One of the key developments in Botswana in 2021 was the Government’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This was a significant milestone, as it recognizes – and intends to mitigate – the challenges that those with disabilities in Botswana face to exercising their rights to access basic services, including infrastructure, transport and information.

With the Joint UN Team on HIV/AIDS support, in July 2021 the First Lady of Botswana as UNAIDS Special Ambassador for the Empowerment and Engagement of Young People In Botswana 2020–2023, launched a Strategic Framework as part of this collaboration.

The collaboration seeks to carry out interventions for young people through different programmes such as Gender Based Violence (GBV) Life skills, education and economic empowerment.

Another key development was that Botswana’s strong engagement in regional and global fora was highlighted in various ways, including the Government taking on key roles such as Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Presidency of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The Botswana Head of State as the current chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security also leads troops from SADC countries to support Mozambique authorities in combatting terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado.

The socio-economic and political environment has been unstable during the reporting period. Reasons for this include the increase in COVID- 19-related fatalities, the concerning continued use of capital punishment, changes in senior government officials, tensions between the ruling party and the former Head of State, divisions within the ruling political party, reports of security agents monitoring public officers, and increased taxes on main utilities such as water and electricity tariffs.