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. This unique prioritization of African issues by African leaders has led to subsequent commitments by 10 countries to take actions that address these concerns in three areas;  

  1. Incorporating the value of natural capital in public and private policies and decision-making;
  2. Pursuing sustainable production in agriculture, fisheries, and extractive industries while maintaining natural capital; and
  3. Generating data and building capacity to support policy networks.

About the Secretariat

The Secretariat is hosted by Conservation International, on behalf of the Government of Botswana, and together we are committed to working with the governments of Botswana, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania to move this initiative forward.  A team of experts based in Gaborone provides members with technical and policy support and thereby facilitate a platform for learning, capacity building, promoting national and global dialogues and linkages, identifying partnerships and mobilizing financial resources to achieve these sustainable development goals. 


Ruud Jansen, Executive Secretary

Ruud has worked in the field of nature conservation and sustainable development in Africa for over 30 years. After obtaining his MSc in Social and Economic Geography from the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, he moved to Botswana in 1983 where he has worked in various management, research and advisory positions for the Government of Botswana and for such organisations as the Netherlands Development Organisation, the University of Utrecht (Netherlands), IUCN – The World Conservation Union, and the United Nations. Since 2005, he has worked for UNDP Botswana as Chief Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism and the Office of the President. He joined Conservation International in October 2015 as the Executive Secretary of the Secretariat for the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa.


Disikalala Gaseitsiwe, Deputy Executive Secretary

Disikalala is an economist and development planner. He holds an MSc in Development Planning from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland.  He spent nearly 29 and half years working as an economist and development planner at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) in Botswana where he rose through the ranks finally assuming the position of Deputy Permanent Secretary, Socio-economic policy in 2008. During his time at MFDP, Disikalala was actively engaged in policy and strategy development work, progamme and project development, coordination, and management. He has also done extensive donor/aid coordination work, working with a wide array of development institutions, including IBRD, EU, UNDP and USAID.  He joined the GDSA Secretariat in April 2016 as Deputy Executive Secretary.



Tiego Mpho, Programme and Policy Manager

Tiego is a Waternet alumni and holds an MSc degree in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) from the University of Zimbabwe. Community development work and research experience in his native Okavango River Basin combined with further research work, under the auspices of the International Water Management Institute (South Africa) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in both the Volta and Limpopo River Basins have cemented his understanding of the centrality of water and other natural resources to poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability in the developing world. Tiego has previously worked for Kalahari Conservation Society as Community Outreach Officer, for IUCN as Programme Officer, for USAID’s IRBM Project as Communication Specialist Consultant as well as for UNDP as Project Manager. 



Tawana Babili, Programme Officer

Tawana Babili has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science and Sociology and has worked for the government of Botswana as an Assistant Natural Resource Officer in the Department of Environmental Affairs. In 2010 she relocated to Norway and lived in Svalbard/Longyearben where she worked as Research Assistant for Svalbard University in partnership with the Norwegian Research Institute in the arctic. In 2014 she joined CI as a research assistant and was later hired as a Program Officer for the GDSA.