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EPA MoFA NDForeign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has stated that unsustainable development can no longer be treated as an issue of the future as it is a threat of today.

The Liberian Foreign Minister stated that the longer people who think that sustainability is good for the earth delay to act, “the bolder and more horrendous people who do not believe in preserving the environment become in the their uncontrolled quest to advance their interest at the expense of the earth.”

According to a Foreign Ministry release, Min. Ngafuan delivered Special Statement, Monday, August 18, at the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA) Government Stakeholders Meeting in Monrovia.

The one-day stakeholders’ meeting was chaired by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Speaking further, Foreign Minister Ngafuan said the Liberian Government continues to be grateful to the Government of Botswana, Conservation International (CI) and other development partners for hosting the Summit of Sustainability in Africa in 2012, which resulted in the Gaborone Declaration.

“Liberia has been a part of the Gaborone process from the very inception. I can recall that in 2012 H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led a delegation including myself and the Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy to Botswana to participate along with nine other African countries in the signing of the Gaborone Declaration,” he stated.

According to him, the signing of the Gaborone Declaration by African countries in March of 2012, showed their unity of purpose to safe the African continent and the world. He said they had recommitted themselves to all international instruments including the RIO +20 and its principles.

He further stated that when they met in Gaborone, Botswana, they had concerned that “The historical pattern of natural resources exploitation has failed to promote sustained growth, environmental integrity and improved social capital; and economic growth and human well-being in Africa will be threatened if they did not undertake concerted action to halt and reverse the degradation and loss of healthy ecosystems and biodiversity, and to enhance society’s ability to adapt to climate change and environmental risks and scarcities.

“The Declaration is a welcome development because unlike other initiatives, it specifically addressed sustainable development and how to harness Africa’s potentials. I am glad that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has embarked on an awareness campaign to ensure practical steps are taken towards achieving the Gaborone Declaration platform in Liberia,” he added.

The Minister stated that the African continent is endowed with huge proportions of the world’s natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable. These include among a wide range of other endowments mineral reserves, agro-biodiversity, forests, wildlife, and marine and fresh water fisheries among others. “However, our natural resources are rarely taken fully into account through economic signals in markets, or in day to day decisions by businesses and citizens, nor reflected adequately in the accounts of society.

“Our natural resources have always proven to be the bedrock of the mostly extractive industries driven economies of the continent and continue to represent a significant source not only of revenue generation but for the development of its people. Here in Liberia for instance, Agriculture, including forestry, is critical to the economic development of Liberia and is the source of livelihood for approximately 70 percent of the population. In addition to rubber exports, the economy is also historically dependent heavily on iron ore, palm oil, Cocoa and Coffee.”

Speaking earlier, Hon. Anyaa Vohiri, Executive Director, EPA, stated that the outcome of the GDSA actually was a result of a number of meetings that had taken place. Ms. Vohiri said in May 2012, 10 African Heads of State, including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, met in Botswana to discuss the idea and hence the name: Gaborone Declaration.

According to her, the overarching objective of the Gaborone Submit was to dialogue on the issue of sustainability in development.  “This was a welcomed idea because sustainability in development has taken now a major place in speaking development language,” she stated. She stated that the signatories committed to implementing all provisions and declarations that promote sustainable development.

The organizers of the stakeholders’ Meeting, including the EPA, said the purpose of the Government Stakeholders’ Meeting was to discuss a vision for pursuing the commitments of the Gaborone Declaration in Liberia.-Press Release

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