Botswana associates itself with the main ideals of the United Nations Charter and believes in them, namely; to maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and for the United Nations to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.
Botswana joined the United Nations on 17 October 1966. This Mission plays a critical role in promoting and defending the national interests at the United Nations and its associated Councils. It was through this Mission that Botswana, in spite of its strategic vulnerability compounded by hostile geopolitical circumstances in Southern Africa from the 1960s to the ‘90s, asserted her principles of the right of every people to self-determination.
This is hardly surprising because as a small state Botswana has always attached great importance to the utility and instrumentality of the United Nations in the advancement of international peace and security as well as economic and social progress in the world. Botswana has always believed in peaceful resolution of disputes. The United Nations has, and continues to be a very important vehicle in that regard.
His Excellency Sir Seretse Khama, the first President of the Republic of Botswana, said this eloquently in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly on 24 September 1969:
As a small poor country, we set particularly high value on our membership of the United Nations and those agencies which our budgetary restrictions have permitted us to join. I should like to emphasize the particular importance of the United Nations for states like Botswana which, because of development priorities, are obliged to restrict their bilateral contacts and keep their overseas missions to a bare minimum. Here in New York we can make contacts which would otherwise be difficult to achieve.
The United Nations has 192 Member States. This cosmopolitan community of nations work together to search for global consensus on the most pressing problems of our planet such as conflict, poverty, HIV/AIDS, terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation, climate change, to mention but a few. Only the United Nations, due to its universality and legitimacy, can embark on this enterprise. Botswana must be ready, committed and proud to be part of this important task of building a more peaceful, just and prosperous world order.
The role of the United Nations in Botswana is to support the country in meeting its continuing development challenges. At independence Botswana was one of the poorest nations in Africa, experiencing serious development challenges including prolonged periods of drought and lack of basic infrastructure such as roads, schools, hospitals, and telecommunication networks.
Through good governance and prudent macro-economic management, Botswana, once one of the least developed countries of the world, has emerged as one of Africa’s few middle income status nations. Rapid economic growth, coupled with democratic governance and multiparty politics, have been the hallmarks of Botswana’s success story over the past forty ears. The United Nations system, collectively and through the efforts of individual agencies, has accompanied Botswana through this transformative period.
However, as in other countries with stellar development successes, many UN organizations, as well as other development agencies, have de-linked from direct residency-based support to the country and have relocated elsewhere, though they remain ready to assist the country as necessary The current Country Team of the United Nations in Botswana comprises:
UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNAIDS, UNHCR, WHO and FAO.
Despite the many achievements the country has made in the last decades, Botswana continues to face very real challenges of poverty and unemployment. The HIV and AIDS epidemic, which is rapidly depleting the much-needed human resource for development, threatens to reverse the economic advances made so far. Botswana has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world. As a result, a substantial part of UN assistance to the country focuses on the fight against the epidemic. In using its diverse expertise and experience, as well as networks involving other players all over the world, the UN strives to offer coherent and synergistic support to Botswana in her development challenges, particularly in the fight against AIDS. This website is a window into this support and the work of the United Nations in Botswana.