May 24, 2012

Join the conversation: A Summit for Sustainability in Africa

Challenges of food security, poverty, climate change, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss have risen to the top of the African development agenda. To address these issues, African leaders are seeking to move beyond zero-sum strategies that solve one problem but exacerbate others. The Inaugural Summit for Sustainability in Africa this Thursday and Friday, convened by The Government of Botswana, in partnership with Conservation International (CI), is bringing together these leaders in government, business, and other institutions to design strategies in the pursuit of environmentally sustainable economic development that is mutually beneficial to African nations and their investment partners.

This Summit is a recognition of the unprecedented demands being placed on rural landscapes of Sub-Saharan Africa – for smallholder livelihood security, for commercial agricultural enterprises, for urban demands of food, fibre, and fuel products, and for biodiversity conservation to ensure the provision of ecosystem services. However, in the landscapes prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa dominated by agriculture, new approaches and practices to satisfy multiple demands for people, food, and nature must be explored. Integrated landscape management approaches offer a strategy for conserving natural capital and generating ecosystem services, while also sustaining diverse agricultural production systems and livelihood strategies.

Udzungwa National Park’s Sanje Waterfall overlooks farmland that depends on its water, Tanzania. Photo credit: Benjamin Drummond/CI

The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative place great importance on the issues with which these leaders are grappling over the course of the next two days. The outcomes of the Summit will be reflected in what organizers envision as a concluding Gaborone Declaration. The Summit’s emphasis on innovative public-private will then take these messages to the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil in late June.

Visit the Summit Website for more information and to watch the livestream of the event from 9:00-16:00 Central African Time. Two of the high-level panel discussions will focus on transitioning agriculture to a more sustainable system that protects natural capital and rural livelihoods alike.

To learn more, read the Quick Reference Guide on Integrated Agricultural Landscape Approaches. Please also find an information brief on the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative’s work in Africa.

Follow on Twitter:  @ConservationOrg; @BWGovernment; and @ecoagpartners. Join the conversation with #sustainafrica.

Watch the Video Blog  about the summit’s key goals from CI’s Frank Hawkins.

The Summit is co-hosted by His Excellency Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama President of the Republic of Botswana; Conservation International co-founder, Chairman and CEO Peter Seligmann; Laurene Powell Jobs, Chair and Founder of Emerson Collective; and S. Rob Walton, Chairman of the Board, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

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