Malawi calls for increased ambition at COP25

As least developed countries hope for an uneasy deal at the global climate change talks in Spain, Malawi has called for increased ambition and financial contribution from developed nations to reduce the hardship of vulnerable communities.

Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bintony Kutsaira read the national statement at the 25th Conference of Parties (COP25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on Wednesday around 2pm.

Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bintony Kutsaira

During the session, he congratulated Chile and Spain for jointly hosting the global conference, but affirmed the rising demands to ramp up ambition and funding “as the impacts of climate change are having real impacts on poor people’s lives and livelihood”.

“It is therefore my expectation that COP25 being held here in Madrid will provide critical momentum for urgent and immediate action to combat this climate emergency,” he said, backing the stance of the Africa Group, Least Developed Countries as well as the Group of 77 plus China.

In March, southern Africa was hit hard by floods caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai which killed almost 1 000 people in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Kutsaira estimated the loss and damage caused by the flooding, which affected almost 935 000 people and displaced 87 000 in15 districts in Malawi alone, at $200 million (about K147 billion.)

He echoed President Peter Mutharika’s statement at COP25 that the country requires $375 million (about K276 billion) for reconstruction. He said key sectors of the fragile economy have been adversely hit by climate change, especially power generation and agricultural production.

“The country is losing its long, hard-earned infrastructure and economic gains. This is not justified considering that Malawi’s greenhouse gas emissions stand at just 0.07 metric tonnes per person, a very low figure at the national scale,” he stated.

Kutsaira urged developed nations, which are the major emitters of polluting gases, to increase funding for adaptation as well as relevant and affordable technologies to combat climate change.

“To achieve our vision for climate change management, we urgently require predictable, adequate and affordable means of implementation, including financial, technological and capacity building support,” he said.

However, uncertainty at COP25 is rising as developed countries led by the US stand accused of dialing back vulnerable nations’ demand for increased financial support and reductions in carbon emissions.

As ministers were reading their position papers in the interiors of Ifema at Feria de Madrid, activists from the worst hit countries were whining about a possibility of a bad deal Tanzanian campaigner Fazal Issa christened ‘Failure de Madrid’.

“No finance, no commitments, no indications,” said Issa, who is leading Tanzania’s negotiations.

 The Pan-African Climate Justice Network to which the Civil Society Network on Climate Change (Cisonecc) belongs, is on Thursday expected to hold a press conference expressing its frustration with slow pace and lack of ambition in the ongoing climate change talks.

“It is better no deal than a bad deal,” said board member Augustine Njamishi. “Africa is not choiceless. We have a choice, but we have chosen to move forward sustainably. This is why we want countries responsible for the majority of global emissions to support us take the chosen path because we are the worst hit by effects of climate change.”

It also urges developed partners to accelerate efforts to reduce emissions that fuel climate change and respect national pledges to stop emission by 2020.

Even Kutsaira was skeptical of “a fair deal”, saying the tone of the negotiations point to a high likelihood of the parties postponing the debate over climate financing to the next COP in Glasgow, Scotland, as was the case last year in Katowice, Poland.

In their statements, Ireland and Japan dialled up calls for increasing ambition and funding, saying the voice of the youth protesting in schools and on the streets are clear that the world getting warmer and more populated cannot continue doing business as usual.

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