“In scale, this is a catastrophe that is more colossal than any war known to us that the effects of climate change were today being felt globally,” he told the world, represented by over 200 countries in the Spanish capital Madrid.
Mutharika, one of the six African leaders to be invited to the conference said: “I come to affirm that the effects of climate change are being felt everywhere today. Climate change has devastating consequences on real human lives.”
The Malawi leader said that everywhere climate change was “taking innocent lives, frustrating national economies and inflicting untold suffering to many people of the world.”
The Malawi story
He narrated the Malawi story that the country had 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 destroyed and people died. In 2016, we had floods. Crops failed, infrastructure destroyed and lives lost.’’In our 2017/2018 growing season, our crops were destroyed by fall armyworms, which are climate change related because these worms thrive in dry spells,” he said, speaking on behalf of the 41 Least Developed Countries( LDCs).
He recalled that in March this year, Malawi was hit by Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth which directly affected 1 million people and resulted in the loss of 60 lives while many Malawians lost their homes and 672 were injured.
Mutharika said Malawi needs over 375 million dollars for recovery and his government was working towards finding that money.
“Every time there is a natural disaster, crops fail, the back of our agro-based economy gets broken and the economy falters. And a weak economy takes long to recover from the effects of natural disasters,” he said, adding that Malawi would have made more economic progress without the setbacks of climate change.
He added: “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. The more a weak economy suffers the shocks of climate change, the more we lack resources to fight climate change.’’
Mutharika said that in spite of the climate change challenges, Malawi was playing her part and fighting climate change. “Climate change is recognized as a key priority in Malawi Growth and Development Strategy, as such, it is Malawi’s policy blueprint for driving the development agenda.”
At national level, Mutharika said Malawi this far has developed a National Climate Change Management Policy and The National Resilience Strategy which will specifically manage to adverse effects of climatic change, fend off economic shocks and sustain inclusive growth, food security, and improved well-being for all Malawians.
On sector level, the Malawi leader said a number of policies were done which includes the National Forestry Policy (2016), the National Meteorological Policy (2019), the National Irrigation Policy (2016), and the National Climate Smart Agriculture Framework (2018).
Malawi’s clean energy
The Malawi leader said his country is now promoting the use of clean energy by removing taxes on solar power systems, energy efficient bulbs and liquefied petroleum gas cylinders as well as imposing a carbon tax on all motor vehicles as a way of managing vehicular emissions.
He said that Malawi has developed a Forest Restoration Strategy which is deploying the Youth as key agents in climate change management under a Youth Afforestation Programme and the target for restoration is 4.5 million hectares of degraded forest landscape.
“Malawi is doing a lot in fighting climate change. As a country, we are developing a National Climate Change Management Fund to mobilise local resources for fighting climate change. The Least Developing Countries are doing their part. Our major challenge is resources. The Least Developing Countries are the least contributors to climate change. And yet, they suffer most from the effects of climate change.”