Africa has been asked to ensure that it does not deplete its natural capital to satisfy its daily needs.
The caution, which comes at a time several African countries continue to strike invaluable resources, was voiced at the Summit for Sustainability in Africa held in Gaborone, Botswana, last week.
At the summit, Rwanda was cited among model countries in conservation agenda.
The commendation, according to delegates at the Summit, is based on the country's environment management and conservation efforts.
Rwanda has put in place measures to safeguard the environment while realising economic growth, including adoption of a National Environmental Policy followed by the enactment of an organic law determining the modalities of protection, conservation and promotion of environment - all focused on overall support for sustainable national development.
The country has also been globally acclaimed for the effectiveness with which government implemented the ban of polythene bags, which were banned in 2004.
The Minister of Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, delivered a statement to the summit on behalf of President Paul Kagame.
The Rwandan delegation, which included the Director General of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), Rose Mukankomeje, also met several global private partners with some of them promising to develop conservation projects in the country, according to a statement.
In a communiqué dubbed "The Gaborone Declaration," participants at the summit agreed on the need to undertake urgent, concerted actions to restore and sustain the ability of the earth to support human communities; ensure the long-term integrity of biodiversity and ecosystem services in effective protected area networks.
This, they said, will mitigate environmental risks and scarcities, thereby contributing to the prosperity of future generations.
"The engagement of governments and citizens, along with 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," they said.
The actions, the participants added, must be led by countries as a principle of their sovereign self-interest and in alliance with the community of nations, respecting common but differentiated responsibilities.
The participants expressed concern that the historical pattern of natural resources exploration has failed to promote sustained growth, environmental integrity and improved social capital.
Economic growth and human well-being in Africa, they warned, will be threatened unless countries undertake concerted action to halt and reverse the degradation and loss of healthy ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as enhance society's ability to adapt to climate change and environmental risks and scarcities.
Noting that current development decisions are driven by fundamental human needs for food, water, energy, as well as employment and economic growth, the participants urged governments to address these needs with sufficient concern for each other so as to eradicate poverty and impact on countries' ecological health and productivity.
"Watersheds, forests, fisheries, coral reefs, soil and all natural resources, ecosystems and biodiversity constitute the vital natural capital of any country and are central to long-term human well-being,"
"Therefore, they must be protected from overuse and degradation and, where necessary, must be restored and enhanced," they said.
Meanwhile, Minister Kamanzi and his entourage later met Rwandans working in Botswana, numbering 30, as part of efforts to bond Rwandan communities in Southern Africa.
The meeting was convened by the High Commission of Rwanda to Botswana.
The Rwandan community in Botswana is mainly composed of businesses, medical doctors and IT professional.
The High Commissioner to Botswana, Vincent Karega, briefed the community on the developments in Rwanda, highlighting the tremendous changes in sectors of health, infrastructure and education, according to statement sent to The New Times.
Karega also used the occasion to emphasise on the value of unity among Rwandans and reaffirmed the government's support to their endeavours geared at making their contribution to their mother-land.
Kamanzi echoed Karega's remarks, calling on Rwandans outside the country to contribute to their country's development.