Malawi Leader President Dr Lazarus Chakwera on Thursday appealed to G20 countries to fullfil their pledges made during the last COP 27 conference which was organised earlier this year.
Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, Chakwera said there is need for the pledges to be fulfilled to avoid talking about same issues next year.
“So with COP27 around the corner in Sharm-El-Sheikh, we call for action on the pledges already made, so that Malawi and other Least Developed
Countries can build resilience to climate-change induced events like floods, drought, pests, and cyclones, all projected to become more frequent and more severe,” said Chakwera.
Chakwera said on addressing the current global food crisis, Malawi is ready to catch up, having just joined the Feed the Future initiative, giving access to new financing in the next few years to use Malawi’s vast arable land and large volumes of fresh water to develop mega farms that will feed the world and lift millions of farmers out of subsistence living.
The President said he was delighted that many private sector investors are flocking to join the agricultural revolution that is coming to Malawi, as well as investors in mining, who know that the recent
discovery in Malawi of the largest deposit of rutile in the world means that Malawi’s economic rise is imminent.
The President took to the podium to address the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, the United States, with a call to the UN body not “leave anyone behind” as espoused in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Today, over three and a half years after that commitment was made, smaller nations and younger democracies around the world already feel like this was an empty promise. Today, not only do smaller nations and younger democracies like Malawi still feel left behind, but feel much further behind than before,” said President Chakwera.
He noted that for instance, Climate Change is a global problem that will never be solved unless all nations solve it together, yet months after Malawi and its SDG gains were set backwards by two tropical storms in quick succession, “we have been left behind”.
Added Chakwera: “We all know that pandemics are a global problem that will never be solved unless all nations solve it together, yet in the rollout of vaccines and application of travel restriction, we have been left behind.
“We all know that regional insecurity is a global problem that will never be solved unless all nations solve it together, yet in the participation of UN Security Council decisions that affect us, we have been left behind.
“We all know that food shortage is a global problem that will never be solved until all nations solve it together, yet in the allocation of international facilities for agro-based and debt-distressed economies, we have been left behind.”
The President said to correct the situation, it is imperative to concentrate the UN’s support on the most vulnerable who are lagging behind so that they can catch up.
“Malawi stands ready to do its part in using any new support we get to make up for lost ground and catch up,” President Chakwera declared.
President Chakwera informed members that although Malawi and other Least Developed Countries contribute the least to climate change, we are committed to the global climate agenda.
Malawi’s own ambition is to cut carbon emissions by half before the year 2040, and so we call for support towards our efforts to transition to clean and green energy.
“On dealing with the evolving challenge of COVID-19, Malawi is again ready to catch up,” he said, noting that crucial to this effort is access to vaccines, and support to the efforts to catch up in this area will strengthen vaccine delivery systems in general.
He added that the critical need for Malawi is strengthening health systems more broadly to build resilience against future pandemics, which calls for investments in health infrastructure and research.
President Chakwera told the gathering that most vulnerable LDCs are suffering due to the unsustainable debt levels and distress they bear. He called for an immediate solution to the problem, which he equated to slavery.
“As leaders of generations past worked together to end old forms of slavery, so we too must work together to end this new form.
“Recently, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund called on the world’s major lenders to show leadership by relieving vulnerable countries of the debts that are shackling them, because even loans that were given and received in good faith have become unsustainable in the recent and current climate of relentless and unforeseen external shocks. I therefore join her in reiterating that call,” said the President.
He, thereafter, commended the People’s Republic of China “for leading by example by fulfilling the pledge it made at last year’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to forgive interest free loans owed by 17 African countries”.
*EQUALITY FOR ALL MEMBERS*
President Chakwera then called for equality for all UN member states, small or large.
“US President [Joe] Biden’s recent call for this UN Family to defend the rights of smaller nations as equals of larger ones must not only be applauded. It must be uploaded.
“As African member states, we do not wish to gather here next year with no progress made on the African Union’s Ezulwini consensus, which demands two permanent seats with veto power and five nonpermanent seats for Africa. So following the strong signal of support from the US Government, we expect to see this matter on its way to the United Nations Security Council to be tabled, heard, and settled,” said the Malawi Head of State.
In conclusion, President Chakwera expressed his country’s deepest condolences to the British Royal Family and the government and people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, “who was laid to rest on the eve of this Assembly’s High-Level Debate week”.