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Improve environment accountability - Khama

National budgeting systems have to change to reflect the increasing value and importance of environmental change, says Mr Tshekedi Khama, Minister of Environment Wildlife and Tourism.

When giving a keynote address at the launch of the Gaborone Declaration in Gaborone on October 7, Mr Khama said Africa needed to catch up with issues of environmental change and improve its environmental accountability.

“Africa can no longer agree to the use of GDP as a measure of social performance alone in the face of environmental degradation. We are all aware that GDP could increase while environmental degradation increases,” he said.

He added that fulfillment of the Gaborone Declaration required development of natural capital accounting systems such as that introduced by the World Bank, known as the Wealth Accounting Ecosystem Services (WAVES). Botswana, he said, was advancing with integrated national planning and away from siloed, sector based decision making.

“The country is working with Conservation International to conduct a sustainable environment diagnostic to inform the national vision beyond 2016 and the National Development Plan 11,” said Mr Khama.

He said it was hoped that the environmental diagnostic could be a blueprint for other African countries as an approach to responding to the commitments of the Gaborone Declaration as well as the Rio process.

Mr Khama said there was need for increase in policy advocacy, environmental education and research, as well as environmental information and knowledge management.

“These awareness dimensions will motivate efforts to expand understanding of national environmental endowments as well as pursue national accounting systems that take due consideration to the significance of environmental assets and services to national budgeting and accounting systems,” he said.

Mr Khama called upon all stakeholders to consider integrated national planning processes where partnerships can be built with development actors, private sector and civil sector.

He said the efforts will inform coherent policy and planning processes of regional economic bodies, noting that the introduction of natural capital accounting does not come with a heavy burden to Africa.

For his part, UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Anders Pedersen said the linkages between Africa’s natural capital and its social and economic needs cannot be addressed in isolation.

He said that the mounting challenges that the continent faces, including degradation of natural resources, unavoidable consequences of climate change and an uncertain global economic environment require a different development approach.

“It is imperative that the evidence of the implementation of the Gaborone Declaration will be on how it has contributed to moving Africa on to a sustainable development pathway,” said Mr Pedersen. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Thandy Tebogo

Location : GABORONE

Event : Gaborone Declaration launch

Date : Oct 09 Wed,2013

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