By Yamikani Yapuwa in Lusaka, Zambia -Mana.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Nancy Tembo on Tuesday called for mechanisms to soften and simplify procedures that will enable countries like Malawi access funds to implement climate change programmes effectively.
Tembo made the call on the sidelines of the 18th meeting of ministers of foreign affairs which took place on Tuesday in Lusaka ahead of the COMESA Heads of State and Government Summit.
“Malawi has programmes aimed at mitigating the impact of weather shocks like cyclones but the challenge remains on financing. For as long as we have no financing, whatever strategies we put in place, we may not be able to achieve the goals.
“So, there was a call to financing mechanisms to ease their procedures for countries to access financing. The mechanisms are cumbersome and it takes long for countries to access funds,” said Tembo.
She said the impacts of climate change cannot wait that long, hence the need to look at the issue with urgency.
“We are rushing against time. We are on position red on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. Red means we are running behind target and so it is important that we all do our best and treat the matter of climate change with urgency.
“It takes a long time say two to three years for financing partners to make funds available after proposals have been drawn. So, the call is for financing mechanisms to also look at climate change issues as a matter of urgency,” said Tembo.
In his opening remarks, Secretary General for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe urged COMESA Member States to embrace the COMESA Conflict Early Warning System (COMWARN) a comprehensive conflict and early warning and analysis system to immediately prioritise factors that have an impact on peace and prosperity index of respective states.
“Through the guidance of Ministers, we have been implementing a robust early warning system COMWARN that is designed to provide forecast of structural vulnerability drivers with an overall objective of building resilience in member states and in our region.
Kapwepwe said the last output of the COMWARN model identifies education and the advancement in technology as amongst the most prominent resilience factors in many of the member states.
“Yet we know that the education sector was one of the worst affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic with schooling highly disrupted and made worse by the relatively low internet access in most parts of our region.
“Fortunately, the effects of change in structural factors on peace and prosperity take long time to materialise. It therefore gives us more time to develop response strategies and to ensure their implementation before the effects become more visible, and before it becomes more difficult to reverse
Apart from the issues of climate change, during the meeting the ministers also discussed about peace, security and stability in the COMESA region where issues of the conflicts in DRC, Rwanda and Sudan as well as how conflict resolution efforts in Northern Ethiopia are making headway among others.