31 May 2012

Africa: Sustainable Development Meeting Timely - Pohamba

Gaborone — President Hifikepunye Pohamba has described the recent Heads of State and Government Summit on Sustainability in Africa as "important and timely".

Pohamba said this last Thursday while addressing the plenary session of the two-day summit held in Gaborone, Botswana.

"I would like to thank President Seretse Khama Ian Khama, as well as the government and people of Botswana for hosting this important and timely Summit on Sustainability in Africa," he said.

While making reference to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which is slated for June this year in the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the Namibian leader explained that the subject of sustainable development has now been embraced by the entire international community as one of the critical issues to the well-being of humanity.

He said at the continental level, the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union had also deliberated on the issue of sustainability and its importance to the future of the continent and the wellbeing of its people.

"The Assembly also adopted a number of resolutions on the sustainability issue and the elements contained in these resolutions have been incorporated into the African Position on Sustainable Development, which was compiled as a contribution to the outcome document of the Rio +20 Conference," he said.

Pohamba further noted that Africa has historically suffered successive decades of economic plunder, uncontrolled and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources as well as the degradation of its natural environment.

He said there is thus a great need to promote sustainability in the context of socio-economic development in order to improve on the living conditions of all the people of Africa.

"Given the history of our continent and the common future that we seek to build, we can no longer engage in the dialogue on strengthening economic performance in Africa and improving the living conditions of our people, without giving due regard to the issues of sustainability.

We view this summit as another opportunity for African countries to share views and experiences in the promotion of sustainable development," he stressed.

President Pohamba also pointed out that the summit created a platform for African countries, together with their development partners and other stakeholders, to seek a common understanding on emerging issues such as the importance of the Green Economy to the wellbeing of humanity; the relevance of the management of natural capital to development in Africa; as well as the challenges that Africa faces in the continent's quest to strengthen economic growth, and acquire and utilise appropriate technologies in order to improve productivity, especially in the area of food production.

"These are indeed vital considerations, especially in the context of the ongoing preparations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro.

As a continent, Africa must thoroughly articulate the issues that are relevant to the social and economic development of our respective countries, and to the continent as a whole. It is for this reason that Namibia supports the African Consensus Statement to Rio +20," he said.

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