Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism's Department of Environmental Affairs launched the revised National Environmental Education Strategy and Action Plan (NEESAP) at the National Botanical Garden in Gaborone last Friday.
Ministry's deputy permanent secretary Mpho Mmopi explained that NEESAP was established under the Natural Resources Conservation Strategy passed by Parliament in 1990.
He said the revised Action Plan is a result of extensive consultation with stakeholders involved in environmental issues. "This Plan was launched in 1997 and from 1997 to 2003 the five-year implementation review time elapsed. The review began in 2006 ending 2007 and it involved consultations with environmental practitioners and customers," Mmopi said.
The revised NEESAP, Mmopi added, is aligned to a number of key developmental initiatives, among them the national Vision 2016 and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has declared a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and Mmopi said the NEESAP promotes this initiative, as environmental education is of great importance in sustainable development.
It is hoped the initiative will help widen stakeholders' scope and raise awareness on the importance of environmental education among the people. The Department of Environmental Affairs also took advantage of the launch to lobby stakeholders to own up to environmental issues. "Environmental issues cut across all sectors of the economy, they are not a one department issue," the deputy permanent secretary said, encouraging individual ministries and organisations to stand up and be counted.
The revised Plan comes at an opportune time for government departments to integrate its ideals into their sectoral budgets for the National Development Plan 10 (NDP-10). "Sectoral NDP-10 chapters offer opportunity to include action plans to ensure that all stakeholders participate in environmental issues," Mmopi said, adding that they need everyone to be involved to realise its objectives.
Launch attendees were reminded of the "butterfly effect" - the scientific concept that a butterfly flipping its wings in the Amazon rain forest could cause flooding in areas far from the Amazon. They were, as such, encouraged to play their role in being environmentally friendly.