Stakeholders advocate for concerted actions to address climate change

Mnena Iyorkegh, Abuja

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Given the extreme vulnerability of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region to the impacts of climate change, addressing these impacts requires concerted action.
Hence, Member States and partners have been urged to accelerate the implementation of an effective climate action agenda in line with SADC priorities.
Stakeholders who made the call at the SADC Regional green climate conference in Malawi, Southern Africa, also emphasized on the need to ensure stronger, more coordinated cross-government action at the national and regional level to address climate challenge in the region.
The Southern Africa Development Community SADC region has continued to experience extreme climatic events, such as droughts, increased frequency of floods and cyclones, impacting negatively on the economies and societies of the region.
According to the Acting  UN Resident Coordinator in Malawi, Mr Shigeki Komatsu Bara, addressing these needs more practical solutions at all levels.
“Furthermore, coordinated support amongst UN Country Teams to Governments in SADC Member States will be critical to effectively address these climate challenges.With a dedicated Sustainable Development Goal on Climate Action (SDG 13), which is closely interrelated with other Goals, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development offers a roadmap to pursue climate action and sustainable development in an integrated, inclusive and resilient manner. Tasked with supporting member states to implement the SDGs, all UN agencies are supporting mitigation; strengthening resilience and adaptation to climate-related hazards and natural disasters; as well as engaging the private sector on creating green jobs and seizing the economic opportunities for development”.

The Southern African Development Community, (SADC) Deputy Executive Secretary, Regional Integration, Dr Thembinkosi Mhlongo, also said that
“There is therefore, the need for increasing regional and international cooperation to reduce vulnerability to climate change and ensure resilience, and secure adequate implementation of the Regional Integration Agenda for the benefit of our societies. Such meetings like this one, are a key enabler in facilitating critical conversations among Member States and strategic partners, to find appropriate solutions to address challenges we are facing within our countries and in the region”.

According to Malawi’s Minister of Natural Resources And Climate, Eisenhower Nduwa Mkaka, for the effect of climate change to be defeated  actions must be coordinated.

“The Chairperson of SADC is urging the member states to design action plans and strategies for addressing the various developmental challenges that face our region.

Pursuing climate action and sustainable development in an integrated and coherent way is by far the strongest approach to enable this region to minimize the economic and social costs of climate change and achieve our national and international obligations.

I believe, that this Green Climate Conference is an ideal platform to take stock of climate action and identify how, we, as member states can work together to further reduce climate risk, share experiences, best practices and lessons learned, and, therefore, shift the region towards a low carbon and climate resilient development pathway,
including greener COVID-19 recovery.
Mr Nduwa Mkaka, added that ” These impacts pose an unprecedented threat to the health, nutrition, education, development and – in too many instances – the very survival of children. The Government of Malawi, following the deliberations of COP26 and the looking at the roadmap for COP 27, has therefore decided to make a formal commitment to support this cause and ensure that children’s rights are well embedded in all main sector policies and strategies on climate change, starting from the Nationally Determined Contributions. To this end, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change, has signed the UNICEF’s Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action.”
One of the students at Mpasa Secondary school,
who witnessed and survived cyclones ANA, GOMBE and DIMARCO, Ester Maganizo’s. noted that “As a result, our needs as children and the youth
are excluded from climate change-related decision-making processes at all levels.

But, we have the energy and ideas and we are in large numbers, excluding us, is a big loss to the country.

Please involve us in all climate change-related activities. Involve us in activities to preserve the environment, activities to plan for climate disaster, and activities to restore the environment.

So today, I would like to thank the Malawi government for making the commitment to place children’s rights and children’s voices at the centre of climate action. We look forward, to being involved and included in all things climate change.”

The Green Climate Conference, a platform aimed to share knowledge, experience and best practices on common Climate Action, experience, challenges, was with the Theme “Collective Responsibility for Enhanced Climate Action in the Southern Africa Development Community Region”

Hauwa Mustapha

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