RICHARD HARRIS: Hello. I think keeping to time, we should -- we should recommence. Thank you all for sticking with the events through the afternoon. I must confess that I was a recent arrival, so I have not heard -- had the benefit of hearing everything that has come before this. So -- but I'm sure we will have some lively discussion as the afternoon progresses.
So anyway, thank you all for coming. I'm Richard Harris; I'm a science correspondent with National Public Radio, and I'm supposed to welcome you again to the fifth session of today's Council on Foreign Relations and Conservation International Symposium. And just a reminder, this is on the record. It's being, I guess, webcast and recorded and all those things. So discretion is advised. (Laughter.)
And this hour's session is titled "Government Efforts to Promote Conservation and Sustainability," and the question is, are they working? And here to answer that question definitively, I hope, is from close to me to over -- moving to the right is Stewart Patrick, who's a senior fellow and director of -- on the Program on International Institutions and Global Governance here at CFR; and Ambassador Teblelo (ph) -- did I say that right? -- Tebelelo Seretse, so who's the ambassador of the Republic of Botswana to the United States, and we're delighted to have her here today. And to her right is Katherine Sierra, who's a senior fellow for global economy and development at the Brookings Institution, and once upon a time she worked at the World Bank. So she has great institutional memory.
KATHERINE SIERRA: It's all my --
SIERRA: It's all my fault.
HARRIS: It's all your fault, yeah. (Laughter.) So we will tap on that wonderful institutional memory as we go along.
So I guess I think previous panels have pretty well established the need for sustainable natural capital -- clean water, forests that keep growing, pollinators, soils and so on. And I guess -- so the overarching question is how well -- how well are governments doing? And I'm going to turn that first to -- that question -- that big, broad question over to you, Stewart. And tell us, how are governments doing? Is this a success story? I mean, maybe I should back up for a moment and say there are lots of issues on the global agenda, right? And this is one.
STEWART PATRICK: There are -- there are multiple issues on the global agenda, but I think -- you know, I think it's fair to say that when it comes to global Sustainability and global environment, to the degree that there has been a lot of international attention, it's been hugely focused on the climate change issue, there again obviously with mixed and actually quite disappointing results.
I mostly focus in my work on the multilateral level. And I have to say that when it comes to international cooperation to halt the deforestation around the world, degradation of arable land, the overfishing at -- around the world and the illegal logging, et cetera, I think that it's -- the results have been quite dismal. We've heard a lot about some of the ramifications of that. The -- 40 percent of the global population is going to be living in water-stressed environments, the fact that, you know, 70, perhaps 80 percent of fish species overfished, et cetera or just barely recovering or having collapsed. There are a lot of statistics that are really incredibly depressing.
And I think at the multilateral level, there are a number of reasons why the international community hasn't done particularly well. One of the -- one of the reasons is just at an institutional level, there -- it's an incredibly fragmented global system of international organizations. And if you take the United Nations, for instance, there are multiple agencies that are allegedly responsible for dealing with different aspects of the environment. But there certainly is no world environmental organization. I'm not suggesting that would necessarily be the answer to our prayers, but it's -- you know, the major entity, there has been the U.N. environmental program, which doesn't even have sort of the juice of the United Nations Development Program.
They're underpowered, they tend to be -- have inadequate financing. The commitments that are made in terms of the treaties, even -- certainly, with the institutions, but even some of the treaties -- they tend to be nonbinding or at least nonenforcable. And so there's not really much teeth to them.
And I think a lot of the disappointment that you see coming out of the Rio Summits was just a recognition that, you know, this U.N.-level effort, that the broad, multilateral effort to actually deal with conservation and Sustainability is not really the way to go and that we're going to have to be looking at alternative avenues. And that will include sort of coalitions and minilateral cooperation -- plurilateral, it's sometimes called amongst interested governments -- it's also going to include a lot more public-private initiatives.
And it's also going to include the initiatives like we saw at Rio, which is one of the bright spots, was this coalition of 50 of the biggest megacities, the mayors in effect -- you know, Mike Bloomberg was down there -- getting together and say, we're going to try to learn from each other about how we deal, for instance, with waste management in our cities. But overall at the multilateral level, it's been dismal. And the United States has not always been the leader in this.
HARRIS: Kathy, let me ask you. Is this -- I mean, should we just give up on the World Bank and so on? I mean, are there examples -- are there examples of things that would work -- that do work, some institutions, some treaty, something to give us a -- to give us a flavor for, you know, any successes we could build on? Or is it all as dismal as -- (chuckles) -- as we just heard?
SIERRA: Well, I mean, I would -- I would agree that it's dismal in terms of today's -- what's actually happening on the ground. I would not agree that it's dismal in terms of, I think, where one can seize some opportunities going forward.
If you go back 20 years ago, the first Rio Summit, when people thought about conservation and biodiversity, this was still very much disconnected from economic development, from sustainable development. And it was nice to have -- the GEF was put in place, some funding for biodiversity, but it wasn't fully integrated into economic planning. And there are lot of conversations going on at the government level and multilateral levels about how you bring those two things together.
My sense is that's no longer the argument that people are having. I think that it's pretty well understood in development communities. I think in many countries -- we're going to hear from Botswana -- certainly there, Costa Rica, Brazil and others, is that you can't actually develop if you don't harness your natural resources.
So where do you go from there? I would agree that the -- sort of the top-down legally binding or not so binding agreements that come from U.N. conferences are not very successful. And what we're seeing instead is this coalition-building. And the coalitions that are much more innovative, that are bringing together governments, both from the emerging economies, the poorest economies, some that have some funding, the private sector, civil society, in ways that are kind of harnessing really innovative packages.
There's one -- and I see Peter Seligmann here -- that was the Critical Ecosystems Partnership, which has been around for about 10 years trying to do this, trying to scale up from the -- from very (pilot ?) to really focus on hot spots. Another that just came out of Rio, which is looking at natural capital accounting, and saying can we get a coalition of governments, central banks, ministries of finance to really put into place natural capital accounting, and on and on, we can go.
HARRIS: Yeah, I'd like to get back to that topic in a little more depth, but I want to first of all ask Ambassador Seretse: From your point of view, Botswana is a relative success story, I think, for conservation of natural resources in Africa. And I wonder, to what extent was that either helped or hindered by the international treaties, et cetera, that are out -- that are out there?
AMBASSADOR TEBELELO SERETSE: Well, I think a lot of the people are not aware that Botswana is a leader, not only in conservation, but in a lot of things. But one -- looking at the geography of where Botswana is located, one would know that Botswana is an older democracy, compared to our neighbors, landlocked as we are. If you look at South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia -- (inaudible) -- DRC, a lot of those countries got their independence after Botswana.
Not only that, Botswana was blessed with good leadership. And traditionally, one would know that the African society had its own conservation methods, a lot of the African countries, and Botswana was one such. For instance, plowing in Botswana couldn't be done before the chief declared that it was time to plow. Hunting couldn't be done before the chief said it was time to hunt. If you look at those periods, you will find that the hunting season was when the animals had multiplied. So it was sort of an archaic way of conservation. But then we've got to learn as a country that 40 percent, for instance, of Botswana is reserved for parks, for fauna, for birds, some sort of sanctuary.
Now, I suspect that that percentage may be the highest in the world, where 40 percent of the country is reserved for conservation. Of course, learning from other countries in partnerships with them and our membership to a lot of international organizations and signatory -- (inaudible) -- like member societies of the Basel Convention, that has helped us to push conservation at a higher level.
HARRIS: Could you explain what you mean by that?
SERETSE: It has helped us because, number one, we are blessed with good leadership. Number two, we are forced to comply to the laws -- international laws -- that we have ratified which we are party to.
So before you do a project in Botswana, for instance, you are then asked, where is the environmental impact assessment study of that? Otherwise construction -- or otherwise, it's not going to be approved for that. So where did we know, as a country, about the environmental impact assessment studies, but now it is part of our law, as we are learning too.
But also, to just emphasize the fact that being a mining-led growth country and being dependent on one natural resource -- basically, being diamonds -- it meant mining, because for your information, Botswana is the number one producer of world diamonds by value, and I think a lot of people don't know that, and really -- but now we have the powerful engine of Google. (Laughter.)
So mining means interfering with the ground. So therefore, one must necessarily think about, how are you going to rehabilitate the land? How are you going to reclaim it? So it's those strategies that force us to be -- (inaudible). There are two things in Botswana. As you know, our law enforcers don't -- our police don't carry guns. But there are two areas where you know our police is good. It's when you are trying to mess with the diamonds, or you are trying to mess with the animals. (Laughter.) So if you try any of those two, you know you will definitely get into trouble.
But the security element also comes from the fact that we are not an island. We have neighboring countries and, being landlocked, whatever happens in our neighboring countries affects us. It affects our security. And we identify tourism as another engine of growth for the country when we are thinking of diversification from -- away from diamonds. And because of that, we were forced to look into tourism and say, how do we -- how do protect our fauna? How do we protect our flora? How do we protect our animals? This is why our tourism policy is high-value, low-volume. And with that, it's an open invitation to the Okavango.
HARRIS: So if only -- if only every nation was rich in diamond wealth. But -- (laughter) --
PATRICK: Well, what's interesting -- I see and wanted to -- wanted to pick up on -- and having seen the Okavango -- and that's your true jewel, if I may so so.
SERETSE: Yes, yes.
PATRICK: But I wanted to pick up on the issue of diamonds, because of course, if one looks around the world, in this -- you know, elsewhere in the continent, diamonds have had quite another connotation. Not always a girl's best friend, and in fact, really leading to the sort of conflict that we're making this sort of natural resources conflict link here.
But what's interesting in the -- in the diamond trade is that there has been a certification scheme --
SERETSE: The Kimberley Process.
PATRICK: The Kimberley process, right, which is -- which has been able to sort of do genetic -- I mean, not genetic, but fingerprinting of diamonds to make sure that they're sourced from places that are -- that are conflict-free. Now, there have been imperfections with that scheme, but one thing that's interesting and is a potential lesson from Botswana's experience is that those sorts of certification processes can be applied to other areas.
One area that's really at the frontier of this is certification for timber. You can now, through DNA fingerprinting, figure out where the -- where the actual original source for some of this lumber is. And the European Union, for instance, has just passed a major law which forces anybody who is importing logs or is using the wood to actually make other products to be able to certify now that it is coming from a conflict-free area and it is not simply the product -- fruits of illegal logging. So I think --
HARRIS: So is that -- is that part of an international agreement, or is that sort of a unilateral decision by the EU to do that?
PATRICK: Well, that's a unilateral decision by the EU to do that for now. There are -- there are a number of parallel national processes or regional processes that have gone on, you know, that in -- as part of the -- what's the name -- Dodd-Frank -- the Dodd-Frank legislation, in the wake of the global financial crisis.
There's a provision in there that was inserted, in part at the -- at the behest and with the motivation of Bob Hormats, the undersecretary for economics at the State Department, that U.S. firms and corporations guarantee that if they're involved in extractive industries that they're not getting minerals that are, in a sense, the proceeds of conflict because it was trying to get at this -- the fact that these minerals are driving conflict in the competition over the honey pot, if you will -- less scarcity than honey pot as the ambassador -- I mean, the assistant secretary was saying in an earlier panel.
That is -- those sorts of parallel national processes, they need to be scaled up to more of an international agreement, I would say. There is no such agreement -- there's a forestry stewardship council, but it's largely a private-led situation which is with the backing of the Food and Agriculture -- Food and Agricultural Organization, but it is not an international treaty or regime of any sort of binding sort. And I think that's where we'd like to move, if you get it at the multilateral level.
HARRIS: Yeah. Katherine, let me ask you if you have -- the ambassador was talking about ideas that were -- it sounded like they were more home grown with some -- with some intellectual input from the international community. But the question is, could international organizations take those ideas and propagate them, as opposed to sort of -- I mean, we tend to think of treaties as imposing things from the top down, but here's an example of some ideas that have -- were home grown, and could those be globalized, in a sense?
SIERRA: You know, I think that's really where the international, at least the Multilateral Development Banks and the UNEPs of the world are trying to go. I think -- you know, again, going back 15-20 years, those organizations were the fountain of all knowledge, they came up with strategies, worked in the countries to put them in place. That's old school and that's really not where I think people are going.
So let me take the example which I was going to bring up, which is the -- can one start thinking about valuing natural capital and putting it into your economic accounts, yeah? So there is a -- this has been an idea that's been around for a long time. It's been studied by many economists. I think the theory is all there. But it wasn't happening. So --
HARRIS: Could you explain exactly -- a little bit more what that is?
SIERRA: It's -- instead of just having a pure GDP, which is based on the typical economic measures, it's saying let's value the land in Botswana. Let's value the water resources in Botswana and in countries. But many ideas how to do that, no standard of how to do it. So a coalition's come together, came out -- prepared for and came out of the Rio+20 discussions, of saying, let's bring together countries that are interested in doing this.
There's over 20 countries, I believe, that are interested in doing it. Botswana's one. Costa Rica's another. Chile, I believe, is another. Let's have a conversation and get best practices from north and south, south south, north south, about how you might go about doing this. And let's see if we can start to build that standard.
Now, obviously at some point you want to say, let's propagate that universally across. But if we can get a large enough set or subset of countries that say, we believe that this may be one of the ways that we can improve our decision-making, start building into our trade-off processes and really economic and value-driven -- financially value-driven metrics, it'll help us. And if we show the world this is working, we can maybe make that the standard.
HARRIS: Ambassador Seretse, why are you interested, or why is your country interested in doing that?
SERETSE: You know, we were fortunate that when the -- (inaudible) -- started, which was in '66 -- or let me just start with a caveat, saying that it has to be recognized that a lot of the African countries are young democracies. And as young democracies, they would have challenges of young democracies. And I think often we are too quick to judge, number one, to treat Africa as if it's a country. And then that tends to cloud us from which African countries are doing certain things correctly, because we continue to talk about Africa. But I'm sure it's none of you here. But I'm sure it's a matter of you're here, you talk Botswana -- (laughter) -- (inaudible) -- Nigeria, et cetera.
Now, having said that, each of the countries would then have its own unique challenges that if we are talking sustainability, if we are talking governance, if we are talking conservation, that would be unique to that country as opposed to the other.
But Botswana was fortunate in that our leaders took education as the number-one resource. So the revenues which were coming from diamonds -- and it was only diamonds next to (beef ?) -- was channeled almost 40, 50 percent to education. To this day, Botswana provides free education from primary to university, and of course, then infrastructure. And good governance ensures security, because if there is no good governance, you can forget about talking about security -- not just security of resources but security of anything.
And then of course, if you have corruption, that is also something that is going to impede any sort of progress. And Botswana for over 70 years we've been ranked the least corrupt. But we don't spend (there ?) We have mechanisms and institutions -- the ombudsman, the -- (inaudible) -- of corruption -- all the other structures, a court system that works, that people, number one, can have confidence in the leadership of the country. And that helps now.
When we now come to valuing what we have, the only asset we have for a long time was diamonds, and then next we looked at tourism. But now the question is, when the diamonds dry -- because they will someday, and I don't know when -- what do we have as a country to move the country forward?
And what we have: the resources, our people who are now educated. We will then also have our wildlife. So you can't -- (inaudible) -- value that because how else without diamonds you have nothing to value? And therefore, when you are calculating the country's richness, the country's wealth, you would have to bring those in as indices.
But like I said, we are a region which is troubled. And because we are a region which is troubled and we had done quite a lot in -- hardly you can hear of any poaching in Botswana. So because of that, we need to take certain actions which are regional. This is why the Gabronone Declaration, where a few countries came together before you and say what do we do, how do we look at our resources? How do we have uniformity? How do we make our -- (inaudible) -- consistent? But it's not just the Gabronone Summit. The SADC, which is Southern African Development Community Membership of 14 countries, the ministers of tourism, they meet to try and have a universality, at least, and have commonality in how things are progressing.
HARRIS: So but when you're looking at your wildlife and so on, are you simply looking at that as a potential asset for tourism, or is there a broader way to value it? It sounds as though what Kathy was talking about was a -- was a much more -- I mean, it's obviously -- one reason, I guess, everyone is struggling is because it's hard to quantify those other things. But is this just -- as you just thinking about it in terms of economics or you're thinking about it in a broader economic sense?
SERETSE: When experts tell us that we house the largest head of elephants -- and there are over 150,000 -- there must have been some measure. And surely you can be able to estimate what is the worth of an elephant. When we say you find all the big -- (inaudible) -- and we have conservation on the lions and all of that -- we know the values of those items. But the danger would be to inflate it, because if you inflate it you similarly are going to come to -- (inaudible) -- you come up with where you are saying the wealth of the country is -- (inaudible) -- of what it is.
I think the issue of valuing is realize its long-term value for future generation, convert it so that you know that the consumption from it would need to be graded as you go through the country -- (inaudible).
HARRIS: Yeah, and I guess this gets back to -- I don't know if this came up earlier -- but the definition of sustainable development is really fundamental here. And I -- we --
PATRICK: Yeah, I mean, it's interesting. In a couple of the other panels, people said, you know, now when people talk about sustainable development, they realize that there are three pillars to this. There's social development, there's economic development, growth in a sense, if you will, and then environmental conservation.
That sounds great, but when push comes to shove, there are tensions amongst those different things. And you saw -- you've seen this in sort of repeated international conversations at the United Nations and also at global conferences. And historically, the sustainable development piece, the part that is -- that looks at sort of a long-term multigenerational aspect, which really is about the environment and conservation, has gotten short shrift.
And you see this in the Millennium Development Goals, which have been extraordinarily useful in getting people focused on meeting humans' basic needs, right? But now there's a debate about what happens when the MDGs expire in 2015? What's going to come afterwards?
And when you look at the -- at the eight MDGs, there's only one that actually deals with anything remotely really related to the environment. And that's really basically about -- do you have access to clean water and sanitation?
So a lot of people are talking about, as you go forward, you really have to think more about increasing some of the environmental aspects of what will be -- call them sustainable development goals -- that would come after 2015. And you have to -- you have to take into account, not only what you're doing now and the welfare of our generation, but the welfare of future generations.
Some people have also suggested, just thinking about counting and measuring, that there should be in addition to the Human Development Index, which UNDP comes out with, that there should be a sustainable -- index of sustainability, so that you could actually rank countries according to what they're doing on a number of critical things that you have to do over generations.
HARRIS: But so I want to come back to your opening comments, that basically nothing of great value has come out of international agreements, and now you're talking about the Millennium Development Goals, which is totally not a lock-solid treaty or anything. But I mean --
PATRICK: Again, I was -- I was probably, I mean, I was probably too dark. I mean, in the same way that one can look at climate change and say that -- you know, and this also helps conservation as well -- you know, the REDD program, which is basically reducing emissions from deforestation program, has been a very valuable aspect of fighting climate change. The problem is that we're on this trajectory that is horrific.
And so it's not to say that nothing has occurred. I think that there are wonderful things that have occurred, and there are small experiments, but they -- these things haven't really been taken to scale. And I think one of the things that could be done amongst others -- I talked about new certification schemes -- but one of them would be -- just as you pointed out, with corruption, being -- if you have corruption and if you have bad governance, you're never going to get anywhere.
You're not going to have security, you're not going to have environmental sustainability. But there needs to be much more ramped-up efforts to try to fight corruption in the developing world -- and obviously, it's a deeply entrenched issue -- but also to help build capacity for countries to actually manage their natural resources more effectively. And that gets into what are we actually sending our foreign aid to, both bilaterally and multilaterally?
And I guess we should -- I'll ask one more question before we open it up to the audience for question and answer, but I think we should nibble a little on the issue of climate, and maybe I'll turn to Kathy.
You mentioned the Global Environmental Facility which -- well -- which has been tapped, I guess, to some extent for climate-related things. Is that -- has -- I mean, has that been any -- has that been -- (chuckles) -- a success at all in terms of international --
SIERRA: Well, you know, the Global Environment Facility, it has -- it basically supports a different U.N. convention and was really very much a leader well before we were talking about climate mitigation adaptation as part of development.
So I would say it's been successful in terms that it piloted many of the solutions which are now being scaled up across.
Now the question is what next? Most of the climate finance is likely to be scaled up through something called the global -- the Green Climate Fund, through bilateral things. So what will be left of the GEF? The replenishment is happening, just starting next month. This will be about a one-and-a-half year process. And the debate will be, should we be investing the same amount? Last -- the last replenishment was about $3.5 billion -- tiny amount, given what needs to be done.
I would say yes, but likely, let's put more of that into some of the other environmental areas, more of that into biodiversity conservation, more of that into oceans and the like, because we do have a plan, not funded, but a plan for thinking about the climate piece. The underinvested areas are the basic conservation pieces, the basic ocean pieces. So as the U.S. audience, I would just like to say, I think it's the GEF's been very successful investment, but now is not the time to pull away just because we've got another avenue. We have to think about those other values.
HARRIS: And obviously, we were hearing about the importance of good governance. And I think the lack of good governance in many places has left people very cautious about providing funds for stuff. You just mentioned a very small number for international issues. I mean, would these treaties be better off if people had more faith that the money -- that they -- if they put money into it, the money would be better spent, or does it fail before that point?
SIERRA: Well, I wouldn't agree that that money has failed. I mean, I think that it actually -
HARRIS: Well, $3 1/2 billion out of -- I mean, if you look --
SIERRA: That's a small amount.
HARRIS: If you look at the scale of what is needed around the world and you ask how much rich countries are providing, I don't think a lot of people think that we are overproviding that amount of money.
SIERRA: Correct, correct.
HARRIS: So the question is -- and I think one reason that people are not -- are reluctant to put more money in is because of government -- because of government issues. So --
SERETSE: I wouldn't say so. I mean, if that argument was to be expanded, then we would say then countries like Botswana will be getting more funding and the countries like Botswana will be getting more (capacitated ?) in terms of capacity building and relation to environment and relation to disposal of toxic waste, if there is any.
I mean, here for instance, you take for granted that in your kitchen you have three different bins for recycling, for whatever. In Botswana, even though we are talking conservation, we are still miles away from that. Yet, if there was capacity, if there was funding, we would be able to move ahead or move in the right direction.
When you come to the MDGs and how the countries have fared, in Botswana we developed what we call Vision 2016, because by the year 2016 the country will be 50 years old. And because we are very strong on consultation, the question which was being asked was, after 50 years of self-governance, what kind of Botswana would you like to see if an average citizen? And out of that, the answers that we then said -- (inaudible) -- vision, most of them happened by coincidence to (confide and to marry ?) what the MDGs were -- you know, would like to be educated, secure nation, we want to be compassionate, to be healthy, innovative and all of that. So because of that, if you look, for instance, at the health, the MDG or you look at the education, you are going to find that Botswana has passed. Of course, we keep setting standards and competing with ourselves because now we want to concentrate on entrepreneurship, to be able to produce a graduate who doesn't look to government and say, where is the job, to be able to say, look to the bank and say: Where are the funds? This is the project that I want to sort of come up with.
But in conclusion, also when we look at the problems of corruption, of poaching and all of that, we really need to take a moment and say, where is the demand coming from? What is it that we are doing to (nip ?) the demand of illegal -- (inaudible). And the -- (inaudible) -- they were talking about how media (sensitizes ?) and sensationalizes things. Right now, everybody in the United States knows about conflict diamonds. The countries which are breaching the Kimberley Process or which are not members to the Kimberley Process, I think that is the correct way to put it. Their diamonds don't even make 1 percent of the world's diamonds. The majority of the countries which are producing diamonds are members of the Kimberley Process. But people don't know about this. They look at the one or two countries and don't buy diamonds. Hey, if you don't buy diamonds, you are killing Botswana. (Laughter.) And Botswana move from being the third-poorest country in the world at independence to -- in less than 50 years today to be boasting the highest GDP per capita. And that has ensured still that government is done right.
And sometimes the security element of it, it's also because if things are going well, if the general population is above the poverty datum line, which we are fighting now -- poverty, to eradicate it -- then you are going to have less -- hopefully less corruption because, generally, the people are on the same wavelength than if the gap is so huge.
HARRIS: All right, let's take questions. There are microphones circulating around, I believe. We want to hold up -- there are microphones in the room. Hold up your hand, and a microphone can come to you. Please introduce yourself and ask a succinct question.
QUESTIONER: Hi, Richard Matthew; I'm from the University of California, and I had the pleasure of being part of the U.N. peacebuilding operations in Sierra Leone. And one of the things I worked on was reform of the mining sector. And one of the interesting things that we discovered there was that so much attention had been given to conflict diamonds that throughout the country, people assumed that once that was cleaned up, enormous benefits would be available to them -- that there would be a lot of money suddenly available to -- for communities.
And when we -- when we actually assessed it, we discovered that diamond wealth was pretty small in Sierra Leone. It was not going to measurably change the lives of most people. This would not build new roads and schools, even when it was cleaned up. But people mostly didn't believe that.
And so even today, they assume that they're not deriving benefits. There must still be corruption in the system. It's a very hard thing. And just -- what I want to suggest and get to my question quickly is that communication is a key thing. In our country, we're very good at communicating the problems. The way they're trending, the complexity, how difficult it will be to address them. And people get that message. In fact, I direct a research center where we study communicating science and behavior.
What we're not so good at communicating is information that people can act upon and feedback showing that their actions matter. So if you take an area like energy efficiency -- unless you happen to own something like a Prius where you get information and then feedback on your behavior, you're mostly operating in the dark. And so for most people, they see these huge problems, and they have a very hard time -- whether they're citizens, business leaders, communities -- orienting themselves in solutions. They're not sure which way they should go, and when they do make a move, they're not really seeing the impact in any way.
And I wonder, couldn't we do a better job of providing access to information about successes, about entry points where behavioral change matters and forcing -- and getting people information that they can use and feedback so that they can see that what they do as business leaders, as communities actually is making a difference? We know from behavioral theory -- or research that this is critical to getting people to change their behavior, is getting information they can use and feedback on their behavior. And that, I think, is an area where we've really sort of failed.
HARRIS: Please, Ambassador.
SERETSE: Well, I think you are right. I 100 percent agree with you. But now you can imagine a society as sophisticated as the United States still having that challenge, and you can now take that to Africa. What we, however, take solace from is that, with the technology -- with the Internet, if you look at countries like Botswana and many other countries, you will find that the teledensity of those countries is above 80 percent. For Botswana, I think it's about 106 percent. But now what we need to do is to move from just using the cellphone as, how are you, to say, what information can one get, and, you know, that you are basically holding a computer in your hand.
And the point that you state -- because if, today, you were to Google diamond-producing country by value or by volume, you wouldn't even find Sierra Leone on that radar. But because it was the media hype, that is what everybody knows. I mean, then boycott diamonds -- diamonds are still the girl's best friend. (Laughter.)
So and as you may know that currently, Botswana moved the diamond trading company to Gaborone, so it is a move that we are excited about, because basically what it means is Canadian diamonds would go to Botswana for sorting. We are hoping for a multiplier effect out of that, but you are correct, because at the end of the day, it's education, education, information and correct information dissemination.
HARRIS: But I think, fundamentally, the question is also about values. I mean, people can act on information, but it -- but it has to be in concert with their values. And I guess my question, following up on that, is: Are there -- is that -- is conservation and sustainable development, however it's defined but -- are those deeply held values that people just don't know what to do to conserve their natural resources, or is that even an important value in -- all around the world?
PATRICK: From what the ambassador said beforehand, the -- she suggested that in Botswana -- I don't want to put -- totally put words in your mouth --
HARRIS: But we can talk about the rest of the world too.
PATRICK: But that -- but that -- you know, that the idea -- some sort of deep idea about making things sustainable and conserving sources of wealth and patrimony is something that one sees around the world in different places. I think the difficulty is many times citizens have felt disempowered, particularly when they're in environments that don't have the sort of governance that the ambassador has talked to us about Botswana having, where's there's lack of transparency, et cetera.
And this is, I think, an interesting area where the incredible penetration of cellular telephoning and other types of information technology, within countries around the world in the developing world, is really remarkable. It has -- it has incredible potential here because -- I mean, I was shocked the other day when somebody said that Tanzania has the world's highest penetration of cellphones. I mean, I was thinking Finland, right?
You know, but -- and I -- it certainly wasn't like that -- you know, 25 years ago I was on an archeological dig in Tanzania. And believe me, that was certainly not the case. But -- and so it's sort of astonishing. But it's had these societal ramifications in terms of, not only can farmers check the price of, you know, sorghum and millet, or whatever, in local markets, but also in the capital, much less on world markets, it also allows citizens to become empowered to say, look, there are poachers here who are -- who are stealing our patrimony. There are -- and that's going to destroy our ability to make money through tourism and to, in a sense, get the community -- get the community wealthier and invested in this issue. So I think that's part of it.
You asked about success stories. I think that's very important possibly. The Center for Global Development, where I used to work, came out with this great book called "Millions Saved," which was success stories in global health. And basically, at a time when people are getting extraordinarily skeptical about foreign aid -- again, pouring money down a rat hole, et cetera -- this showed how targeted interventions made a huge difference.
I think if you could do the same thing with respect to conservation and, you know, maybe take the ambassador and her colleagues on a roadshow and say: This is what we've done in Botswana. Look how well things are going. And I'm just sort of jesting, but I think it actually would -- you could actually begin to get the local level support that you need in most of these environments.
HARRIS: More questions in the back -- the medium back. (Laughter.)
QUESTIONER: Hello. Melissa Bert. I'm with the Coast Guard. And first of all, thanks for that validation of diamond wearing. (Laughter.) So -- (inaudible). I'm the chief of our Maritime and International Law Division. So I'm very active with the International Maritime Organization. In fact, I'll be going there next month to head our delegation on the legal committee.
But I think that's a great model for preventing pollution. We've made incredible strides worldwide with the international convention to prevent maritime pollution. We regulate -- we're now regulating emissions, greenhouse gases, all kinds of -- all kinds of pollution at sea, including garbage. So why is that model successful and where do you see that -- how could that be carried into other areas?
HARRIS: Kathy, do you want to?
SIERRA: I don't know that I want to venture too -- I don't know enough about the maritime business. I would suspect that you've got an industry that must have come together through some type of processes to agree on standards, to agree on methodologies, to agree to move forward. So the successes that you're reaping are not just because we have a bunch of smart people at the government level saying, thus shall it be. Instead, you've got a process of bringing the industry along and agreeing, so there's no losers through the competitive process.
I think that's a little bit what we're seeing on the forestry side, with the Forest Stewardship Council and the like, at least leading -- maybe diamonds as well -- leading industrial actors coming together to say: These are the standards we want to uphold, and we're going to kind of lock arms and move forward.
PATRICK: I mean, it is an interesting thing because, you know, one could imagine the reverse, which is, you know, a race to the bottom where, you know, everybody's simply polluting and dumping. But it undoubtedly has a combination of reputational risks of -- that firms don't want to be necessarily labeled or blacklisted.
And I think it actually helps when you can have a situation where you could conceivably have a naming and shaming situation or a noncooperative -- I'm just thinking of sort of other international regimes, like the Financial Action Task Force, which -- it was set up to fight money laundering, and then terrorist financing -- has a situation where they talk about noncooperating jurisdictions.
There are others that can be named and shamed. CITIZ (ph), for instance, just this last week, when it comes to the poaching of elephants, declared basically that eight countries had to get their act together in terms of ivory trading, and they mentioned not only three source countries in Africa -- Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda -- but three transit countries in Southeast Asia and then two destination countries. I believe they were Thailand and certainly China. And so there are ways of getting international organizations or international regimes to put pressure on actors, both private and state actors, to actually begin to comply with some of these things. But those still are the exception rather than the rule, I would say.
HARRIS: Yeah. And Ambassador Ambassador Seretse, you were mentioning the need to reduce the demand for illegal materials, and I wonder, do you consider -- is CITIZ (ph) a good model for that? Has that been a success?
SERETSE: I think overall it has been a success. It has been a success in the sense that -- (inaudible) -- species which are sort of facing extinction to say, let's come together and make sure that we protect them. Like Botswana started with conservation of the rhino. We also started with conservation of the cheetah. And now we are seeing that being injected back into the wild and into other areas.
So it has its own challenges because then it tends to sort of lump ivory which is from natural mortality of elephants -- because they will die, you know -- especially if you look at countries like Botswana which are very drought-prone. So you then get stuck with this huge speck of ivory because you are a member and -- (inaudible) -- that you really cannot get in. But once in a while, you then have the inspectors come in and they would give a lawful quota of what could be disposed of.
But on the issue, I mean, I'm the last person to talk maritime -- (inaudible). (Laughter.) We don't even have a sea to talk of. (Laughter.) But you know, the strange thing is that you will go to countries like Botswana and in our statutes you will find that we have protection of fish. You know, so that is really forward thinking, you know, in -- (inaudible). (Laughter.)
But the issue of international waters and water as a resource has really globally been very -- the world has been up about what happens to international waters. Countries have also been very keen about what is happening in our waters or in our shared waters. So I think that is what has also elevated that beyond or better than other nonmaritime type of -- (inaudible).
HARRIS: Let's take more questions. Here, closer in the middle. Wait for a microphone please. Oh, sorry, I was -- thank you.
QUESTIONER: Alan Webb (sp). I have a very mundane, down-in-the-weeds question when it comes to individual behavior with regard to energy conservation. If you go out in the summer in Washington, D.C., you have to wear a jacket. Everything is over-air conditioned. The doors of stores are wide open in the heat of the summer. The price mechanism doesn't seem to work at all. What can we do to have greater influence at the microeconomic level on human and commercial behavior?
MR. : It's (all economics question ?). (Laughter.)
SIERRA: Ah, so therein lies the conundrum, you know? So why is it that we don't practice, as a matter of course, energy efficiency issues? We know that basically these -- the money that's lying on the floor. You reduce your energy footprint, you reduce your bill, you basically should be better off. And we know that there are just a lot of barriers to that. Some are cultural. We all need to be in our jackets here, in Japan you don't. In Japan, in the summer they don't put the air conditioning as low, and they decree that people do not wear suits in the summer.
PATRICK (?): Yeah, particularly post-Fukushima, post-Fukushima in particular, yeah.
SIERRA: And even before that.
PATRICK (?): But they really changed that cultural approach at that point, yeah.
SIERRA: Correct. You have issues on buildings. The buildings are owned and the air conditioning bill is managed by the building owner, not by the tenants in the buildings. The tenants may want to make changes in their behaviors, feel constrained; it's not, a very large part of their overall bill, they just don't bother. It's nice to have, doesn't happen.
So you really do need to look at this, I think, from all different pieces. You have to say, how do we actually get the economic incentives, and unfortunately, price is going to have to be an important one of those. We need to have that felt in the pocket book by the building owner, so they start investing in more efficient building systems and the like. And that has to be reinforced by education, by values, by behaviors.
HARRIS: OK, thank you.
SIERRA: And I think we've got a -- someone from the University of California who's going to tell us how to just get the behavioral part done. (Scattered laughter.)
QUESTIONER: (Name inaudible) -- Conservation International.
I'd like to connect the dots. I think it's clear for everybody that the best way to promote -- to avoid conflicts and promote sustainable development is to invest in people and to build the capacity in the country so they can manage their natural resources and they avoid conflicts. I think that we have several good examples.
Also, one of the questions here you speak of, and I say, for to promote conservation sustainability, I'd like to say that developing countries did a lot in the last 10 years. If you'll check the amounts of protected areas that the developing countries had put aside, it's huge. In terms of financial value, it's huge. The developing countries have already contributed a lot to the global economy and maintained some of the most important places for conservation. And yet nobody talk about that.
But what you need to do is to basically, to build the capacity of the countries to measure natural resources -- how much is this going to cost? (Inaudible) -- 10 billion (dollars), $15 billion a year? And the -- I don't know -- I'm not sure if anybody's doing that, is paying these bills to help the woods (as an owe ?) to promote -- to move towards conservation development.
But let's make another bill. Let's take into account -- let's see how much we're spending, for example, in defense. What's the -- how much the global community, they're spending on defense, for instance? They are going to say three -- or, not three -- 100 times more than we are investing to promote sustainable development.
So in the end, the question is very simple: Everybody says conservation, sustainable development is a priority, is a global priority, but nobody's invested in that, not in the (certain ?) level of investment that we needed to have in order to promote the change.
So for me, the question is simple, take money from here, move into here, and the lives go and avoid conflict. They'd have a very peaceful society. I'd like to know more about your think about that.
HARRIS: (Inaudible) -- might do that.
SIERRA: So I have to -- full disclosure, because I have my colleague, former colleague from the World Bank, Juergan Voegele, here -- what I'm going to talk about, I stole from a blog from Rachel Kyte, who took my job after I left the World Bank. (Chuckles.) So she wrote in a blog very recently about the ARPA Project in Brazil, the Amazon Region Protected Areas Program, where there's been $85 million invested over the last period, some of it from the GEF, the World Bank, the government of Brazil, KfW, the private sector.
The rate of return on that, if you look at the protected areas, which are the size of France and Belgium combined and you give a value of $5 a ton in terms of avoided deforestation, is 22 percent rate of return. And so the question is, that's a real return, it's something that is actually getting to both people that live in those areas, in combination with the private sector. So I think it can be done. By the way, this -- that project with the GEF project and World Bank got a prize from the Treasury here in the U.S. as being a very innovative way to move forward.
So it's a question about recognizing public money as scarce, thinking about how to actually monetize some of the flows, how to bring in the private sector, and most importantly, how to make sure that the benefits get to the local communities, because otherwise, we'll not have the incentive there.
So I do think -- I think you're right that there are good examples. And that is a pretty good scale. I mean, the size of France and Belgium combined is a reasonably good scale to start thinking about climate conservation.
HARRIS: Yes, Stewart.
PATRICK: Yeah, I would say -- I'll pick up on the question of why we spend so much money on defense too as well -- but on your question of natural resource management, there's no question that -- I have a figure here that -- of the world's three main forest basins, only 3.5 percent, 3 1/2 percent, are actually under a sustainable management plan. So there's a lot of work to be done within those areas, Southeast Asia and Congo and -- Congo Basin Rainforest and then -- and then Amazon -- to actually help and empower countries that may not have the capacities -- sometimes may not have the technical expertise or the financing to help them manage their resources sustainably.
On the question of why not just take the money from defense, I mean there has been -- there have been a lot of books written about the iron triangle between defense contractors, the Pentagon and U.S. Congress. I see we have at least one member of Congress here, who is undoubtedly not subject to those pressures. (Laughter.)
But, you know, there are -- it's extraordinarily difficult when you have 435 House congressional districts in which probably each of them -- each has either a military installation or a defense contractor located within them to persuade people to shift budgetary expenditures to, as I would agree, more productive long-term spending than some that we spent on national defense.
HARRIS: More questions. The woman in the middle.
QUESTIONER: Thank you. Vivian Lowery Derryck, The Bridges Institute. And my question takes us back to the discussion on values. Ambassador Seretse said that the values of conservation are so widespread in Botswana. And you also stressed, three times, I think, strong leadership -- leadership and values.
So I'm wondering, are there specific strategies that you use in Botswana to drill down to ordinary citizens and give these values there? And are there other countries that share these goals, both in Africa -- particularly in the subregion, or globally, because that way you can get a critical mass to help further this whole discussion? Thank you.
SERETSE: I think in terms of globally, Botswana and Poland were given the award -- I think it's INTERPOL something on environment -- or against environment -- crimes against the environment. So when you see a country like Botswana and a country like Poland, I mean, you just imagine. So it must be saying, these two are doing something similar or they are doing something right.
But Botswana culture is a very (tolerative ?) culture. We have a system called the -- (inaudible) -- which is like an open court where you'd have a plaintiff and a defendant and all of you can -- (inaudible) -- without invitation. And you start commenting on the case before the court and say, I think it's for the plaintiff, and these are my reasons. So I think it's for the defendant, and this are my reason.
And you'd be encouraged to differ. Most of the conflicts around are made by lack of tolerance of different views. Either they are of religion, either they are of social standing or whatever. In a meeting in Botswana, the leader would call other people to say, you are quiet. What is your opinion? And you are -- you can say to the president, I don't agree with you, and no one is going to take you to task, because the culture of the people accepts that, and it encourages that.
So as much as we were lucky to be a British colony by choice, at least that part of our culture we retained. This is why, then, we are strong on consultation which is done through this informal -- (inaudible) -- structure. So because of that, when you are calling for a meeting to come and educate the people about a government policy or change in government policy, people come and they will tell any minister of government -- secretary of government to say, we don't agree with this policy for ABC reasons.
When I was, for instance, minister of wildlife and tourism, I introduced a policy that I am issuing a ban on the killing of lions, because the constitution gave the right to protect yourself and your property, and a lot of Botswana are cattle farmer, and the lions were killing their cattle, so they were killing the lions. But it was growing at such a rate that we see that lions were fast becoming extinct.
So we had to do that policy. If I was ever lynched as a minister, this is the time that I would have. (Laughter.) But we had to teach the people that these are your lions. They belong to you. They don't belong to government. So therefore, you have the right to protect them.
I used to hold these meetings with police protection. Like -- (inaudible) -- took me to task, but with words they really took me to task, that, you know, when my daughter is sick, I can't sell a lion. So we had to educate these -- (laughter) -- the community and get the community on board to say you must conserve these resources for yourself and for your future generations.
Yes, in fact, in -- (inaudible) -- if you look at Namibia -- Botswana and Namibia have quite a number of policies -- they sort of converge and we see sort of eye to eye. The strange thing is that the indices -- whether it's inflation, education, literacy -- of Botswana and Namibia are very much similar, even though a young democracy.
HARRIS: OK. More questions. Over here.
QUESTIONER: Paula Stern (sp). Tourism -- obviously been highlighted here. And I am wondering what role could better be -- how we can improve on the pressures -- the consumer pressure for sustainable practices in countries that are destinations for tourists.
And I presume there must be some rating system somewhere, on the Internet, or there must be somebody who is giving a gold seal of best practices. I say this because I know Indonesia, it was said, started to recognize that they had such a bad name because of their practices, that it was jeopardizing them as a destination for tourists, and that that has had some influence. That's just anecdotal; I just read it.
So I'm really asking because I think that the pressures -- the counterpressures for tourism could be extraordinarily important to many, many countries, and not just Botswana.
HARRIS: Do you think that -- do you think tourism is a big enough incentive for people to protect -- conserve their lands and -- I mean, we're -- I mean, we have to think more broadly about water, forestry, et cetera. So, yeah.
SIERRA: (Off mic) -- broad range of things.
HARRIS: Absolutely, yeah. But if you -- but yeah, is that --
SIERRA: Well, certainly in some countries. I mean, perhaps smaller economies -- Costa Rica, certainly, put itself forward as, you know, a place where environmental values are very core. And not surprisingly in Botswana, a very strong democracy, very open society, where there's basically an alignment vision from the government of people and the industry to protect that region.
I think you're starting to see again -- not in a super organized way -- countries on the coastal land who are dependant on coral reefs, starting to see that this is actually a value -- this is where you get back to the valuation piece -- to start thinking about the economic trade-offs. You know, are we -- what is -- what are we giving away if we're not conserving that coral reef? Australia, places in Asia, places in the Caribbean that are starting to bring that forward.
Now, I guess the question I would -- I'm not an expert in this area -- is, those are nice stories. Can you actually, you know, scale that up? And that to me is the question. And where do we need sort of more alliances? Where do we need the private sector to be pressing through certification? Where we do we need these kinds of coalitions happening, because nice stories take you -- show you what can happen, but it's not going to be enough to solve the problem.
PATRICK: Yeah. I think that it really has to do -- or it will -- one very important variable will be the quality of governance within the country itself. And you mentioned two very well-governed democracies. But you know, when you -- it's no secret that in Cambodia, for instance, the government of Hun Sen and his family have been basically pillaging the forests of that country for quite some time, and -- or that the former military regime in Burma was doing -- has been doing similar things.
You know, Global Witness, others have tried to put pressure on these regimes, but when you have a patronage-led government that is not accountable to its own people or can manipulate elections, et cetera, those sorts of external pressures are sometimes harder to bring to bear. I'm not saying they can't happen. You know, I -- maybe Conservation International or some other NGO or coalition of NGOs should start doing something like this and say, this is not a tourism-friendly, environmentally friendly designation and make it like, you know, dolphin-safe tuna, you know, that sort of thing.
HARRIS: Over here.
QUESTIONER: Hi. Father Andrew Bushell (ph) from the St. Paul's Foundation. So I'm wondering, the church, we're not an NGO, but we represent approximately 1.7 billion people. We give away approximately $600 billion a year. We're organized on an agrarian model. Why is it that you think that conservation organizations and environmental groups tend not to liase directly with the church at the diocesan and the archdiocesan level as much as they perhaps could?
HARRIS (?): Interesting question. Who wants to --
SERETSE: Well, for us, you know -- you know, Africans are just -- when you say "church," I mean, it's amen, Jesus, I'm here. (Laughter.) So for us, in Botswana, whenever there is any message, be it about HIV/AIDS, be it about public -- (inaudible) -- of children against whatever, diarrhea, whatever -- when we spread that message, we have actually the church very much involved. So in those rural communities, for instance, that I talk about and community-based trusts and all of that, the church is very much a part of that.
And we have found that the church is a good place to spread the message. We could not have won the war against HIV/AIDS if the church was not involved. So I think it is an important resource that especially, like I said, in Africa, it is something that can really work to get the church leaders of the various churches involved and say, this is where we are moving forward. So from a Botswana and from an Africa perspective, the church is really an important -- you couldn't have won the war against apartheid South Africa without involvement of the church.
PATRICK: Yeah, I would say that it's a fascinating question. I think it's -- if that's the case, it's a tremendous missed opportunity. When you look at interaction, the global umbrella group of humanitarian and development organizations in the United States, NGOs and service providers, you know, that is a -- it's an ecumenical group, but it includes Bread for the World, it includes Catholic charities, it includes WorldVision, et cetera. And there the focus on the mission of development or of providing humanitarian relief is one that, you know, welcomes everyone -- and not only welcomes everyone but tremendously values the sort of things that religious groups bring to the table. And I think that, you know, if you look at how -- it's only been tentative, but how the environmental community, NGOs, advocacy groups have attempted to reach out to certain elements of, for instance, the evangelical community in the United States that has placed emphasis on, you know, protecting God's creation, et cetera -- and one could imagine a similar sort of alliance internationally -- but there are others who are more foot soldiers in the -- in the environmental movement would have a sense of the realism of that suggestion.
HARRIS: Here. Oh, I'm sorry, I believe -- did you ask a question previously?
QUESTIONER: Somebody else?
SERETSE: No, he didn't.
HARRIS: I'm sorry. Go ahead. I'm sorry. I apologize.
PATRICK: This is the -- (inaudible).
HARRIS: All right. You can ask two! (Laughter.)
PATRICK: He paid for this microphone -- (laughter).
QUESTIONER: Rita (sp) will sue me for flying under false colors, but -- (laughter) -- nobody has mentioned population control. And this can't be an untouchable subject. Would somebody like to address it?
PATRICK: Sure, I can. I mean, I -- I would say, you know, there are -- the demographic trends, as have been described, global population -- I mean, again, projections going out many decades -- are hard to say. Probably going to top out at about 9 billion per year. It -- it's much less dramatic in terms of the acceleration -- (inaudible) -- deceleration of global population growth. There are some countries, particularly in North Africa and some sub-Saharan countries that are still sort of in the middle or even, in some cases, in sub-Saharan Africa, still at the -- at the bottom of their youth bulge that's going to then -- that's then going to sort of go up into the rest of the demographic pyramid, if you will.
You know, a lot of countries are -- even in -- even in parts of sub-Saharan Africa are -- you know, fertility has declined, though, quite dramatically. And it is -- I'm not saying that it -- that -- I mean, I think reproductive health and ability to have -- to, you know, support family planning is something that obviously is -- that needs to be a part of any sort of development cooperation that the United States or any other donor that's serious about foreign assistance and serious about helping the development enterprise and also cares about the environment needs to be conscious of as sort of a fundamental human right.
I understand, however, that when you talk reproductive health, you know, it's an -- it becomes extraordinarily politically divisive on that specific issues of less contraception than of abortion, of course.
But, you know, they -- the good news is that some countries are -- I mean, the developing world, it really is very much slowing what was -- what looked initially to be some sort of catastrophic population growth.
SERETSE: I think the growth of the middle class in sub-Saharan Africa and particularly the education that one is seeing now, this family planning, people are looking at children more as a liability than previously, when children were looked upon as an asset.
Well, for Botswana, I mean, we don't have a population to talk about. (Laughter.) We are 2 million, and, you know, it's almost the size of Texas or the size of France in terms of land mass. So we can -- we can do with more people. But the average size of a family I think has shrunk from six to three now, because more and more women are into careers; more and more women are having the burden of having to raise the children, whereas previously, the extended family structure allowed a woman to have whatever number, because the mother will be there, the aunt will be there to help. Nowadays, you don't have that extended family structure, so we are seeing populations and family sizes reduced not just in Botswana but generally in Africa.
SIERRA: Just a comment on that. I think it depends on how you start this conversation, because if you start the conversation, which is, the West has basically figured it out; we're utilizing, you know, 10 times more energy per person than people in developed and emerging world, thank you very much; yep, not enough space for more greenhouse gases; oh, we've kind of used the resources; please stop having children -- (laughter) -- that's a nonstarter.
And so if you kind of bring this conversation as the solution to the climate problem or the solution to the conservation problem -- (inaudible) -- instead I think it's -- you know, there are success stories. Bangladesh is a success story, others in Africa. Think about it in terms of, how do you improve maternal and child health, how do you improve economic well-being of people, and it will have this win-win that there'll be less pressure on resources. But if you enter it, I think, from the conservation angle, I think you just put up antibodies that are unnecessary.
HARRIS: We have time for one short question if you promise to ask a short question in the back. And we'll need short answers too.
QUESTIONER: Hi, Margo Deckard (sp). Botswana was indeed blessed with leaders who understood the importance of property rights and resource utilization rights. And as you look to the other young democracies around you -- and we know that sometimes African nations within Africa have a hard time sharing with each other their experiences -- what do you think Botswana can do to help them understand the importance of those rights?
SERETSE: In fact, we do share with quite a lot of them. A lot of the African countries, when they set up their anticorruption units, they come to us. After Beijing, for instance, we removed all laws which were discriminatory property laws, so we had to go and change our deeds or deeds registry -- (inaudible) -- a woman could just find that her husband has sold the family property unilaterally. So now, regardless of whether the person is married in or out of community of property, both parties for the disposal and for acquiring property, you need the consent of the two.
But you may be aware that the sort of attorney generals of SADC had their annual meetings to say what is progress and what should we be moving over. But that cannot fit with the rest of Africa. We still have this strong patriarchal society where women don't have the rights -- Nigeria, for instance, though, women are very powerful from a business aspect. You have more women who are business-led, and they don't depend on the family resources.
And you would know that Rwanda is the world leader in terms of women in parliament, because really, from an African perspective, when you're talking about properties -- the people who are always more victimized are women than the men, because the men have always been the head of household controlling in a lot of the societies -- controlling the family wealth and that kind of thing.
So yes, there are progresses, and women groups do come together -- parliamentarians, legislatures. Also, for instance, the SADC parliament and through the African Union. Also, you try to see some best practices caught in that kind of --
HARRIS: So you don't need these umbrella -- some of these umbrella policies we were talking about at the beginning of the conversation -- and I think that's a lovely way to end it. And I would like everyone to thank Stewart Patrick, Ambassador Tebelelo Seretse and Katherine Sierra, for a -- (applause) -- (off mic) --
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