Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Bright Msaka, says Malawi is this year registering the worst economic statistics in over a decade due to climate related disasters that have slowed down economic growth and wiped off economic gains.
Addressing a high level meeting of ministers of environment from across the globe at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, France on Monday, Msaka said the adverse impacts of climate related disasters have grossly retarded economic growth, food security and poverty eradication initiatives in Malawi.
Malawi experienced the worst floods early this year which claimed at least 170 lives and rendered over a million people destitute.
“The impressive economic gains that Malawi registered were washed away along with the floods,” said Msaka.
Due to Malawi’s vulnerability to climate change, he said there is an urgent need to implement interventions that would enhance the resilience of productive sectors affected by climate related disasters.
Msaka therefore called on the developed world not opt out of financing developing countries so that affected countries like Malawi build resilience to climate related disasters.
He said Malawi needs support in form of finance for adaptation, transfer of appropriate technology, and capacity building.
Msaka, just like other environment ministers from Africa and other least developed countries, pleaded with delegates at COP21 to come up with a universal Paris agreement and accompanying decisions that will rescue Malawi’s vulnerable populations for them to sustain their livelihoods, now and in future, through the post-2020 period.
According to Msaka, Malawi sees a great opportunity for political and moral leadership, and an increasingly urgent need for action in the face of these escalating threats to humankind.
He added that developed countries must take the lead and show their commitment to enhancing implementation of the “Convention that we all signed two decades ago”.
“Malawi firmly believes that because we all depend on this one planet, no one country has the right to conduct itself in a manner that disregards its perilous consequences upon our common home. Further, no one country has the moral justification to opt out of the global efforts to protect our earth,” Msaka said.
Meanwhile, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, a sub-committee, finished its negotiations on Sunday and handed over the draft agreement to COP which is the main committee headed by COP21 president, Laurent Fabius, who is France’s Foreign Minister.
Four sticky issues of climate finance, adaptation, pre-2020 ambitions and differentiation will be negotiated further at the COP committee level.
According to Executive Secretary for United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Christiana Figueres, the text is expected to be adopted by Friday December 11 when the COP21 conference ends.
The Africa Group of Negotiators, which negotiates on behalf of all African countries, said the main issues for Africa are adaptation, finance and common, but differentiated goals.
For Africa, climate mitigation is not its priority but adaptation. The argument behind this is that Africa is already experiencing adverse effects of climate change even though its contribution to the greenhouse gas emission is very insignificant.
Therefore, the priority is to help Africa build resilience and adapt. On the other hand, rich nations who are blamed for causing climate change, prioritise mitigation because it does not demand much from them unlike adaptation.
As Msaka said the world is justifiably waiting for the Paris outcome with a degree of impatience.