Chakwera calls for collective efforts on climate change
By Cedric Nkungula
President Lazarus Chakwera says climate change is a biggest threat to the country’s sustainable development plans and has called on the general public to join forces in containing the impact of climate change.
Speaking when he officially opened the National Green Climate Conference at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe on Thursday, Chakwera said the guiding principle to fighting the ills of climate change is through collective action.
He expressed concern that climate change is another crisis on top of the Covid – 19 pandemic that the country is currently struggling with.
“The pandemic and the restriction necessary for its containment have ravaged families, destroyed businesses and decimated livelihoods in ways far worse than anyone in the world foresaw or prepared for resulting in the increased plunder of our forests as people scramble desperately for ways to earn a living,” said the president.
The president said Malawi needs in excess of MK300 billion to counter the effects of climate change.
“Between 2015 and 2916, nearly half the population also required humanitarian assistance from floods and droughts with costs estimated at US$994 million which is 14% of GDP and this is likely to continue.
With the situation getting worse over time, we are one country that cannot afford to take the foot off the gas in our quest to address climate change,” he said
While expressing optimism that a green Malawi is possible, the president said he will also take advantage of his position as Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Chairperson to bring together member states to implement policies aimed at addressing and mitigating climate change
Chakwera who also launched the Women’s Network on Climate Change said the country cannot talk about climate change without women participation.
“The launch of the network is an inspirational way for a low carbon resilient economy and green Malawi,” said the president
Speaking as SADC Chair, Chakwera announced that the country will soon hold a Climate Change SADC Summit which is expected to adopt issues to be presented at CoP26in Scotland in October this year.
Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources Nancy Tembo, speaking earlier, emphasized that issues of climate change do not affect a few individuals and as such, everyone needs to take part by following laid down climate change mitigations.
Tembo says a study by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which shows that ongoing emissions of warming gases could reach 1.5 degrees by the year 2030 is bad news for the country as the effects could have a very big impact on people’s lives.
Making her contribution virtually, United Nations (UN) Environmental Programme Regional Director for Africa Juliet Biao Koudenoukpo advised government to invest in climate change resilience by aligning the national budget allocation with requirements for climate change battle.
Taking her turn, United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator Maria Jose Torres pledged to help mobilize resources for accelerating action in the fight against climate change interventions in the country
In his key note address, Director of National Planning Commission Dr. Thomas Munthali warned that if climate change management is not carefully coordinated, the country will have difficulties achieving most of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals that seeks to making Malawi a middle income economy among others.
The two day Green Conference has been organized under the theme: Collective Responsibility for Enhanced Climate Action in Malawi.
The National Green Climate Conference seeks to consolidate and promote climate action for sustainability by assessing the status of climate action through the different commitments and activities of individuals, communities, businesses and organizations and connecting international commitments and national and subnational initiatives for ensuring coherence and effectiveness of climate action among others.
It is expected that the conference will help achieve the following outcomes: enable Malawi to define development pathways for the attainment of a low carbon emission and climate resilient nation by 2050; publicize the nationally determined contributions and; build the country’s position paper to the 26th conference of Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).