President Lazarus Chakwera has committed to make Malawi self-reliant and resilient to produce for itself and fight eventualities within the next 25 years of the United Nations (UN) existence.
The President made the commitment at the Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe yesterday in his contribution to a UN75 debate session. He participated in the dialogue marking the UN’s 75th anniversary alongside UN resident coordinator Maria Jose Torres Macho and UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammad who participated virtually from New York.
In his address, Chakwera, who is Malawi’s sixth President and was accompanied by Vice-President Saulos Chilima to the event perhaps to demonstrate the political leadership’s commitment, said Malawi already outlined its development vision through the National Planning Commission and other policies.
He said: “There is no nation on earth whose people do not want their children educated and developed. There is no nation on earth whose people do not want their women to enjoy equality of opportunity and dignity.
“I can see that Malawians want to pull together in the same direction around several challenges. First is the challenge of climate change and I am glad that I tackled our approach to this in my October 19 address.
“Second is the twin challenge of poverty and inequality, pursuant to the first of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, and as I stated in my August 27 address, our goal is to support programmes that make our citizens bigger, not beggars.”
In her contributions, Macho focused on global cooperation for development and said the UN wants Malawi not to be seen as a landlocked country again within the next 25 years.
Mohammad touched on similar issues raised by Macho, but emphasised that the UN would like to see a Malawi which will harness its demographic dividends.
On the part of experts, Leadership for Environment and Development (Lead) Southern Africa regional programme director Sosten Chiotha said Malawi should focus on restoring ecosystems to mitigate the impact of climate change.
He said studies conducted by his institution indicate that some people in rural areas are exposed to at least two weeks of dry season due to lack of water since 1994; hence, the need to restore the ecosystems.
While acknowledging that climate change has impacted the nation negatively, Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources Nancy Tembo expressed concern that matters concerning the environment are not being taken on top of the agenda.
Activist Stella Nkhonya Chisangala—who is also a member of the Civil Society Advisory Group on UN Women, and Women Lawyers Association of Malawi the president Tadala Chinkwezule, highlighted the need for government to ensure that policies on women empowerment and gender are adhered to so that issue of violence against women and girls are done with.
But Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati said what needs to be done is to ensure that the gender law and policies are implemented to ensure that 80 percent of those who will be completing education should be women.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutterres set 2020 as the year for leaders to hear views from people on what that nation wants to be done and what that nation should be like.