GDSA Executive Secretary Visits Kenya

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By Ally Jamah

On October 31, 2019, the Executive Secretary of the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA) Mr. Ruud Jansen visited GDSA member country Kenya, where he met senior officials of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

Mr. Jansen called on the Principal Secretary Ms. Betty Maina at the Ministry of Environment offices in Nairobi where they discussed key issues including strengthening technical cooperation between Kenya and the GDSA Secretariat, capacity building and information sharing between GDSA member countries among other things.

 “The discussions were very fruitful.  As a GDSA member country, Kenya is committed to pursuing the Declaration’s objectives with the support of the Secretariat. A country workshop hosted by the GDSA and the Kenya government has been put on the cards for 2020,” he said.

Mr. Jansen indicated that the Secretariat is working to support Kenya in its natural capital accounting priorities, promote Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) and help in sustainable land use management through collaborations with relevant government institutions.

“With these priorities and others, Kenya will work to meet the goals and objectives of the Gaborone Declaration and continue the track to sustainable development,” he said.

On her part, the PS said that the government of Kenya looked forward to deeper cooperation within GDSA to realize sustainable development in Africa. She undertook to find a replacement for the previous GDSA Focal Point (FP), Mr. Richard Mwendandu, who retired from the civil service recently.

Also present during the meeting included Mr. Alfred Gichu, Coordinator of the Kenya’s REDD+ readiness activities, Dr. Harun Warui, National Manager: Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development Project and Mr. Marindany Kirui, Coordinator of the National Ozone office.

Mr. Ruud Jansen (left) and Ms. Betty Maina (Second left) and other senior Ministry officials during the meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. ©PHOTO CREDITS: MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT & FORESTRY, REPUBLIC OF KENYA

Mr. Ruud Jansen (left) and Ms. Betty Maina (Second left) and other senior Ministry officials during the meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. ©PHOTO CREDITS: MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT & FORESTRY, REPUBLIC OF KENYA

GDSA Welcomes Angola’s US$60m Commitment to Clear Landmines from Key National Parks

Elephants in a section of the Okavango that extends across parts of Angola, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe © Jon McCormack

Elephants in a section of the Okavango that extends across parts of Angola, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe © Jon McCormack

The Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA) has welcomed the US$60 million commitment by GDSA Associate Member Angola to clear landmines in two key national parks that form part of southern Africa’s 520,000-square-kilometer biodiversity-rich Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA).

Angola’s Environment Minister Paula Francisco Coelho announced the five-year commitment on June 17 to clear minefields in Luengue-Luiana and Mavinga national parks in the country’s southeastern province of Cuando Cubango.

GDSA’s Executive Secretary Ruud Jansen said the move will enhance efforts to unlock significant ecotourism opportunities to benefit Angolans while supporting conservation and sustainable use of the region’s natural resources.

“The GDSA and Conservation International have recently started a natural capital mapping and fresh water health index assessment in the upper reaches of the Quito and Cuando river basins in Angola as part of our cooperation with the government of Angola, National Geographic Society, the Wild Bird Trust and other organizations.. We hope that this activation exercise will be extended to cover other parts of the Okavango Basin and the KAZA landscape,” he said.

 “Doing so would support further efforts of natural resource mapping, ecosystem management and restoration which will also support the development potential of Mavinga and Luengwe-Luiana National Parks for enhanced biodiversity and sustainable tourism.”

 Mr. Jansen said that the clearance of landmines holds he potential to re-establish a “wildlife corridor” between northern Botswana and southern Angola through the Namibian Caprivi strip and ease the elephant population pressure in Botswana while allowing enhanced anti-poaching efforts to minimize biodiversity loss in the region.

KAZA TFCA was set up in 2011 by Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe to manage the vast cross-border area through conservation and sustainable tourism while allowing wildlife, including elephants, to move freely across national frontiers.

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Gaborone Declaration Secretariat Hosts Focal Points Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya

Attendees of the GDSA Focal Points meeting including: the GDSA Secretariat, member country delegations, and Conservation International staff, pose at the Fairview Hotel in Kenya on February 25. (CI Photo/Naomi taylor)

Attendees of the GDSA Focal Points meeting including: the GDSA Secretariat, member country delegations, and Conservation International staff, pose at the Fairview Hotel in Kenya on February 25. (CI Photo/Naomi taylor)

The Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa Secretariat hosted a successful meeting of Focal Points at the Fairview Hotel in Kenya February 25-6. Representatives from ten African nations (Botswana, Kenya,  Gabon, Ghana, Liberia,  Mozambique, Namibia,  South Africa,  Tanzania and Ugandagathered together in Nairobi to  determine the way forward. The meeting achieved the following four objectives: discuss and agree upon the Secretariat’s work plan, share and agree on Terms of Reference for the Focal Points, agree on methods for enhanced communication between Focal Points and the Secretariat, and discuss fundraising and communications initiatives to support the advancement of sustainable development in Gaborone Declaration countries.  

Government of Botswana Permanent Secretary Jimmy   Opelo makes opening remarks. (CI Photo/Naomi taylor)

Government of Botswana Permanent Secretary Jimmy Opelo makes opening remarks. (CI Photo/Naomi taylor)

Opening remarks were made by the Governments of Botswana and Kenya. In the words of Government of Botswana Permanent Secretary Jimmy Opelo: “The Gaborone Declaration provides a platform for countries to share experiences in order to learn best practices from other Gaborone Declaration signatory countries as well as for each country to showcase what other countries can learn from them.” MrRichard Mwendandu, on behalf of the Government of Kenya, presented the Botswana government and meeting attendees with a copy of their recently completed Natural Capital Atlas. The Gaborone Declaration Executive Secretary Ruud Jansen provided an overview of the Gaborone Declaration Secretariat's activities to date. He discussed the modus operandi of the Secretariat and charted the way ahead. Presentations on the Outcomes were led by representatives from Conservation International (CI). Kim Reuter presented on Natural Capital Accounting (Outcome 2), which has generated great interest among Gaborone Declaration signatory countries for support and capacity building in this area, as well as Sustainable Development Planning (Outcome 1). 

Ci's Africa + madagascar field division Natural Capital Accounting Director Kim Reuter presents on the results of research into the current status of NCA in Gaborone declaration signatory countries. (ci photo/naomi taylor)

Ci's Africa + madagascar field division Natural Capital Accounting Director Kim Reuter presents on the results of research into the current status of NCA in Gaborone declaration signatory countries. (ci photo/naomi taylor)

Jaco Venter presented on Gaborone Declaration and the Corporate Sector/Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (Outcome 4) and Environmental Monitoring/Vital Signs (Outcome 3). The afternoon focused on resource mobilization, providing an overview of and private funding, public funding and bilateral/multilateral funding opportunities. Finally, Tawana Babili (Gaborone Declaration Secretariat) presented on the JRS Biodiversity Foundation project and next steps. The day concluded with discussion and video interviews of all the Focal Points, documenting the focal points’ perspectives on emerging linkages between the Gaborone Declaration and sustainable development initiatives in their countries.   

On the second day, CI VP and former Minister of the Environment Carlos Manuel Rodriguez presented on the Gaborone Declaration and the Sustainable Development Goals, and a spirited discussion was held on how the Gaborone Declaration can help achieve these in the African contextAttendees then broke into groups by country and facilitation groups were held in ten areas key to the advancement of the Gaborone Declaration. 

Gaborone DEclaration for sustainability in africa Executive Secretary Ruud Jansen, center, leads discussion during the Focal Point meeting as ci's carlos manuel rodriguez, left, looks on. (CI photo/naomi taylor)

Gaborone DEclaration for sustainability in africa Executive Secretary Ruud Jansen, center, leads discussion during the Focal Point meeting as ci's carlos manuel rodriguez, left, looks on. (CI photo/naomi taylor)

The remainder of the workshop was dedicated to the creation and refinement of the Nairobi Statement. The Secretariat’s work plan was accepted, with a commitment by the Secretariat to further align it with the Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement (NDCs), CBD Aichi Targets and other international commitments. Focal Points accepted their Terms of Reference and committed to providing the Secretariat with information about ongoing and priority projects — civil society, private sector, or government-led projects — that fall within the scope of the Gaborone Declaration objectives, thereby better highlighting ongoing sustainability initiatives within the signatory countries.  Time bound  resource  mobilization goals were set by the Secretariat together with the Focal Points. On communications, the Secretariat has committed to creating a platform for  learning and exchange so that Focal Points can stay engaged and aware of sustainable development progress in all Gaborone Declaration countries.  

High   Commissioner   of Botswana to Kenya, Ambassador John   Moreti makes closing remarks. (CI photo/naomi taylor)

High Commissioner of Botswana to Kenya, Ambassador John Moreti makes closing remarks. (CI photo/naomi taylor)

The meeting was closed by the High Commissioner of Botswana to Kenya, Ambassador John Moreti, who expressed appreciation of the meeting results and the clear way forward. 

Read the full Nairobi statement here. Presentations, photo galleries and other materials will soon be available on the website (sign up for email updates below to be the first to know). Congratulations to the Gaborone Declaration Secretariat, Focal Points and member countries on a productive meeting and a milestone agreement.