Africans vulnerable to climate change due dependency on rain-fed agriculture- Malawi Minister

Malawi Minister of Environment and Climate Change Management Halima Daudi has attributed East and Southern Africans vulnerability to climate change to heavy dependence on rain-fed subsistence agriculture for livelihoods and on wood energy for cooking and heating.

The Minister made the remarks at the Southern Voices on Climate Change, East and Southern Africa Regional workshop being held at Sunbird Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi on Tuesday when she officially opened the workshop which ends Thursday.

The theme of the workshop is Linking local experiences with policy processes in climate change.

“It is therefore pleasing to note that this workshop will focus on adaptation, sustainable energy and community forestry all of which are critical in reducing the vulnerability of our communities to the impacts of climate change,” stated Daudi.

Minister Daudi with workshop participants in Mangochi on Tuesday
Minister Daudi with workshop participants in Mangochi on Tuesday

Daudi told delegates from nine countries attending the workshop that the Malawi Government is committed to the fight against climate change saying there are several steps undertaken in the management at policy and local level.

Participants to the workshop have been drawn from Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.

To show Malawi’s commitment to fight climate change, Daudi said Malawi has developed the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) whose implementation is underway adding that Malawi has also formed the National Technical Committee on Climate Change which provides technical oversight to the implementation of national programmes and initiatives.

“Currently the Government of Malawi is developing a National Climate Change Policy and a National Climate Change Investment Plan to guide effectiveness to climate change in Malawi. Plans are also underway to develop a National Adaptation Plan as a framework for addressing medium to long term adaptation needs of our country.

Secretary General of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (Pacja) Mithika Mwenda said Africa is confronted by climate change which is threatening livelihoods of many people.

“Millions are suffering in silence. Wells are drying up. About 250 million Africans will be exposed to water stress by 2020. Agricultural production will shrink by 50 percent,” said Mwenda.

Chairperson of the civil society network on climate change in Malawi Melton Luhanga thanked Pacja for mobilizing and financing participation of delegates at the workshop which is aimed at bridging the gap between local experiences and policy.

Outlining the objectives, Luhanga said the workshop will enhance participants understanding of the links between policy and advocacy and community level activities; share experiences and lessons and identify opportunities from adaptation, sustainable energy and community forestry in relation to policy and planning in the region.

“This is the reason we have brought climate change and environmental practitioners from nine countries of East and Southern Africa to share knowledge, experiences and ideas.

Climate change focal person and Dan Church Aid representative Agnes  Nyirenda said since the failure of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) climate change talks to reach an ambitious global climate agreement at COP15  in Copenhagen, in Denmark southern civil society organisations and networks have continued to mobilise and increase their efforts to generate greater stronger attention and influence climate negotiations and policies at the internal level and increasingly also at national level.

She said a consortium of five Danish and two international non-governmental organisations established after the COP15 are supporting the Southern Voices on Climate Change Programme, coordinated by CARE Denmark.

She said the regional workshop will be a success and will contribute to the agenda of southern voices which is promoting environmental integrity and sustainable development that benefits poor and vulnerable people.

“We believe that in working together in solidarity there is power and we can positively change the world and our communities,” concluded Nyirenda.

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