Gaborone: We, the participants at the Summit for Sustainability in Africa, meeting from 24 to 25 May 2012 in Gaborone, Botswana; Reaffirm our commitment to implement all conventions and declarations that promote Sustainable Development, in particular:
• The African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (1968);
• The Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (1972);
• The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992), its principles and its programme of action also known as Agenda 21; • The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (1992);
• The United Nations Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals (2000);
• The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002);
Welcome the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development "Rio+20" as an important opportunity to urgently reaffirm commitments from governments, private sector, civil society and community leaders to sustainable development that provides for the economic, social and environmental security of current and future generations, building upon the outcomes of this Summit for Sustainability in Africa;
Reaffirm our commitment to the Africa Consensus Statement to Rio+20 and the Malabo Decision on Africa's Preparations for the Rio+20 Conference;
Are concerned that:
* The historical pattern of natural resources exploitation has failed to promote sustained growth, environmental integrity and improved social capital;
* Economic growth and human well-being in Africa will be threatened if we do not undertake concerted action to halt and reverse the degradation and loss of healthy ecosystems and biodiversity, and to enhance society's ability to adapt to climate change and environmental risks and scarcities;
* Current development decisions are driven by fundamental human needs for food, water, energy, and health security as well as employment and economic growth;
* The abovementioned development needs must be addressed with sufficient concern for each other, for their impact on our peoples' quality of life and our countries' ecological health and productivity, and for the eradication of poverty and inequality;
* Watersheds, forests, fisheries, coral reefs, soils, and all natural resources, ecosystems and biodiversity constitute our vital natural capital and are central to long-term human well-being, and therefore must be protected from overuse and degradation and, where necessary, must be restored and enhanced;
Are in agreement that:
* Urgent, concerted actions be undertaken to restore and sustain the ability of the Earth to support human communities, to ensure the long-term integrity of biodiversity and ecosystem services in effective protected area networks, to mitigate environmental risks and scarcities, and thereby to contribute to the prosperity of future generations;
* These actions must be led by countries as a tenet of their sovereign self-interest and in alliance with the community of nations, respecting common but differentiated responsibilities;
* The abovementioned actions must increase our knowledge, technology, tools, and capacities to value and manage natural capital and to sustainably improve our citizens' economic and social well-being;
* Effective governance and equity are essential to achieving these goals of sustainable development;
* Disparities in economic growth and development priorities are evident between the developed and developing countries;
* The engagement of governments and citizens along with the dedicated support of the private sector and other investors, donors and advisors is vital to the success of this collective vision;
* This vision must translate into actions that are specific, targeted, and timely;
Hereby undertake to pursue the following overarching objective and concrete actions, in cooperation with other countries and partners, and to share information on progress on these actions on an annual basis:
To ensure that the contributions of natural capital to sustainable economic growth, maintenance and improvement of social capital and human well-being are quantified and integrated into development and business practice
* Integrating the value of natural capital into national accounting and corporate planning and reporting processes, policies, and programmes, in agreed efforts, including the appended Communiqué on Natural Capital Accounting,
* Building social capital and reducing poverty by transitioning agriculture, extractive industries, fisheries and other natural capital uses to practices that promote sustainable employment, food security, sustainable energy and the protection of natural capital through protected areas and other mechanisms,
* Ecosystem restoration measures, as well as actions that mitigate stresses on natural capital,
* Building the knowledge, data, capacity and policy networks to promote leadership and new models in the field of sustainable development, and to increase momentum for positive change,
* Effective communication and public education.
Each of us, no matter our stage of development, will start to implement this agreement, consistent with our respective capacities and resources;
In recognition of the many encouraging steps being taken towards sustainable development across the African continent, we hereby encourage other nations to endorse this Gaborone Declaration and agree to join in these initiatives.
Communiqué on Natural Capital Accounting
Recognizing the limitations of GDP as a measure of well-being and sustainable growth that values environmental and social aspects of progress;
Underscoring the importance of natural capital accounting as a tool for mainstreaming natural capital into informed economic decision-making;
Recognizing the adoption by the UN Statistical Commission of the 2012 System of Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA) central framework as the initial version of the international standard for environmental-economic accounts, subject to further revision, acknowledging that further improvements on measurement are necessary on specific issues;
Noting the challenge to build national institutional capacity to implement the SEEA, including the organization and collection of data, and to demonstrate its benefits to policy makers;
Appreciating that there are many successful experiences and best practices on natural capital accounting and that a key challenge we face is how to scale up, replicate and adapt what we know works;
Welcoming that Rio+20 offers an important opportunity for the international community to mobilize support for the implementation of previously stated commitments to implementing natural capital accounting.
Invite Governments, their respective accountancy standards bodies, and the United Nations system, including international financial institutions, and other international organizations, as appropriate, working in partnership with Major Groups and other stakeholders to take action as follows:
* Develop institutional arrangements to strengthen the implementation of natural capital accounting; . Develop science-based methodologies on an experimental basis for ecosystem accounting as a complement to GDP and corporate performance; . Pilot and demonstrate the economic, social and environmental aspects of scaled up and integrated approaches to natural capital accounting.
Further invite the United Nations Statistical Commission to assist in the implementation of the SEEA and to provide support for the training of national accountants, environmental statisticians and national technical staff.
Signed by National Representatives and Signatory Countries
- Readers can access a pdf version here; it includes the full set of signatories to the Declaration.