LILONGWE, Malawi 24th October, 2021 (AEJ) - Scores of people on Friday took part in the Green Climate Awareness March organized by Association of Environment Journalists in Lilongwe with one clear message. #1billion4climatechange campaign now pledged by developed countries during the Paris Agreement to help in adaptation and mitigation projects in poor countries.
The UN Paris Agreement is a landmark multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.
As a legally binding international treaty on climate change, it was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12th December, 2015 and entered into force on 4 November, 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
Speaking before the march took off to patrons that included students, government officials, non - state actors, development partners, media and the public at large. Ben Yasin, Deputy Director of Environmental Affairs Department told marchers that Malawi is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate-related shocks and experiences frequent cycles of droughts and severe flooding.
Yasin added that future scenarios from climate experts modelling indicate that the country will experience substantive medium and long-term changes to temperature and rainfall patterns.
“Malawi’s 2019 Post Disaster Needs Assessment Report estimated that the total effects of the disaster (in terms of both damage and loss) in the 17 affected areas (15 districts and two cities) amounted to US$ 220.2 million, which translates to trillions of the local currency. This is too grave for a country like Malawi whose most citizens live in abject poverty,” a worried Yasin explained to the marchers.
Taking his turn, Yousef Jogezai Director of Concern Worldwide weighed in saying his organization in the run-up to COP26, is working to ensure that there is a focus on the countries that are most vulnerable to climate change and that they receive the support they need to deal with climate impacts.
“We’ll be amplifying voices and experiences of the people that Concern works with, who are already living with the effects of climate change. Through our #1billion4climatechange campaign, we’re working with others across in Malawi and the world to put pressure on rich countries to fulfil on their Paris Climate agreement pledges,” Jogezai sounded the alarm.
According to Jogezai all efforts such as the march will add voice to hold the politicians, elected officials and corporations to account commitments, adding that “We are also sharing our learnings at COP26 from climate change and resilience programmes implemented in various countries including Malawi to the best practices that can be adopted and scaled up.”
During the walk that commenced at Lilongwe Community Centre Ground and ended at the Lilongwe City Mall complex marchers picked waste along the streets signifying the clean-up campaign. This was being done, while the procession was being mesmerised by the music maestro Lulu with his Mathumela Band.
World Bank Representative for Malawi Francis Nkoka another key strategic partner explained that they found it very important to be part of this event because, on October 17th, the world marks the International Day for the eradication of poverty, also known as the End Poverty Day.
“This is an important date given major setbacks registered recently across the globe in the fight against poverty, and the ever-growing challenges humanity is faced with. Our main message on this day is “Helping countries towards a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery and preparing for future crises” which resonates well with the activities we have done today.” Nkoka said in his speech at the final ending place of the march.
UK Deputy High Commissioner David Pert who received a petition from Malawian youth representative Dorothy Kazombo – Mwale sounded optimistic that as hosts of UN Climate Conference in Glasgow (COP26), which begins in just a week time; it gives me great pleasure to participate in this green climate awareness walk.
“UK is playing its part, doubling our international climate finance commitments to £11.6 billion over five years. Our friends in the G7 and EU have made similar increased commitments at the G7 leaders’ summit and recently at the UN General Assembly,” Pert assured the marchers.
The march comes ahead of AEJ national assembly where training and media awards are given to practitioners that have professionally covered issues related to climate change and environment management.