • the ministry should consider a formal arrangement (eg, a ministerial directive or revised EA regulations) to encourage the participation of other technical government agencies, its partners (the BEAPA, parastatals and NGOs) and district EA reference committees in the EA process. In the case of reference committees, existing district structures (such as the District Land Use Planning Unit) can be assigned this responsibility
  • the government should recruit additional technical personnel and establish additional district offices to enhance the effectiveness of the DEA
  • to ensure its long-term sustainability, the BEAPA should diversify its revenue streams to reduce its reliance on the government. Options include increasing membership through registering specialists and accrediting companies. Specialist registration could also allow the BEAPA to participate in technical reviews, possibly at a fee, part of which can be retained by the association

 

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