‘Fullfill your climate change commitments now’ network tells president Chakwera

The Civil Society Network on Climate Change (Cisonecc)–a premier multi-stakeholder grouping in addressing climate change issues in Malawi–has urged president Lazarus Chakwera to fulfil his commitments on “important matters” of climate change.

Cisonecc cites, among others, the commitment to operationalize Malawi Environmental Protection Agency (Mepa) and National Climate Change Management Fund and enactment of the Disaster Risk Management Bill.

Members of Cisonecc addressing the press

Members of the network spoke Friday at a press conference in Lilongwe, further accusing the president of not “even touching” on any of those issues in his lengthy State of the Nation Address (SONA) he delivered in Parliament on 12 May.

Apparently, it was in his other SONA in October last year that Chakwera made those climate change commitments.

But speaking during the press conference, national coordinator for Cisonecc, Julius Ng’oma, urged the president to go beyond “mere lip service”, saying his Tonse Alliance administration must act now.

“We are reminding president Lazarus Chakwera of his own commitments since he did not even touch on them in his recent SONA. We are reminding the president that it is time to focus on these issues,” said Ng’oma.

He was flanked by, among other members, Herbert Mwalukomo from Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy and Charles Mkoka from Association of Environmental Journalists. The other members collaborated Ng’oma’s sentiments.

According to Ng’oma, lack of a director general and secretariat, are some of a “few things” that are derailing the full operationalization of Mepa.

Otherwise, he said, the agency was established and has so far a board and legal framework to operate on.

On the other hand, the National Climate Change Management Fund is not operational because “government is not acting with speed to make sure that certain things are put in place”.

“The sooner we iron out these issues, the better. The National Climate Change Management Fund must become functional so that it begins to support Malawians to do climate change initiatives with locally generated resources. Otherwise, the environmental management sector will continue being deprived of these resources,” said Ng’oma.

“The president promised he would ensure that the Disaster Risk Management Bill was tabled in Parliament early this year. This never happened. As civil society, we are worried that, as a country, we will still be focusing on response rather than risk management because the current bill–the 1991 Act–has always been a response kind of legislative framework,” he further said.

Ng’oma added that Mepa, once fully established, should also be linked to what he termed as the Environmental Tribunal–through which the citizenry would seek redress over issues arising from malpractices of Mepa.

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