International Treaties

Sustainable Development

Environmental Law

Case Studies


Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Botswana

    According to Article 8, Section 5 of Botswana’s Constitution, The law in question makes provision for the taking of possession or acquisition of any property. “For so long only as may be necessary for the purposes of any examination, investigation, trial or inquiry or, in the case of land, for the purposes of the carrying out thereon of work of soil conservation or the conservation of other natural resources or work relating to agricultural development or improvement”. Botswana is looking to draft a new constitution, which will consider including environmental rights in an effort to expand environmental protection measures.

Featured Legislation

1968: The Water Act was created to define the ownership of any rights to the use of water and to provide for the grant of water rights and servitudes.

1968: The Forest Act was enacted, providing for the better regulation and protection of forests and forest produce in Botswana and to provide for matters incidental thereto.

1971: The Atmospheric Pollution (Prevention) Act was enacted, providing for the prevention of the pollution of the atmosphere by the carrying on of industrial processes and for matters incidental thereto.

1977: The Herbage Preservation (Prevention of Fires) Act was introduced to prevent and control bush and other fires.

1975: The Fish Protection Act was passed, providing for the more effective regulation, control, protection and improvement of fish and fishing in Botswana.

1992: The Wildlife Conservation and National Parks Act was passed to make further and better provisions for the conservation and management of the wildlife of Botswana.

1998: The Waste Management Act was approved, overseeing the establishment of the Department of Sanitation and Waste Management to make provisions for the planning, facilitation and implementation of advanced systems for regulating the management of controlled waste.

1999: The Mines and Minerals Act was enacted, regulating the law relating to Mines and Minerals and providing for the granting, renewal and termination of mineral concessions.

2005: The Environmental Impact Assessment Act was signed, providing for environmental impact assessment to be used to assess the potential effects of planned developmental activities.

2008: The Mineral Rights in Tribal Territories Act was brought into force, guaranteeing mineral rights in tribal territories in the Republic of Botswana.

2012: The Botswana National Water Policy was presented. This National Water Policy provides the guiding principles and policy direction for the elaboration of further National Development Plans. The Objective of the Policy is to provide a national framework that will facilitate access to water of suitable quality and standards for the Botswana citizens and provide the foundations for sustainable development of water resources in support of economic growth, diversification and poverty eradication. It represents the first step in a continual process to ensure that water is properly positioned to meet the needs of the nation and its people. In pursuit of these objectives, this Policy aims to promote the following: Protection, conservation and restoration of the nation’s water resources; Promotion of effective, sustainable management of water resources; Promotion of the equitable and efficient use of water resources; Reduction of the subsidies associated with water supply; Assurance of access and affordability of water for all; Protection and restoration of the environment; Promotion of productive uses of water. The Policy is based on three overarching principles: i) equity; ii) efficiency; and, iii) sustainability. The precautionary principle shall be adopted with water conservation measures and practices used to promote environmental sustainability, economic efficiency and social equity.

2015: The Botswana Land Policy was tabled. This Policy consists of 11 parts divided into 92 articles: Part I-Introduction; Part II-The current land tenure system; Part III-Milestones in Botswana Land Policy; Part IV-Policy goals and objectives; Part V-Land tenure; Part VI-Access to land and protection of land rights; Part VII-Land management and administration; Part VIII-Land values and market; Part IX-Institutional framework; Part X-Legal framework; Part XI-Implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

2016: The Botswana National Development Plan was introduced. The Botswana National Development Plan 11 Volume 1 (April 2017- March 2023) is a national strategy developed to guide the medium term economic development path for the country under the theme “Inclusive Growth for the Realization of Sustainable Employment Creation and Poverty Eradication”. NDP 11 focuses on six broad-based national priorities of: Developing Diversified Sources of Economic Growth; Human Capital Development; Social Development; Sustainable Use of Natural Resources; Consolidation of Good Governance and Strengthening of National Security; and Implementation of an Effective Monitoring and Evaluation System.

Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

  • The European Union (EU) has recently announced that it will be supporting efforts to enhance Africa's response to transnational organized crime. Organized crime transcends borders, threatening Botswana’s governance, peace and development, fueling conflict and corruption through the diversion of resources that could be dedicated to develop people, reduce poverty and contribute to the improvement of basic services for communities. Botswana is not a drug-producing country; yet, it serves as a transit hub due to the influx of illicit drugs smuggled from neighboring countries. Cross-border environmental crime, human trafficking and smuggling utilize the same trafficking routes used for the circulation of drugs such as cocaine, methcathinone and crystal meth, calling for tighter enforcement of Botswana’s borders.
  • The Government of Botswana blames hunter-gatherers, farmers and pastoralists for environmental degradation and biodiversity losses in the country’s southern regions. The staggering decline of elephants in Botswana has started a conversation surrounding hunting bans and protected areas with a view to conserving elephants. Local people have been removed from protected areas after being blamed for declines in wildlife numbers, despite evidence that local people utilize sustainable hunting practices. The ‘great elephant debate’ served as a political gambit during the Botswana elections of October 2019: leading to new approaches to conservation and sustainable development.

References and Further Reading


Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism: