12 African countries under the aegis of Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA) have called for a renewed commitment to incorporating the value of nature in economic and social development.
Initiated in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana five years ago, GDSA is an African-led initiative that puts sustainability at the forefront of investment and economic development.
Chairman of GDSA, Botswana President Lt-Gen Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama told a forum marking its fifth anniversary in Maun, Botswana that the vision of GDSA was to ensure nature was valued and respected for the present and future generations.
Botswana Minister of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism Mt Tshekedi Khama said his government would review its conservation funding components with a view to upscaling funding for GDSA activities.
He said GDSA would in future tighten the bonds between member countries working together for a common goal and vision.
Executive Director of UN Environment Mr Eric Solheim said it was important to explore future areas of cooperation between UN Environment and the GDSA in a bid to encourage Africa to look at ways in which tourism and renewable energy could be used in the continent's development.
Senior Vice President, Africa Field Division at Conservation International with African regional headquarters in Nairobi Michael O'Brien-Onyeka expressed his organization’s readiness to work with member countries in organizing the Secretariat of GDSA and in helping oil the progress towards its visionary goals.
Ruud Jansen, Executive Secretary of the GDSA emphasized its validity five years from inception.
“The Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement have given the Declaration added value and urgency,” said Jansen.
The 12 GDSA countries include Kenya that was represented at the Maun forum.
Madagascar became the youngest member.