e2k and Events for Change worked with Chris Wayne & Associates to produce an important gathering of African heads of state in Gaborone, Botswana. The Summit for Sustainability in Africa immediately preceded the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, just a month later. e2k Associate Producer Shannon Ellis managed the registration process while e2k President Michael Olmstead directed the event, managed the screen graphics and assisted with the design of the event facilitation process.
As the 21st century unfolds, and a growing population increases its demand for food, water and energy, perhaps no region of the world will play a more pivotal role than Africa.
The Government of Botswana and Conservation International co-hosted the Summit for Sustainability in Africa, bringing together African heads of state and leaders from the private and independent sectors in a focused effort to explore how understanding, valuing and managing Africa’s natural capital can secure its future.
Laurene Powell Jobs served as an official host for the event and Prince Charles welcomed the attendees via an inspirational video.
The Summit brought together for the first time the heads of state of several African nations who share a bold vision for a more sustainable future, including His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, who was the keynote speaker.
Joining President Khama were heads of state and government from Liberia, Mozambique and Namibia — leaders with the courage to look past the short-term gains of unsustainable development and the will to ensure long-term prosperity through the stewardship of “natural capital,” or the wealth of benefits and services provided to people by biodiversity and ecosystems such as watersheds, forests, coral reefs, and grasslands.
Ministers from Rwanda, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Norway were also in attendance, joining the heads of state, along with global leaders from the private and public sectors. The collaborative discussions that ensued were focused on how, in partnership, the gathered nations can secure their future through development plans that properly value and account for their considerable natural capital.
In the Gaborone Declaration, the 10 participating African nations were unanimous in their support of several important conclusions, including the following:
• The “business as usual” model of natural resource exploitation has failed to promote sustainable growth, environmental integrity and social capital.
• The value of natural capital must be fully integrated into national and corporate accounting.
• Improved data collection and the sharing of best practices between countries will be critical for effective natural capital accounting.
In addition, participating countries reaffirmed their commitments to implementing all existing conventions and declarations that promote sustainable development, such as the United Nationas Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The Summit participants who were to attend Rio+20 in June 2012 planned to leverage the Gaborone Declaration as a roadmap for healthy, sustainable economies worldwide — inspiring the rest of the world to follow Africa’s lead.