Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) has bemoaned the lack of policy direction on environmental protection in President Lazarus Chakwera’s maiden State of the Nation Address (Sona) delivered in Parliament last Friday.
Leader of UDF in Parliament Nedson Poya said environmental protection should underpin the country’s development agenda.
He said: “The President’s Sona did not come out clearly on what government plans to do to ensure we are protecting the environment as we pursue our development goals.
“We cannot achieve growth in agriculture if we do not address issues of soil erosion and climate change. We cannot achieve success in tourism if we have rivers stinking from industrial waste or if our cities are dirty. Activities like agriculture, mining, tourism and health all hinge on environmental protection.”
On his part, Chikwawa North legislator Owen Chomanika (Democratic Progressive Party—DPP) said it is important for the government to prioritise environmental issues to implement development plans that will benefit future generations.
In a separate interview, Civil Society Network on Climate Change national coordinator Julius Ng’oma agreed that the Sona did not elaborate on issues of environmental conservation.
He said: “The statement was empty on how government will advance environmental protection and manage related issues, including climate change.”
Ng’oma said economic growth and prosperity require a healthy and well-managed ecosystem.
Chakwera’s Sona was themed Restoring Warmth to the Heart of Africa.