Lilongwe, Malawi 20th October, 2022 (AEJ) – Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera has made an urgent appeal to all citizens for radical changes on the relationship between people and environment. Chakwera was speaking at Bingu International Convention Center (BICC) in Lilongwe where he officially opened the National Children Summit on Climate Change ahead of the UN Conference of Parties number 27 which will be held in Sharma El Sheik, Egypt in November this year.
Chakwera said, “Climate change is real as the country faced a lot of effects of climate change during 2021/2022 rainy season due to different cyclones and the effects are affecting people's lives. As of now the hydro-electric power generation has been severely affected, 3.7 million people are going to face hunger and in turn forcing girls into early marriages in these disaster-prone areas just to mention a few.”
The Malawi President added that, "All stakeholders should focus on resilience interventions by having long term commitments toward climate change and people should start seriously embracing new energy technologies to protect the environment. Children should not face the same consequences when they grow up but rather have a better Malawi under the Vision 2063," Chakwera who graced the occasion as guest of honour sounded the appeal.
International humanitarian organization Save the Children Malawi are the main organizers of the event. Country Director Ashebir Debebe explained that the summit has brought together over 200 children across Malawi in order to seek government intervention on climate change which is affecting children education, health and the economy at large in both Malawi and the world.
"Children are not the cause of climate change but they are facing serious challenges because of climate related events. Many have lost their parents during different cyclones that hits the country, girls being exploited in the evacuation camps in order to get food, there are rising early marriages among girls and school dropouts among many other problems,” Debebe lamented to the participants that attended the summit launch."
He asked government to focus on early children development school curriculum in both primary and secondary schools on climate change, so that children should grow up knowing the consequences of climate change, how to mitigate it and have a better country.
Speaking on behalf of the children attending the summit Josephine Tione who is 13 years of age from Mwanza, a child parliamentarian observed that the time to speak about climate change is now and their voices need to be heard during the COP 27. Tione agreed with Debebe adding that children rights are always violated during climate related disasters that makes them more vulnerable to abuse.
The summit organized by Save the Children in Malawi and other partners will take place from 20th through 22th October 2022 under the theme, 'Children Voices Matters in Climate Change Decision Making Processes.’