March 2018: The GDSA Secretariat continues to proactively attend, and be invited to, a range of regional and international events on sustainability in Africa. These events are often excellent opportunities to connect with representatives of our member countries as well as with the donor community and civil society. Here is a brief look at some events we've attended this year so far.
Closing regional workshop of the United Nations project to support development of environmental-economic accounting (Nairobi, Kenya)
The GDSA Secretariat was invited to present at the the Closing Regional Workshop for the United Nations Development Account Project, organized by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) in collaboration with Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, UNECA, UN Environment and the World Bank. At the workshop, which took place in December 2017 in Nairobi, representatives from six GDSA countries presented on their natural capital accounting efforts, including new accounts that had been developed under the project by Uganda and Kenya. It was a great opportunity for participants to share their experience and discuss lessons learnt on the implementation on environmental-economic accounts as well as how to best communicate and disseminate the outputs of these efforts to affect decision-making.
Conservation Agreements training (Maun, Botswana)
From January 22nd - 24th, the GDSA Secretariat participated in a training offered by Conservation International (CI) to UNDP staff, partners, and farmers on Conservation Agreements. Conservation Agreements (CA) are a replicable rangelands management tool, and the GDSA Secretariat is facilitating fundraising efforts to expand efforts utilizing CA across Southern Africa.
Conservation International's Strategic Meetings on Sustainable Production and Climate Change
Conservation International (CI) invited the GDSA Secretariat to participate in two separate strategy meetings on sustainable production and climate change. The first meeting, took place in Nairobi in January, was designed to help inform CI's Africa strategy and action plan for sustainable production in the coming years. The GDSA Secretariat had the opportunity to present to CI colleagues and to a range of external partners as well, on the value of the GDSA for promoting sustainable production. For the second meeting, which took place in Washington, DC (USA) this month, the Executive Secretary for the GDSA participated in strategy sessions aimed at helping CI develop its global work on climate change issues.
World Wetlands Day celebration (Gaborone, Botswana)
The GDSA Secretariat facilitated a panel discussion at this year's World Wetlands Day celebration in Botswana on February 2nd. Hosted by the Botswana Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism the event was called, “Wetlands for a sustainable urban future” in Gaborone. The panel discussion provided with an opportunity for bringing together various stakeholders involved in biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management, including policy and decision makers in a forum to discuss the importance of conserving and managing wetlands as a means for obtaining a sustainable urban future.
ESPA African Final Conference (Nairobi, Kenya)
In March 2017, the GDSA Secretariat was happy to be invited to participate in the final workshop held by the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) program. Taking place in Nairobi this conference brought together policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to reflect on how new approaches to managing Africa's ecosystems could help empower vulnerable communities, improve wellbeing, and progress sustainable development. Through a process of presentations and group discussions, participants helped to shape a 'call to action' declaration for African decision makers, connecting key insights from across the whole 8-year ESPA programme to some of Africa's most pertinent issues relating to social and ecological systems.
Giants Club Summit (Kasane, Botswana)
Finally, the GDSA Secretariat was invited to participate in the Giants Club Summit (15-17 March) which took place in Kasane, Botswana. Not only was the GDSA logo on the program brochure but our Executive Secretary moderated a panel on the "Opportunities for the Okavango River Basin" which focused on discussing the need to manage natural capital and ecosystem service flows across national boundaries. The Summit was attended by the President of Botswana, Ministers of Environment from several GDSA countries, and a range of key players in the fight to save elephants in Africa. During the meeting, the GDSA Executive Secretary had the chance to meet briefly with Ministers from Uganda and Gabon as well as the new Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Environment.