Malawi President Arthur Peter Mutharika has addressed the Conference of Parties (COP 25) in Madrid, Spain where he went to attend the UN climate Change Summit upon the invitation of the organizers, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Malawian President Peter Mutharika addressing the climate summit in Spain
Mutharika was among the 6 Presidents from Africa who were invited to the conference with others being from Morocco, Uganda, Congo Brazzaville, Guinea Bisau and Eswatin. He was joined by dozens of heads of states and government, environmental organizations, entrepreneurs, scientists and over 25,000 representatives from 200 countries at the Fair Institution of Madrid complex (IFEMA) where Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez opened the summit.
Before addressing the world under the theme; ' National Plans To Increase Ambition By 2020'.
Malawi leader thanked the people and the government of Spain for the warm hospitality given to him and his people since their arrival , He went further to conglatulate Spanish President , His Excellency Pedro Sánchez, for convening and hosting this historic Summit.
"I come to affirm that the effects of climate change are being felt everywhere today. Climate Change has devastating consequences on real human lives. Man is at war with nature. Climate change has become the most catastrophic tragedy of our time. In scale, this is a catastrophe that is more colossal than any war known to us." This is how Mutharika opened his address to the world.
He emphasized that everywhere, climate change is taking innocent lives, frustrating national economies and inflicting untold suffering to many people of the world.
Mutharika shared the sad story of Malawi in line with the suffering brought by climate change and revealed that this is the same story that many of the countries in world were to share at the summit.
" Malawi has suffered four natural disasters in the past five years. In 2015, we had drought that was immediately followed by heavy rains and floods. Crops failed, infrastructure destroyed and people died. In 2016, we had floods. Crops failed, infrastructure destroyed and lives lost."In our 2017/2018 growing season, our crops were destroyed by fall armyworms, which are climate change related because these worms thrive in dry spells." Lamented Mutharika on the effects of climate change in Malawi.
He went further to tell that world climate summit that in March earlier this year, Malawi was hit by Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth which directly affected 1 million people and resulted in the loss of 60 (sixty) lives while many Malawians lost their homes and 672 (six hundred and seventy-two) were injured.
Mutharika said Malawi needs over three hundred and seventy-five million dollars for recovery and his government was working towards finding that money.
"Every time there is a natural disaster, crops fail, the back of our agro-based economy gets broken and the economy falters. And a weak economy takes long to recover from the effects of natural disasters." He said.
He added that Malawi would have made more economic progress without the setbacks of climate change.
"This is the double tragedy of the developing world. The weaker the economy, the more fragile the existence of our vulnerable people, and the more we suffer the shocks of climate change. The more a weak economy suffers the shocks of climate change, the more we lack resources to fight climate change." Mutharika supplemented.
Mutharika revealed that in spite of the climate change challenges, Malawi is playing her part and fighting climate change and stated that climate change is recognized as a key priority in Malawi Growth and Development Strategy, as such, it is Malawi's policy blueprint for driving the development agenda.
At National level, Mutharika said Malawi this far has developed a National Climate Change Management Policy and The National Resilience Strategy which will specifically manage to adverse effects of climatic change, fend off economic shocks and sustain inclusive growth, food security, and improved well-being for all Malawians.
On sector level, the Malawi leader said a number of policies were done which includes the National Forestry Policy (2016), the National Meteorological Policy (2019), the National Irrigation Policy (2016), and the National Climate Smart Agriculture Framework (2018).
The Malawi leader said his country is now promoting the use of clean energy by removing taxes on solar power systems, energy efficient bulbs and liquefied petroleum gas cylinders as well as imposing a carbon tax on all motor vehicles as a way of managing vehicular emissions.
As that is not enough, Mutharika told the world climate summit that Malawi has developed a Forest Restoration Strategy which is deploying the Youth as key agents in climate change management under a Youth Afforestation Programme and the target for restoration is 4.5 million hectares of degraded forest landscape.
"Malawi is doing a lot in fighting climate change. As a country, we are developing a National Climate Change Management Fund to mobilise local resources for fighting climate change. The Least Developing Countries are doing their part. Our major challenge is resources. The Least Developing Countries are the least contributors to climate change. And yet, thet suffer most from the effects of climate change."Lamented Mutharika .
Speaking As the Chair of the Least Developed Countrie in the world, Mutharika pleaded for adequate resources to help the LDCs in the fight against climate change.
Mutharika concluded by pleading with developed partners to move one step forward in providing financial and technological support to other least developed nations, saying the world has enough resources to fight climate change, if only they can be shared and making sure that the world is united.