Tuesday, June 12, 2012

African nations agree to put a price on nature

Ten African nations have pledged to include the economic value of natural resources in their national accounts ahead of Rio+20 . The heads of state for governments of Botswana, Liberia, Mozambique and Namibia, along with ministers from Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania, signed the 'Gaborone Declaration' at the Summit for Sustainability in Africa (24-25 May), co-hosted by the Government of Botswana and Conservation International. The declaration undertakes to add the full value of forests, coral reefs, grasslands and other natural resources and ecosystems to the countries' national and corporate planning and reporting policies.The declaration also admits the continent's failure to achieve sustainable development in the past 20 years. The President of Botswana challenged all other nations — developed and developing — and the public and private sectors to follow this particular example. Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said the declaration reflected a move towards green development in Africa. It also demonstrates a recognition of the importance of natural resources to development. The World Bank is now hoping to persuade 50 countries and 50 private corporations to endorse natural capital accounting at the upcoming Rio+20 meeting — the UN Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Brazil (20–22 June). It said it would use the Gaborone Declaration to leverage new commitments at Rio+20 where the green economy will be high on the agenda.

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