LAZARUS MCCARTHY CHAKWERA, President of Malawi, pointing out that over 3 million babies will be born during the seven days of the General Assembly debate, stressed: “We must choose for our children a future of zero carbon emissions, or a future of daily climate catastrophes.” As well, the international community must choose for those 3 million infants a future of solidarity that transcends borders and national identities in times of global crisis, or a future of greed that hoarded life-saving vaccines in one hemisphere, while the other hemisphere is robbed of its raw materials and left perishing. In that light, he called for the world to respond to four crises: the climate crisis, the pandemic, sustainable development and the United Nations Governance crisis.
“It’s been over 10 years since the developed nations that polluted our planet the most pledged $100 billion towards climate mitigation and adaptation,” he continued. These were the nations telling the rest of the world to follow their example. “It’s time to show that leadership,” he said, adding that such monies were not a donation. “This is a cleaning fee, because if you pollute the planet we all call home, it is only right that you should pay to clean it up,” he said.
The starting point for ending the pandemic was to release the vaccines, he said. It was reported that half a billion vaccine doses were being kept by developed countries and would be expiring in three months. In most of the 46 Member States of the least developed countries and the 16 member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), vaccination rates were below 2 per cent. “With such limited access to vaccines, we have had to make the most of preventive measures,” he said, noting that his Government brought three waves of the pandemic under control without the use of lockdowns. Malawi constructed and staffed recovery centres in record time to treat COVID-19 patients and registered a recovery rate of over 85 per cent. Furthermore, the country cut infection rates down from 40 per cent to less than 5 per cent and kept the death toll below 3000. In addition, monthly cash transfers were disseminated to support thousands of households impacted by a loss of income because of the pandemic.
“As a global community, we are off track on a number of Sustainable Development Goals, and there is no path of progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda that does not involve working together across borders, across sectors, and across SDGs,” he said. To that end, his country hosted the forty-first Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government, in which it shared what it had learned successfully implementing the Affordable Inputs Programme, which increased food production by 21 per cent in its first season. Malawi also hosted the Summit for Heads of State from Africa and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), he noted, adding that Malawi is one of eight nations that are Global Champions on Sustainable Development Goal 7 to achieve clean energy for all by 2030. However, even though his country has a 10-year implementation plan for achieving Agenda 2030, much of that plan cannot be done in isolation, he stressed.
In a world that needs multilateralism, the United Nations must be the gold standard of democracy, accountability, transparency and equity, he stated. One reform urgently needed was the implementation of the African Union’s Ezulwini Consensus, which demands two permanent seats for Africa, with veto power, on the Security Council and five non-permanent seats. “It is time for the United Nations to practice the democratic values it preaches. That is the UN we want for the millions of newborns entering the troubled world we have created, because that is the UN they can trust to create a better world,” he declared.
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