Major Constraints of the Environmental Impact Assessment Process in Botswana

Photo: flickr, USAID Southern Africa

Botswana has adopted environmental assessments (EAs) as a tool to protect the environment against the adverse impact of developments.

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.