Malawi says virtual participation of the 76th United Nations General Assembly (Unga) has given the country mixed fortunes in that while saving resources, opportunities for business and bilateral talks have been lost.
Briefing journalists in Lilongwe yesterday on President Lazarus Chakwera’s virtual participation of the ongoing Unga meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs Eisenhower Mkaka said when the meeting is attended physically, countries take advantage to hold side meetings with each other as well as investors.
He said: “This [side meetings] is where bilateral and investment agreements are reached, but in this case, such opportunities are not available.”
But Mkaka said Malawi’s position on the various matters of national interest will be adequately articulated despite the virtual participation.
Malawi is virtually attending the summit which started on Tuesday and will end on September 30 2021. This year’s Unga is being held under the theme Building Resilience Through Hope-to Recover from Covid-19: Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People and Revitalise the United Nations.
Mkaka, who could not provide the amount Malawi has saved, said in different meetings scheduled for the whole two weeks, Chakwera, who is scheduled to make his Unga address on the virtual platforms, will make a number of pre-recorded statements as Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) chairperson and as Malawi’s Head of State.
The minister said a detailed schedule of the meetings will be circulated for publication and all meetings will be accessed at the indicated times on the official United Nations Web television
He said that on September 20 2021, the President will deliver a statement on Malawi’s ambition towards climate change mitigation and aspirations for a greener and safer planet.
Mkaka added that on September 22, Chakwera will deliver Malawi’s statement highlighting areas of importance to the nation in relation to this year’s theme and will lobby for the interests of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
According to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in other sessions, the President will speak on ending Covid-19, reaffirm Malawi’s stand against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance.
On September 24 2021, Chakwera will deliver a statement highlighting Malawi’s priorities in the energy sector and finally on September 28 he will affirm Malawi’s commitment on the elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons adaptable to mass destruction.
State House announced on August 30 2021 that Malawi would attend the 76th Unga virtually to allow the President attend to a number of issues on his desk, but it was later reported that the decision followed the UN directive that the summit should be attended virtually due to Covid-19.