Momentum grows in Uganda for the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA)

Kampala, Uganda (October 20th 2017): Over the last two days, the Government of Uganda has hosted a delegation from the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA) Secretariat, including representatives from Conservation International and the Government of Botswana.

The Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA) is a regional action platform initiated in May 2012 by ten African countries to bring together like-minded countries as they progress towards sustainable development; the GDSA has since grown to encompass 13 member countries. The Government of Uganda expressed interest in joining the GDSA in 2013, appointing a GDSA Focal Point within the Ministry of Environment and Water in 2015. Since that time, the Government of Uganda has participated in GDSA events as an Associate Member country and this week’s visit by the GDSA Secretariat adds to momentum for Uganda to join as a Signatory Country.

“The Gaborone Declaration is a Commitment of like-minded people in the quest for realizing sustainability in the implementation of global and regional commitments,” said Mr. Paul Mafabi, Director Environment Affairs, Ministry of Water and Environment. The last two days have provided the platform for further discussion on how Uganda can participate, and also provide information on opportunities it can pursue in terms of partnerships and financing.

The GDSA approaches sustainability through incorporating the value of natural capital in public and private policy decision-making, generating data, sharing best practices, and building capacity to support policy networks as well as pursuing inclusive sustainable production in such areas as agriculture, fisheries, and extractive industries. The Government of Botswana is the designated Secretariat for the GDSA but works closely with Conservation International (CI), having delegated the Secretariat functions to CI in December 2014.

“The GDSA Secretariat works to mobilize resources and build new partnerships that help our member countries achieve their sustainability targets,” said Mr. Ruud Jansen. “We look forward to working with the Ministry of Environment and Water, as well as with other Ugandan ministries, to help build momentum around key priority areas for the Government – providing a critical value add to Uganda’s ongoing efforts in this realm.”

“The last two days have been a good opportunity to increase dialogue between our countries,” said Mr. Disikalala Gaseitsiwe of the Government of Botswana who serves as the GDSA Deputy Executive Secretary. “It has been very constructive to hear about the areas where Uganda has been made progress and think about how other countries can learn from the Ugandan experience.”

Members of the GDSA Delegation included representatives from Vital Signs and the Sustainable Coffee Challenge. Vital Signs is a monitoring platform that provides support to the Government of Uganda on several projects including strengthening reporting on greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Climate Agreement and an integrated national resource management initiative in Karamoja. Regarding the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, this is an industry-wide coalition to drive transparency as well as increase investments and collaborative efforts in the sector. “Recognizing the government’s ambitious targets to quadruple production by 2025, there is an opportunity to bridge the link between the public and private sector interests in coffee to achieve these targets in a sustainable manner,” said Mr. Niels Haak, Senior Manager for Sustainable Coffee from Conservation International.

The Directorate of Environment Affairs, of the Ministry of Water and Environment, working with key Ministries, Agencies and Civil Society participated in the consultative process.

A number of regional and global platforms have endorsed the GDSA. These include the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA), and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.