Govt says climate change is frustrating MW2063 and global 2030 agenda

Malawi has disclosed that Covid-19 pandemic and persistent challenges caused by climate change continue to frustrate “our hard work and progress made in advancing the Malawi 2063 agenda as well as the global 2030 agenda on Sustainable development.”

The Director of Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Tawonga Mbale-Luka, made the sentiments in Lilongwe when she opened the African Regional Conference on Loss, Damage and Climate Financing.

Mbale-Luka observed that while the world is emerging from the depth of an economic crisis, recovery remains slow on the African continent due to vulnerabilities exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and persistent challenges caused by climate change.

Mbale-Luka giving journalists an interview after she opened the conference–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

‘Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change and climate variability. This situation has been aggravated by the interaction of ‘multiple stresses’, occurring at various levels, and low adaptive capacity of the continent. A study published by UNICEF in September 2020 showed that 11 million people are expecting crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity in 9 SADC countries due to deepening drought and climate crisis,” she said.

The Director of Environmental Affairs said due to these calamities, an estimated 11 million people are experiencing food crisis from nine countries alone.

Mbale-Luka said this is why it is important that countries must work together in addressing these challenges.

“As the UN General Secretary, Antonio Guterres said, it is not enough to catalogue our challenges. It is time to act. Time for us to act, time for us to demand that the rest of the world acts as well. When we went to Glasgow last year, it was our aspirations that climate finance should be scaled up, made easily accessible and be grant based. We aspired that losses and damages associated with impacts of climate change should be supported from the financial mechanism of the Convention and through public sources; and that gender and women should be empowered in addressing climate change considering that these groups in society are the most vulnerable and the most affected with impacts of climate change,” she said.

Ng’oma pleaded with developed countries to fulfill their pledges on climate financing–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

Mbale-Luka emphasized the need for the developed countries to “urgently and significantly scale up” their finance strategies to adapt to new situations caused by climate change and to at least double it from 2019 levels by 2025, which is a progress in this area.

She also challenged African countries to explore other avenues, including domestic and private financing for climate action on your continent, noting that for so long, Africa has left the private sector out of their climate finance discussions.

“Let this conference be an opportunity for us to deliberate and agree on how best we can mobilize resources with which we can implement climate actions to reduce the vulnerabilities of the people and ecosystems of Africa,” said Mbale-Luka.

Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CISONECC) National Coordinator, Julius Ng’oma, commended the Malawi Government for creating an enabling environment for climate action in Malawi by , among others, developing the National Disaster Risk Financing Strategy, a blue print for financing disaster risk management including preparedness, relief and rehabilitation in Malawi.

A cross-section of the participants to the conference on climate change in Lilongwe–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

Ng’oma also thanked the government the Government of Malawi for the establishment of the National Climate Change Management Fund, which aims at promoting climate change adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer and capacity building for sustainable livelihoods through Green Economy measures.

“We also appreciate the introduction of the carbon tax, a levy that the government introduced as part of the government’s initial steps to mitigate the effects of climate change in the country. As we appreciate such milestones, and remembering that this event is about climate finance, I would like to submit the following: there is need that the mentioned Disaster Risk Financing Strategy be fully implemented so that financing for disasters in Malawi is adequate and predictable. There is also need for the capitalization of the mentioned National Climate Change Management Fund. And we can start by channelling resources from the carbon levy into this fund,” he said.

Ng’oma also took advantage of the conference to remind the developed world to fulfil their pledges on climate financing.

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