VIDEO: Closing Remarks from President Khama
His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana Ian Khama challenges all other nations and sectors to follow the example of the participants at the Summit for Sustainability in Africa.
The Summit for Sustainability in Africa has ended. Please see the Declaration (link above) for the final outcomes.
As the 21st century unfolds, and a growing population increases its demand for food, water and energy, perhaps no region of the world will play a more pivotal role than Africa.
Growing and developing at a rapid pace, the African continent is home to a billion people — a figure that could triple in this century alone. It also holds more than half of the planet's available arable land and is rich in natural resources — presenting both enormous opportunity and the ever-present threat of exploitation.
But this majestic continent also is a wellspring of hope.
As much of the global conversation focuses on sustainable development in theory, the good news is that forward-thinking African nations already have begun to make progress.
With the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) on the near horizon, the Government of Botswana and Conservation International hosted the inaugural Summit for Sustainability in Africa in Gaborone, Botswana on May 24-25, 2012.
The Summit brought together for the first time the heads of state of several African nations who share a bold vision for a more sustainable future, including His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, who was the keynote speaker.
Joining President Khama was the heads of state and government of Liberia, Mozambique and Namibia — leaders with the courage to look past the short-term gains of unsustainable development and the will to ensure long-term prosperity through the stewardship of "natural capital," or the wealth of benefits and services provided to people by biodiversity and ecosystems such as watersheds, forests, coral reefs, and grasslands.
Ministers from Rwanda, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Norway were also in attendance, joining the heads of state — along with global leaders from the private and public sectors — in a collaborative discussion of how, in partnership, they can secure the future of the gathered nations through development plans that properly value and account for their considerable natural capital.
In the Gaborone Declaration, the 10 participating African nations were unanimous in their support of several important conclusions, including the following:
- The “business as usual” model of natural resource exploitation has failed to promote sustainable growth, environmental integrity and social capital.
- The value of natural capital must be fully integrated into national and corporate accounting.
- Improved data collection and the sharing of best practices between countries will be critical for effective natural capital accounting.
In addition, participating countries reaffirmed their commitments to implementing all existing conventions and declaration that promote sustainable development, such as the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The Summit participants who will be attending Rio+20 later this month plan to leverage the Declaration as a roadmap for healthy, sustainable economies worldwide — inspiring the rest of the world to follow Africa’s lead.