Botswana takes pride in its mature democracy. Free and fair elections are held regularly and the constitution provides for fundamental rights and freedoms. Botswana’s economic progress over the past 40 years has significantly raised living standards for many. However, with poverty rates of around 21%, significant and stubborn pockets of poverty remain, especially in rural areas.
Unemployment has remained close to 20%, and as a consequence income inequality in Botswana is among the highest in the world. Botswana also has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates globally, with about 20% of the adult population infected.
Floods hit Botswana at the beginning of 2013, and overall the 2012/13 rain season affected a total of 4,210 people. However, the Government of Botswana in July 2013 declared 2013/14 a drought year. In addition to the dry spell, Botswana was hit in early 2013 by several armyworm outbreaks, particularly in the south-east. The outbreaks and the drought conditions in 2013 aggravated food insecurity, and about 372,000 people were estimated by the FAO to be at risk of food insecurity in 2013/14.
Since 2007, OCHA ROSA has supported various activities in Botswana, including:
- Humanitarian Reform in 2008 and 2009, particularly related to coordination enhancement and humanitarian financing;
- Organizing national simulations on floods;
- Training regional disaster management committees on emergency preparedness and response;
- Revising of pandemic influenza preparedness and response plans by the UN Country Team;
- Reviewing Emergency Preparedness and Response Information Management Systems and putting in place sustainable in-country mechanisms to address the gaps