Reversing climate crisis, remedy to a hopeful Malawi

At the heart of the Climate Summit underway in Sharma-El Sheik, Egypt has so far been a world on path to a climate-crisis, unless sustainable interventions are put in place to rescue the situation.

This is among the concerns raised by UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres who has set the tone of CoP 27 raising a red-flag about an impending climate-crisis resulting from intense natural disasters.

However, Guterres has told the conference there were solutions if nations made a choice to collaborate to fight against climate change which has claimed thousands of lives and left humanity suffering.

โ€œHumanity must cooperate or perish in the face of climate,โ€ Guterres said.

Echoing the UN chief; Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sis has observed the world was full of climate catastrophes which were worsening and resulting to losses.

โ€œAs soon as we tackle one catastrophe another arises, wave after wave of suffering and loss, he noted.

And Malawi hasnt been spared from this climate crisis with statistics indicating reduced resilience of households due to climate change as two million people risked being pushed into poverty the next years.

Given the already devastating impact climate change was posing on the agriculture sector, Malawis economic backbone it seems to be getting harder for the nation to achieve its development targets.

Chikumbutso Masiye, a subsistence farmer from the drought-prone district of Neno, Southern part of Malawi the erratic rainfall over the recent farming seasons has posed a huge threat his family and the community future.

Guterres set the tone straight.

This he says; has not only dwindled his annual harvests but also affected the generally livelihood of his family.

โ€œA classic implication has been failure to harvest surplus for commercial to support myself, this has been a huge blow and sadly therere dont seem to be solutions for subsistence farmers like myself,โ€ he said.

Another one Chimwemwe Banda from the Eastern region district of Machinga dreads the sporadic rainfall which usually leads to flash floods destroying crops and washing them away.

This he says often makes him and his family food insecure.

She said: โ€œFlood waters carry waterborne diseases especially diarrhea. We would like to move to an area which is less prone to floods but we dont have resources to relocate and so we are preyed upon by flash floods. And the relocation itself, is challenging for even if we move, it would be hard to be accepted in another community.โ€

People’s property has been damaged.

For solutions rocking the agriculture sector, James Chimwaza, an agriculture economist emphasizes on the need for farmers to embrace irrigation farming both for to booster their food and economic status.

โ€œIrrigation farming will help farmers ensure that food production continues, regardless of the season or climatic conditions, this means there is continuous income and employment,โ€ Chimwaza said.

Meanwhile, Hugh Riddell, World Bank country manager, has told MIJ online that a worsening climate crisis would make it difficult for Malawi to attain its development goals as the nations pathway to economic growth was presently halted by climate shocks.

โ€œClimate change has trapped millions of Malawians into poverty for many decades, this will make it harder for Malawi to reach ambitious goals of vision 2063โ€ he said.

Riddel said time has come for nation to make steps to jumpstart investments in climate resilient infrastructure and halt land degradation and forest loss to improve agriculture.

โ€œPrioritizing these actions, combined with expanded safety nets and economic diversification could reduce the number of vulnerable households that would otherwise fall into poverty,โ€ Riddel advised.

Without these investments the World Bank estimates that climate change could reduce Malawis GDP by 3 to 9 % by 2030, 6to20 percent by 2040 and 8 to 16 percent by 2050.

On his part, Madalo Minofu, country manager for International Finance Cooperation has reiterated the need for the private sector to play an important role in supporting Malawi to both accelerate growth and reduce poverty in response to climate change.

โ€œBy unlocking barriers to investments, the public and private sector can work together to mobilizing financing for the countrys climate resilience development,โ€ Minofu said.

Besides, Philip Nyasulu, Trocaire Malawis Climate and Disaster Reduction Officer, community led adaptation and mitigation efforts were key to addressing impacts of climate change.

He noted that community mobilization demonstrated during the onset and aftermath of Cyclone Idai which hit the country in 2019 demonstrated the importance of community capacity in reducing the impacts of cyclones.

โ€œThis shows that community led adaptation and mitigation efforts are key to addressing impacts of climate change but communities cannot do this alone , what is needed is strong coordinated , global, national and regional action,โ€ he said.

Meanwhile, leaders from developing nations are demanding that developed countres at the forefront of the climate change meet previous commitments on finance to help least developd nations meet their mitigation and adaptation goals.

A recent report by the United Nations Environment program, indicates that progress on adaptation is slow with international adaptation finance flowing to developing counties 5 to 10 times below estimated need.

The report further shows that combined adaptation and mitigation finance flows in 2020 fell at least 17 billion US dollars short of the 100 billion pledged by developing nations, indicating a significant need to accelerate finance if the 100 billion US dollars pledge to developing nations is to be met.

*This article has been published with support from MESHA/IDRC grant for coverage of COP-27 by African science journalists.

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