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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