LILONGWE, Malawi, April 18, 2021 (AEJ) - A local non-governmental organization Initiative for Climate Action and Development – (ICAD) has commissioned a project to establish the impacts of climate change on businesses in Malawi. Traditionally, the private sector is viewed as a source of funding with very little attention drawn to examine how the private sector is responding to climate shocks.
ICAD has for the last three months with support from the Global NAP has been meeting business owners and communities as part of the assessment process. At meeting convened in Lilongwe recently ICAD share preliminary findings and solicited additional inputs which will inform the development of the private sector Engagement Strategy for the National Adaptation Plan process (NAP).
Malawi launched National Adaptation Plan process in 2014 but recent reviews indicate private sector’s involvement in the NAP processes is not adequate. The objective of the NAP according to Environmental Affairs Department is to reduce vulnerability of people and to promote community and ecosystem resilience to the impacts of climate change and gender-equitable adaptive capacity for planning and implementing interventions.
ICAD’s study targeted cooperatives, farmer associations such as Farmers Union of Malawi, National Small Holder Farmers Association, Chamber of Small and Medium Business Associations (CSMBA) and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute among others.
Gift Maloya, Executive Director for ICAD reported that preliminary findings for the national wide study show that enterprises in the agriculture sector are the most hit surviving with little or no significant incentives to caution their investments. It is also emerging from the study that the private sector is not aware of or does not utilize existing climate change policies and guidelines to inform their investment strategies.
Speaking at the same consultation meeting Environmental Affairs Director, Tawonga Mbale - Luka acknowledged that private sector participation in NAP processes has been very minimal. Luka acknowledged the private sector is key in helping to build resilience and adapt to climate change and must be targeted for thorough engagement in the NAP process.
Said Luka: "Engaging the private sector is essential for multiple reasons. It can mobilise financial resources and technical capabilities, leverage the efforts of government, engage civil society and community efforts, and develop innovative climate services and adaptation technologies."
She added that the NAP process potentially helps the private sector to understand and manage risks including associated benefits associated with climate change.
Christopher Banda, a representative of SCMBA encouraged the private sector to view climate change as an opportunity and not a crisis. Banda highlighted waste management, water harvesting, forest plantations and irrigation as some of the potential areas of investment.
Last year, Malawi finalised the development of the National Adaptation Plan Framework to guide effective advancement of the NAP process. The NAP process was hatched at a climate conference in Cancun Mexico to facilitate development of comprehensive short, long and medium-term adaptation plans by UN member states as part of global climate negations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – UNFCCC.