Gaborone, 05 October 2017 – The Government of Botswana in partnership with UN-Habitat and UNECA held an inception workshop to kick-start the process of monitoring and reporting on Sustainable Development Goal 11. Botswana is one of the four selected countries in Africa (Botswana, Tunisia) and Latin America (Ecuador, Colombia) under the project “Monitoring and Reporting on Human Settlement Indicators in Africa and Latin America”.

More than 40 participants attended the meeting from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Statistics Botswana, City/local authorities and other stakeholders in academia, civil society and the private sector.

The project’s main objective is to support countries to design and implement monitoring tools to improve the availability of and access to data and statistics at city and urban national level in order to measure, monitor and report on the SDG 11 and urban elements of the Goals. Ultimately, this will enable countries to design and formulate evidence-based programs and policies for sustainable development.

Botswana is fast urbanizing with more than 60 per cent of its population living in urban areas. The effects of urbanization impose both opportunities and challenges for urban dwellers and decision-makers as cities must plan and secure adequate land for public streets, arterial roads and public open spaces to organize their future expansion areas in a productive, inclusive and sustainable way.

Localizing implementation

Opening the workshop, Ms. Esther Saraki, the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development noted that the project is therefore very timely for Botswana as it is in line with its national efforts for localizing the implementation of SDGs in the country.

She added that Botswana is keen on putting in place the right tools and systems for monitoring SDGs. “Botswana is already making significant strides in tracking and reporting SDGs as one of the countries that submitted a voluntary report on 6 SDGs that was presented during the High Level Political Forum in July 2017,” she said.

SDG 11 presents unique approaches for countries in measuring and achieving their SDG targets. These include: methodological approaches for collecting human settlements data; the novelty of aggregating city level data whilst also reporting at the national/country level; the challenge of technical capacity at national and local levels and; the availability of data at city level. In order to address these challenges, UN-Habitat, UNECA in partnership with the Governnent of Botswana will employ the National Sample Of Cities methdological approach, using innovative tools such as geospatial technologies as well as tried and tested methodologies such as the City Prosperity Initiative.

“The project gives Botswana the opportunity to demonstrate the feasibility and opportunity to monitor SDGs and provide a global platform from which other countries can learn from”, noted Robert Ndugwa, Chief of the Global Urban Observatory and the SDG focal person in UN-Habitat.

By the end of the project, countries will have strengthened their capacity to adopt and implement systems and tools for a reliable urban local monitoring and reporting framework. This means more reliable, timely, and disaggregated national, regional and global monitoring data, key for achieving the 2030 Agenda.