GDSA Side Event a success at AMCEN 6th Special Session in Cairo, Egypt

botswana and gdsa delegates to amcen's 6th special session. photo by tiego mpho

botswana and gdsa delegates to amcen's 6th special session. photo by tiego mpho

By Tiego Mpho, Program and Policy Manager, Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa

On Saturday 16th April 2016, the Secretariat of the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA) hosted an hour long side event at the 6th Special Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) held in Cairo, Egypt. Under the aegis of Government of Botswana, GDSA Secretariat, AMCEN Secretariat, and Conservation International, the side event sought to provide an update on the implementation of the GDSA to-date within the context of AMCEN’s regional flagship programme on Green Economy as well as discuss pertinent GDSA implementation issues. 

Facilitated by Mr Disikalala Gaseitsewe, GDSA Deputy Executive Secretary, the meeting first heard from Mr Charles Mojalemotho who on behalf of Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism (MEWT) Mr Elias Magosi delivered a formal government of Botswana statement essentially reiterating Botswana’s unwavering commitment and support to sustainable development of Africa.  

participants duiring the gdsa side event at amcen's 6th special session. photo by tiego mpho

participants duiring the gdsa side event at amcen's 6th special session. photo by tiego mpho

The audience, which numbered 30 individuals representing various countries such as Angola, Cote D’ Voire, Egypt, Ghana, Zambia, Lesotho, Rwanda, Zimbabwe as well as both government and international development institutions such as the Global Environment Fund (GEF) Secretariat, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and The World Conservation Union (IUCN) then heard from GDSA Executive Secretary Mr Ruud Jansen. He informed them that the GDSA is an action platform committed to the incorporation of the values of natural capital into public and private policies and practices, thereby working towards poverty reduction through sustainable development and production, and increasing the data, knowledge and capacity to pursue a sustainable development pathway in support of attaining international commitments such as the SDGs, the Paris Agreement NDCs, CBD Aichi Targets etc. Moreover, Mr Jansen also updated attendants on the implementation of the GDSA to-date within the context of AMCEN’s regional flagship programme on Green Economy. In summary, the audience was informed that:

  •  A Secretariat was established in Gaborone under the guidance of the GDSA Executive Secretary;
  • Roadshows were conducted in 10 countries and a work plan prepared and accepted at the first GDSA-wide Annual Meeting of GDSA Focal Points in Nairobi, Kenya on 25-26 February 2016; 

  • GDSA Focal Points passed the work plan and accepted focal points ToRs; 

  • The work plan is currently being revised to include work stream linkages with the SDGs, the Paris Agreement and the Achi Targets;

  • Activities on Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) including the NCA workshop scheduled for June 21-23 in Nairobi (in cooperation with the World Bank and Conservation International) and an NCA project by Conservation International in Liberia. 

Mr. Jansen also provided examples of interventions in the work streams on sustainable development, monitoring and the corporate sector and re-emphasized the GDSA main focus, strategy and way forward as well as the joining procedures through an initial Expression of Interest. He further indicated the aspiration of the GDSA to grow its membership so as to augment the action platform, support the AMCEN and AU work programme and assist countries in pursuing their natural resource management and sustainability commitments and targets. Ghana, as a member of the GDSA, supported the relevance and work of the GDSA and recommended that other African countries consider joining the GDSA.

Participants were appreciative of the informative presentation and welcomed commendable progress. They requested more information regarding GDSA membership (state membership and non-African state / civil society / international organizations / private sector affiliation), the relationship with the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and some programmatic interventions related to sustainable development and monitoring. 

At the end of the meeting, GDSA Focal Point from Ghana Mr Fredua Agyeman thanked the audience for their contributions and wished them fruitful deliberations during the rest of the conference.