By Tessa Mildenhall, Communications Director for the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa
The 2015 Pan African Business + Biodiversity Forum, held in Senchi, Ghana, has recommended that the private sector accelerate their efforts to consider and address their impacts on nature and the services it provides. Through a statement penned by more than 200 participants, the Gaborone Declaration was singled out as a vehicle through which organizations can link their efforts as they move forward in finding ways to achieve sustainable development that is inclusive and profitable for all.
According to Kim Reuter, Director for Natural Capital Accounting at Conservation International, this was an important place for the natural capital accounting discussion to take place as it brought together key actors from dozens of countries and included non-profit organizations, private sector, and government realms. The private sector, one of nature’s largest customers, has the ability to transform our landscapes for the better by adopting positive corporate practices and policies. Dr. Reuter, who participated in a panel discussion on Natural Capital Accounting, and gave a presentation entitled, "Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa: Opportunities for Natural Capital Accounting," was excited about the private sector’s participation and commitment to a variety of actions to advance sustainable development in Africa. These commitments include:
- Identifying, developing, sharing and mainstreaming information and best practices on Key Biodiversity Area safeguards to allow businesses to seize opportunities and manage risk;
- Promoting collaborative business and biodiversity initiatives throughout Africa, evidenced by establishing Business and Biodiversity initiatives at national and regional level, as mandated by the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD) in its creation of the Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity Platform; and,
- Contributing efforts and resources, along with governments, civil society and academia, to the creation and sustenance of business and biodiversity initiatives to maximize associated benefits.
In the coming years, sustainable development and green economy initiatives will become increasingly critical for both national governments and the private sector. As such, the Secretariat will work diligently to ensure that the Gaborone Declaration serves as an effective and leading platform to support the private sector in addressing sustainability issues on the continent.