By McCarthy Mwalwimba, in Madrid, Spain
President Arthur Peter Mutharika has pleaded with developed countries to assist Malawi and other least developed countries (LDCs) with financial and technological assistance to fight climate change.
President Mutharika was speaking Monday in Madrid, Spain during the 25th Session of the Conference of Parties (CoP 25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
He said least LDCs such as Malawi are doing their part but their major challenge is inadequate resources.
He said Malawi alone needs US$ 375 million (over K273 billion) to recover from the recent devastating effects of climate change.
“As Chair of the Least Developed Countries, Malawi pleads for adequate resources to help the LDCs in the fight against climate change.
“We urgeour developed partners to move one step forward in providing financial and technological support,” Mutharika said.
Mutharika told scores of heads of state and government, leaders of non-governmental organisations and thousands of other delegates attending the conference that the LCDs are the least contributors to climate change and “yet we suffer most from the effects of climate change.”
“The world has enough resources to fight climate change, if only we can share. The world has enough power to fight climate change, if only we can unite,” he said.
Mutharika further explained that climate change is taking innocent lives, frustrating national economies and inflicting untold suffering to many people of the world.
To this effect, he said Malawi is an example of many other countries suffering from the effects of climate change.
He told the delegates that 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 got destroyed and people died.
“[Again] in 2016, we had floods, crops failed, infrastructure got destroyed and lives lost,” he told the delegates.
Mutharika further said in 2017 to 2018 growing season, crops in the country were destroyed by fall armyworms which are also climate change-related as the worms thrive in dry spells.
“In March earlier this year, Malawi was hit by Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth. About 1 million people were directly affected. We lost 60 lives and many lost their homes while 672 were injured.
“Up to this moment as I speak, we need over US$ 375 million for recovery. We have to find this money,” he said.
Malawi and many other LDCs are agro-based economy; therefore, once crops fail their economies falter.
“And a weak economy takes long to recover from the effects of natural disasters.
“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,” Mutharika said.
COP 25’s key objective is to complete several issues and implement fully the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement aimed at cutting greenhouse gases emissions which is a major culprit of climate change.
Mutharika is accompanied by Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bintony Kutsaira and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Francis Kasaila among other officials.
Malawi is among six African countries invited to the conference. Others are Morocco, Uganda, Eswatini, Guinea Bissau and Congo-Brazzaville.