Portia Segomelo is the National Advisor for WAVES Botswana and has thirty years’ experience in the Government of Botswana.
Portia has worked in the field of Natural Resources and Environment in the Botswana public sector since the adoption of the Botswana National Conservation Strategy in 1993. As Director of Environmental Affairs, Portia was advisor on sustainability issues and was a lead agent for the implementation of Agenda 21, multi-lateral environmental agreements and UNEP flagship programmes. She offered guidance on the Commission on Sustainable Development process leading to Rio+20 and just before retirement from government in March 2013, the initiation of Botswana’s input into the development of Sustainable Development Goals (following the Rio+20 summit). Portia led the Botswana technical team and advisor to Government on the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa in 2013.
Between 2003-7, Portia coordinated the of development of the Okavango Delta Management Plan, and worked with several international organisations such as IUCN, DANIDA, SIDA and GTZ to conduct an economic valuation of the Delta resources using natural capital accounting tools. She served as member of the Botswana component to the Okavango River Basin Steering Committee (OBSC) from 1994, and in 2010 graduated to the position of OKACOM Commissioner which she holds to this day. Portia’s role in the Commission for twenty years was to ensure that natural resources are taken into consideration in basin-wide decisions on the water commission.
In 2000, Portia led a team to develop the Environmental Impact Assessment Act for Botswana and in 2005 served as Authorising agent for all EIA approvals and monitoring of major development projects across several sectors (roads, infrastructure, water development, mining and manufacturing).
Between July 2014 and June 2015 Portia was engaged by the World Bank as Botswana Coordinator for the Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystems Services (WAVES) partnership, leading to her present-day role as an Advisor for WAVES Botswana. As Coordinator she serviced the administration of decisions of the WAVES Steering Committee and provided lead support towards the institutionalization of natural capital accounting in Botswana. Thanks to her work in this role, Botswana now has practicing Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) teams in the water, mineral and energy sectors. Given Botswana’s success in WAVES her role as Advisor now includes providing assistance towards effective coordination and institutionalization of Natural Capital Accounting in Rwanda (a new WAVES country).
Portia has participated in several regional and international conferences on behalf of the Government of Botswana, presenting the utility of NCA techniques as well as the WAVES project. Her office is responsible for ensuring that NCA becomes one of the priority instruments to provide information required to assess the value of natural capital and its contribution to National Development Planning in Botswana.
Portia has a Bachelors degree (BA) in Environmental Sciences and English from the University of Botswana, and a Masters degree (MA) in Economics in Environment and Development from the University of Manchester.