Jul 27, 2017 Last Updated 2:30 PM, Jul 26, 2017
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Malawi’s government is being challenged to develop mechanisms that will see the country reducing overdependence on foreign agencies for funding in climate

The southern African nation has already has faced the harsh impacts of climate change which include floods and droughts that led to death and displacement of hundreds of people.

Experts in the sector insist even when the country has a low capacity of mobilising resources on climate financing, dependence on donor money is tricky since it is unpredictable.

National Youth Network on Climate Change (NYNCC) Programs Manager Dominic Nyasulu, insists Malawi has had a bad taste of climate change and must act fast.

“The challenge we have is that we rely much on donor money for climate financing and as a result it comes at a wrong time due to its unpredictability and leaves people suffering still,” lamented Nyasulu.

He further indicated that much as money for disaster preparedness or climate change is mainly sourced from foreign agencies, government is trying its best through the use of the national budget.

Apart from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other foreign agencies assisting Malawi on climate financing, help also comes from the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

Minister of natural resources, energy and mining, Bright Msaka shares the same views on local resource mobilisation.

“What is clear here is that we must find innovative ways of finding resources finding finances for environmental degradation and must not at all times depend on foreign support,” highlighted Msaka.

The minister believes forests that have been restored can help Malawi avoid climatic impacts and therefore communities must learn to source funds for that on their own to cover more areas.

Malawi government has already started walking the talk by encouraging communities in forests restoration as a long term solution.

Under the Bonn Challenge, it is expected that 4.5 hectors of land in Malawi will have restored and regenerated forests by the year 2020.

This week, National Forest Landscape Restoration and National Charcoal Strategy strategies have been launched to help mitigate the climate change impacts.

Officials from Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development are still consulting on what to do next regarding a drought insurance policy.

Government in 2015 bought a drought insurance policy costing almost $5million Dollars in preparedness for the 2015/16 agriculture season.

The insurance policy was bought from African Risk Capacity (ARC) Insurance Company Limited.

There was a setback however when the company failed to make a payout during the time Malawi was hit with droughts and the money has come in this year in December.

Alxex Namaona who is Director of Planning Services for the ministry of agriculture indicated that Malawi indeed took long to get a payout and they are trying to analyze what really went wrong.

“We are trying to find out what really went wrong, but from the onset, I believe the system of modeling that ARC uses could not be ideal for Malawi’s situation,” explained Namaona.

Parts with the country were hit by drought in the past few years which left thousands in need of food aid.

A report by Action Aid titled The Wrong Model for Resilience had revealed that Malawi made a mistake to buy the drought insurance policy.

The report indicates that the insurance policy was an experiment that failed Malawi, in particular its women, in the face of a drought that need not have become a disaster.

“The insurance failed to deliver on its promise of timely assistance, which 6.7 million food-insecure Malawians sorely needed, due to major defects in the model, data and process used to determine a payout,” says part of the report.

Action Aid acting country director Muhamed Sillah commented on the matter by advising government not to go back to the insurance policy and must focus much on consultations and use of locally found means to curb the challenges.

Officials from the ministry of agriculture and other stakeholders including those from the ARC Company Limited were last week engaged in a meeting where they want to draw lessons from the drought policy.

They believe further consultations will be done to determine a way forward on whether or not Malawi should rely on such insurance policies as the one from ARC.

Up to 10,000 people have been evacuated from a scenic coastal town in South Africa that has been devastated by wildfires, officials have said.

Military equipment was being deployed to douse more than 25 fires in Knysna, they added.

At least eight people have been killed in the storms and fires that have been raging in the town and other areas of the Western Cape region.

Strong winds from the worst winter storm in 30 years fuelled the fires.

At least 150 properties have been destroyed in Knysna, according to the fire service.

The town has a population of 77,000. It lies 500km (310 miles) east of Cape Town on South Africa's famed Garden Route.

"Humanitarian support is being co-ordinated for an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 residents of the Greater Knysna area, after devastating fires," said James-Brent Styan, spokesman for the Western Cape local government ministry.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) would assist in a water-bombing operation to extinguish the fires, its spokesman Simphiwe Dlamini said.

About 150 troops would also be deployed to make sure that criminals do not loot properties that have been vacated, he added.

In May, the Western Cape province declared a drought disaster after two reservoirs had completely dried up. It was said to have been the region's worst drought in more than a century.

Several other southern African nations were also affected by the two-year drought, which was caused by the El Nino climate phenomenon.

However, many parts of the region are now experiencing bumper maize harvests.

There has been widespread international condemnation of President Trump's announcement that the US is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

UN chief Antonio Guterres's spokesman called it "a major disappointment" while the European Union said it was "a sad day for the world".

However, senior Republicans and the US coal industry backed the move.

Mr Trump said the accord "punished" the US and would cost millions of American jobs.

In an address at the White House, he said he was prepared to negotiate a new agreement or re-enter the accord on improved terms.

"I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris," he said.

The Paris agreement commits the US and 187 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures "well below" 2C above pre-industrial levels and "endeavour to limit" them even more, to 1.5C.

Only Syria and Nicaragua did not sign up to the deal.

Mr Trump characterised the Paris agreement as a deal that aimed to hobble, disadvantage and impoverish the US.

He claimed the agreement would cost the US $3tn (£2.3tn) in lost GDP and 6.5 million jobs - while rival economies like China and India were treated more favourably.

Mr Trump said he was fulfilling his "solemn duty to protect America and its citizens".

He added: "We don't want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore - and they won't be."

Mr Trump did not give a timescale for US withdrawal, but White House sources had earlier suggested it could take up to four years.

US payments to the UN Green Climate Fund, which helps developing countries cope with the effects of climate change, will stop.

Former US President Barack Obama, who agreed to the Paris deal, immediately criticised the move, accusing the Trump administration of "rejecting the future".

Disney's chief executive Robert Igerand the entrepreneur Elon Musk both resigned from White House advisory councils.

"Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world," said Mr Musk, the head of tech giant Tesla.

However, Republican congressional leaders and the US coal industry backed the move, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell supporting Mr Trump "for dealing yet another significant blow to the Obama administration's assault on domestic energy production and jobs".

Peabody Energy America's biggest coal mining firm said the agreement would have badly affected the US economy.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumercalled the decision "one of the worst policy moves made in the 21st Century because of the huge damage to our economy, our environment and our geopolitical standing".

Traditional leaders and their subjects in Karonga have demanded sustainable projects from Mzuzu University (Mzuni) based researchers under the Urban Research Advocacy Centre (URAC) in a quest to combat the impacts of climate change.

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