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Inside the Presidency-Issue No. 8 of 2012

SADC Summit, Gaborone Declaration

Welcome to another edition of your weekly window into events and issues involving the Presidency. Today H.E. the President, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama will be departing for Luanda Angola, where he will attend the SADC Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government.

It is anticipated that the Summit will address issues pertaining to the political situation in the region and the SADC Integration Agenda and Regional Infrastructure Development Programme, along with common positions in the context of the upcoming African Union Assembly.

Also today the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Honourable Mokgweetsi Masisi, will formally open of the Information Services Offices in Lerala. The event will also be an Open Day in which Ministry of State President Staff will be interacting with members of the community to better inform them about their services, while receiving welcome customer feedback.

In addition other Ministry staff will today be in Gabane were they will be installing a garden project at the House of Hope as part of their monthly Community Service Day activities.

The week that was

Yesterday the President has the Guest of Honour at the Botswana Examination’s Council’s 3rd Annual Excellence awards, which were conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development with additional sponsorship by additional public and private sector institutions.

Also yesterday, His Excellency received a courtesy call from the Greek Orthodox Church Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Pope Theodoros II. The prelate is visiting Botswana to inaugurate the first See of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Botswana as well as bless the plot where the first Orthodox Cathedral will be built in Gaborone.
On Monday the President also met with Malawi’s Vice President, His Honour Mr. Khumo Kachali, who had come to Gaborone as a special envoy of the country’s President, H.E. Mrs. Joyce Banda. The visiting Vice President was also accompanied by his Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Ephrain Chiume. The content of the discussions was confidential, but it may be noted comes in the context of the forthcoming regional summits.

Also this week Minister Masisi held a well attended press briefing in order to inform media houses of next week’s three day Poverty Eradication Pitso, which will be held in the Remote Area settlement of Diphuduhudu.

The forum further served as a welcome opportunity for the Minister to once more clarify that Government’s Poverty Eradication Programme incorporates a wide range of economic empowerment packages and initiatives in addition to back yard gardens.  

At the same time the Minister observed that with Batswana still spending over a 100 million on horticulture imports, the potential contribution of rolling out more back yard gardens should not be dismissed.

On Monday the Minister also addressed residents in Senete village, where issues surrounding the rollout of the Poverty Eradication campaign also came up. During the meeting the Minister explained that the programme was in the first instance designed to assist the destitute to get a leg up in life.

The minister further urged members of the community to take advantage of opportunities available through other Government empowerment programmes and initiative, such as the Economic Diversification Drive. 

Gaborone Declaration

Last Friday the Summit for Sustainability in Africa concluded with the affirmation of the “Gaborone Declaration”, which is already being hailed as a new roadmap for environmentally friendly economic development.

The Declaration by ten African governments, along with a number of private sector and civil society institutions, sets out a set of principles and primary steps for realising the value of the natural capital being stewarded by societies for their sustainable development.

At its heart the declaration is the Summit’s consensus that the true value of natural resource capital, including the full global benefits of preserving biodiversity and the integrity of ecosystems, should be integrated into both national development and private corporate planning and reporting.

The Gaborone Declaration thus represents an important milestone in establishing an international movement that will ultimately mandates that the value of natural capital becomes mainstreamed as a pillar for future economic growth.

As a first step an addendum Communiqué to the Declaration invites governments and their accounting bodies to, among other goals, develop science-based methodologies on an experimental basis for ecosystem accounting as a complement to GDP and corporate performance.

The Communiqué also invites the United Nations Statistical Commission to assist African states in the implementation of its System of Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA) central framework as the initial version of the international standard for environmental-economic accounts and to further provide support for the training of national accountants, environmental statisticians and national technical staff.

As the Summit’s co-host and driving force, President Khama expressed his delight in the commitments contained in the Gaborone Declaration but emphasised that in the end the meeting will not be seen to have had any value for ordinary Africans if the agreed objectives are not effectively put into practice.

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