The Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa stemmed from a 2012 summit with visionary, corporate leaders and heads of states of nine African countries including the host country, Botswana.

This gathering was driven by a concern for the historical pattern of natural resource exploitation that has failed to promote sustainable growth, secure environmental integrity and improve social capital in Africa. The summit was widely covered by the media with hundreds of video streams served online, more than a quarter million page views in just three weeks, and hundreds of tweets from participants. The output of the 2012 summit was the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa. This Declaration called on governments and non-governmental entities alike to undertake actions in the following three areas:

Action Statement 1: Integrating the value of natural capital into national accounting and corporate planning and reporting processes, policies and programmes, in agreed efforts, including the appended Communiqué on Natural Capital Accounting.

Action Statement 2: Building social capital and reducing poverty by transitioning agriculture, extractive industries, fisheries and other natural capital uses to practices that promote sustainable employment, food security, sustainable energy and the protection of natural capital through protected areas and other mechanisms.

Action Statement 3: Building knowledge, data, capacity and policy networks to promote leadership and new models in the field of sustainable development, and to increase momentum for positive change.

In a follow-up meeting in 2013, it was agreed by the Ministers that the Government of Botswana would house the Secretariat for the GDSA. One year later - in December 2014 - the functions of the Secretariat were delegated by the Government of Botswana to Conservation International (CI) until December 2018. From that point onwards, CI has provided the technical and financial resources for the ongoing activities of the GDSA Secretariat.

The gdsa member countries, including the original members (green) and countries that joined at a later date (blue)

The gdsa member countries, including the original members (green) and countries that joined at a later date (blue)

From left to right: Peter Seligmann, chairman of the board (CI); Vice President HE Mohamed Gharib Bilal of Tanzania; President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia; President Ian Khama of Botswana; President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia; Laurene Powell-Jobs; and Hon. Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Government of Ghana.

From left to right: Peter Seligmann, chairman of the board (CI); Vice President HE Mohamed Gharib Bilal of Tanzania; President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia; President Ian Khama of Botswana; President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia; Laurene Powell-Jobs; and Hon. Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Government of Ghana.