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Malawi drafting national climate change policy

Lilongwe: One of the hard hit countries in Southern Africa with rising climate change impacts, Malawi has engaged a process to formulate its long awaited National Climate Change Policy (NCCP). Malawi's population of about 14 million people and an economy which is agro-based suffers from reeling effects of environmental degradation.

Led by the Environmental Affairs Department (EAD) of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Management, the policy formulation process blessed by the Office of the President and Cabinet includes efforts from experts drawn from various key governmental ministry departments and civil society groups that include the faith based stakeholders.

The idea, said one of the top officials in the process, is to have a wider consultative process that will represent all sectors.

Impeccable source indicate since last week experts from the select departments have been meeting trying to formulate terms of reference and chart out a living timetable that will see Malawi strengthen its resolve to adapt and mitigate climate change issues.

Following the National Adaptatition Action Plan (NAPA), NAPs, and NAMAs, Malawi is bent at instituting the national effort to protecting its interests as 'global warming' continues to affect its people. Poverty, nutrition and health, education and agriculture all are affected by environmental mismanagement.

EAD says in its report that the NAPA document has been developed to enable Malawi address her urgent and immediate adaptation needs caused by climate change and extreme weather events.

"Specifically, the document aims at identifying a list of priority activities, formulating priority adaptation options, building capacity for adapting to longer-term climate change and variability, and raising public awareness on the urgency to adapt to the adverse effects of extreme weather events," it highlights.

Amongst the key adaptation issues that will also benefit from the policy once its through include areas promoting adequate food, good health, access to clean and safe drinking water, and sufficient energy for home and industrial use are critical factors for sustaining livelihoods.

EAD adds: "The recent extreme weather events have led to critical food shortages leading to food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition. Floods and other natural disasters have led to the displacement of people, a situation that is compounded by extreme poverty in rural areas that is making it difficult for rural family households to purchase food and farm inputs to enhance crop production."

The department has since engaged consultants from the University of Malawi with experts from Bunda, Chancellor College and LEAD. Dr. Aloysius Kamperewera, Secretary for Environment and Climate Change Management, is leading the process.

He said during one of the climate change meetings that Malawi has been undertaking and implementing climate change related programs and activities without a guiding policy. "The National Climate Change Policy shall enhance planning, development and coordination of climate change programs, and financing of the activities," he said.

14 August 2012
Patricia Masinga
Nyasa Times
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