LAZARUS MCCARTHY CHAKWERA, President of Malawi, reminded the world leaders that in their addresses during the high-level General Assembly debate, they speak of a future that does not belong to them. As their decisions will influence future generations, it is insufficient to ask for more trust, global solidarity, peace and prosperity for all, when the actions cause the opposite. Without changing this, the Sustainable Development Goals “will remain a reality only on paper”, he warned, urging the international community to prioritize the places that are most at risk of not meeting any of them. His country, aligning its national priorities with the 2030 Agenda, developed a corresponding implementation plan as part of its Malawi 2063 vision. In this regard, he took pride in his country staying on track to end hunger; safeguard good health and the well-being of its citizens; improve the quality of education; ensure better sanitation; and promote life below water.
Nevertheless, he regretted that progress has been achieved only on five out of 17 Goals, stressing that help is needed not only to make gains but also to safeguard accomplishments. He thus reiterated: “We need urgent support in building resilience to inoculate our economy against the adverse effects of shocks.” Over the past year, Malawi has lived through the worst cholera outbreak in its history, a drought resulting in a significant loss of vital crops and a cyclone that “left a trail of death and destruction”. In light of this, he urged developed countries to shift from words to actions on climate financing, calling, on behalf of all least developed countries, also for the cancelation of debts. This will allow these States to catch up on the Sustainable Development Goals as well as revive the global economy after the pandemic.
Turning to world leaders, he stated: “That’s a decision you can make today so that the money being drained by servicing debts can go towards rebuilding roads, schools, hospitals, businesses and livelihoods.” He announced that Malawi is committed to continuing engagement with the United Nations and its development partners to mobilize international support that goes beyond disaster management and seeks to build sustainability. To this end, it will “continue banging on the door of financial institutions that remain too slow, too unresponsive and too rigid”, he declared. He underscored that Malawi is committed to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and a rules-based international system, as long as it has the power to change the rules that have worked against the country and held back its development for decades.
Noting that the current structure of the Security Council undermines democracy, inclusivity, accountability and trust, he also advocated for its “radical reform”. He echoed the United States in calling for a permanent seat [for Africa] on the Council. Without this, rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity will be a challenge. Further, he emphasized that the world needs a new development paradigm beyond 2030 — one that genuinely considers the interests of the developing world and has partnership at its centre. It should also promote competition in human ingenuity, science, technology and innovation rather than in militarization and economic exploitation, he stated. Such a paradigm should also reward developed States for financing climate projects in the developing world, establish effective carbon markets, build each continent’s capacity to cope with future pandemics and unleash the full potential of youth, putting them in the driver’s seat for change.
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