SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OR SUSTAINABLE LIVES AND LIVELIHOODS? DEBATING SUSTAINABLE HUMAN SETTLEMENTS IN BOTSWANA
This paper explores the contested nature of sustainable human settlements in Botswana. Sustainable development has attained the status of a catchphrase for actors that include international financial institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Development Partners, Non-Governmental Organisation as well as international political organisations like the United Nations and its agencies. As a member of the United Nations (UN), Botswana affirms commitment to the sustainable development agenda within which the quest for sustainable human settlements falls. Despite the wide adoption by diverse actors, sustainable development is highly contested in its conceptualisation and on how it is to be attained. In debating sustainable human settlements in Botswana, there has been little attempt to interrogate the contested nature of the concept. The predominant concept inclines more towards the techno-ecological intergenerational definition associated with the UN’s Agenda 21 where the focus is on reconciling economic development with environmental impacts. The paper argues for a more political definition where the focus is on sustaining lives and livelihoods. We argue that there remain within the country’s normative development planning framework and liberal democratic political system, opportunities for sustainable human settlements models that privilege sustainability of lives and livelihoods. It is suggested that the ideal espoused herein can be reached through the utilisation of sanctioned spaces of participation within the country’s political system and a shift from conventional expert-centred knowledge production to co-production ethos of enquiry and practices.