African Leaders Discuss Sustainable Development on Continent

Posted May 24th, 2012 at 3:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Several African presidents, ministers and senior officials are meeting in Botswana's capital, Gaborone, to discuss sustainable development on the continent.

The two-day meeting takes place ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainability to be held in Rio de Janeiro in late June.

Botswana's President Seretse Khama Ian Khama told the gathering Thursday that Africa's natural resources are being depleted faster than ever. He said that many factors, including climate change, poverty, land degradation, desertification, water stress, food insecurity, health pandemics and natural disasters, continue to overwhelm Africa's development efforts.

His Liberian counterpart, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said that the continent's resources are widely exploited for export, with little benefit to local communities from which they come and at great environmental cost. She said Africans have to change the way business is done, adding one of the imperatives of any sustainable development is to “strike the right balance between our current needs and our global future.”

The summit, which ends Friday, will produce a declaration on sustainable development for Africa ahead of the Rio conference.