Botswana - Developed by UNECA

Environment Statistics and Accounts in Botswana; a glimpse into Central Statistics
Office- Environment Unit
Kakanyo Fani Dintwa
Central Statistics Office, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning
Gaborone, Botswana
Email: [email protected] & [email protected]
Tel: (267) 3671398 Cell: (267) 71699261
1.0 Environment Statistics & Accounts- Background
The Natural Resource Accounting programme of Botswana is part of a broader exertion to
promote sustainable development in Botswana as captured in the National Conservation Strategy
The Natural Resource Accounts (NRA) seeks to incorporate aspects of sustainability into system
of national accounts.
Shortcomings of National Accounts with regards to natural resources as highlighted by Lange
(2000) read:
“Even though the wealth of the nation includes ‘natural capital’ such as minerals and forestry, this natural
capital is often not included at all, or only partly included in the capital accounts. Furthermore, the extraction
and sale of assets are recorded as income but not recorded as depletion of natural capital, even of the nonrenewable assets like minerals. Consequently the national accounts do not keep track of the rate at which
natural assets are being used up and what they are being used for………”
Natural Resource Accounts are therefore designed to shred light into the afore-mentioned
problems, hence making a sound understanding of how natural capital works within the economy.
Environment Statistics & Accounts- Background Continued……
•The first endeavor to construct NRA in Botswana started in the 1980s.
•It is during this effort that the theoretical framework for NRA published in ‘Natural Resource Accounts for Botswana:
Environmental Accounting for a Natural Resource-Based Economy’ (Perrings et al., 1989; Lange, 2000) was developed.
The University of Botswana and Central Statistics Office spear headed this effort.
•In 1998 Botswana formally established her NRA Programme and the main purpose of the programme was to assess the
status of Botswana’s resources and their economic use.
Work done so far……
“The Contribution of Minerals to Sustainable Economic Development in Botswana” report to the Botswana
Natural Resource Accounting Programme by Dr. Glenn-Marie Lange, New York University (November 2000)
“Water Accounts of Botswana (1992-2003)” prepared by the Department of Environmental Affairs in association
with the Centre for Applied Research (July 2006)
“Natural Resource Accounting of Botswana’s Livestock Sector” prepared by the Department of Environmental
Affairs in association with the Centre for Applied Research, May 2007
2.0 Central Statistics Office Structure
The CSO is functionally divided into two major divisions- economic and social statistics. Other
additional units include Administration and Human Resources, Computing Services and
Cartography and Geographical Information Systems Units.
Environment Statistics Unit
The CSO has in the economic statistics division Environment Statistics Unit (ESU) which was
established in 1995. The ESU is responsible for collection of environmental statistics.
Environmental Indicators compiled include:
Water Resources
Environmental Disasters
3.0 Data Challenges
Ineffective or lack of central depository stations: Data providers from the same institution provide data in
different formats and at different times. This causes delay.
Lack of data standards: Even within the same institution, integration of data from different sources often poses a
challenge due to lack of standards for data storage and classification/coding of certain variables.
Lack of standard coding systems and classifications of relevant variables: Data providers often make errors
and spell names of the same administrative districts differently, for example, hence making it difficult to assign
codes to those districts.
Inefficient use of information technology: Even up to now there are institutions that record data manually as
hard copies. In some instances the digitizing of data is so poorly managed that the data cannot be electronically
utilized until it is reformatted for some variables, or re-entered for other variables.
Minimal consideration of user needs during database set-up: The CSO-ESU encounters many challenges
when collecting secondary data that is generated in some institutions daily because it is never consulted about its
data needs.
Lack of skills: on climate modeling, calculation of some environmental indicators, development of natural
resource accounts etc.
4.0 Method of Data Collection
The ESU collects secondary data from its stakeholders. Specifications on how the required data should be are
usually prescribed in the request letters.
Desktop research is also done.
Secondary Data Limitations
The major limitations of the use of secondary data are that, it limits us to variables collected by the providers.
The second limitation is that some of the information collected for the production of the literature is self reported,
which is prone to reporting errors and bias.
The third limitation is that some of the findings we derive from the availed secondary data are based on crosssectional data, implying that the direction of causal relationships cannot be determined.
The interpretation of results therefore limits it to associations between variables rather than the cause and effect
Stakeholders collecting, compiling and disseminating environment data
1. Dept of Meteorological Services: Climate (temperature & rainfall)
2. Office of the President: Drought, floods, expenditure on drought relief projects
3. Dept of Forestry & Range Resources (DFRR): Forestry inventory, veld products & fires
4. Dept of Waste Management & Pollution Control (DWMPC): Quantity of waste
5. Water Utilities Cooperation, Dept of Water Affairs & Local Authorities: Water; abstraction, quality, consumption
& waste data
6. Energy Affairs Division: Energy; source, demand, supply/production
7. Labour Statistics: Imports e.g. cereals
8. Dept of Wildlife & National Parks: Wildlife population, densities, mortality, problem animals, licenses etc
9. Dept of Mines: Land covered by mines & emissions
10. Ministry of Agriculture (Land Use Division): Land use maps
11. United Nations: Environmental Indicators
12 Central Statistics Office-Cartography Unit & Dept of Surveys & Mapping: Maps
13. Central Statistics Office-Agricultural Statistics: Livestock population, crop production & area planted
14. Central Statistics Office-Demography Unit: Population size, distribution, growth etc.
NB: There is no clear cooperation mechanism among stakeholders in environment data sharing. Individual
stakeholders can disseminate information without the consent of others. Some data are availed only
through requests.
5.0 Methods of disseminating environment statistics & indicators
The ESU disseminates environment statistics reports through publications. The same
reports can also be accessed online (
Environment Statistics Publications so far……
Environment Statistics- 2000, 2006
Wildlife Statistics- 2003
Water Statistics- 2009
Forestry Digest- 2004
Natural Disasters Digest- 2009
Energy Statistics- 2004
Selected Environmental Indicators- 2002
6.0 Inclusion of environment statistics in the national strategy for the development
of statistics
There is no national strategy for the development of statistics.
What is quite obvious is that the CSO is a Government department which is currently going through a
transition to becoming an autonomous body.
The organization has a vision, mission statement, values and structure.
7.0 Assistance extended to ESU
The Environment Statistics Unit has received a lot technical assistance from international agencies like UNEP,
UNECA, UNDP, WCMC, ISI, in Went Capacity Building International and many others through workshops,
online courses and conferences.
Currently one of our officers is engaged in BICSAfrica Project (Biodiversity Indicator Capacity Strengthening)
with UNEP-WCMC. (Online technical assistance)
8.0 Conclusion
As already mentioned lack of expertise in the field of natural resource accounting has contributed to the ESU’s
failure to develop some natural resource accounts.
With respect to data challenges in the production of a maiden environment statistics report the
following should be put into practice:
The standardization of coding systems, data storage and variable classification formats.
The need to consult all stakeholders before and during the process of data collection and storage in a database.
The need for more efficient use of information technology, (e.g. automated edit checks in the databases) to ensure
that data released to users is consistent.
Stakeholder collaborative efforts have to be employed during the production of the statistical reports for issues of
quality assurance.

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