Being party to the 2015 Paris Agreement a global framework for limiting climate-damaging gases Malawi was scheduled to submit her revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat this December.
However, the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources authorities say the document will be ready by Match next year.
NDCs outline country-level climate actions to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change and Malawi has just commenced consultation processes starting with district councils.
Chief Environmental Officer (Climate Change0 in the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources who is also Malawi’s Chief climate change negotiator Evans Njewa attributed the delay in submitting the revised NDCs to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“ As you know Covid 19 paralysed business in all sectors and because of that, we could not conduct consultation meetings so that the new NDCs reflects the will of the people. Feedback from the current NDCs show that some key stakeholders were not consulted and we do not want to repeat the same mistake,” said Njewa.
Njewa said all the councils in the South and Eastern region have been consulted and have provided vital input which inform the design of adaptation programs that can be owned and sustained by local structures. He also disclosed civil society organisations, the private sector, youth and other groups of interest will be consulted.
The current set of NDCs will run up to 2040 but are subject to review after every five years. Asked to highlight key achievements that have come as a result of implementing the NDCs Njewa said a comprehensive assessment is yet to be done.
Speaking at one of the consultation meetings in Blantyre District Commissioner for Chiradzulu Reinhard Kaweta said the involvement of councils in the implementation of climate change programs is key but highlighted poor coordination and limited funding as key challenges.
Said Kaweta : “ We are part of the globe and whatever happens in the atmosphere affects us and it is important that we participate and initiate sustainable climate actions. We will begin to seriously incorporate issues of climate change in our planning systems and ensure implementation and monitoring of the set programs to reduce the climate change impacts”.
Meanwhile, climate resilience advocates say the government’s move is a step in the right direction but have warned further delays will see the country losing out os key funding opportunities to implement the commitments.
Civil Society Network on Climate Change national coordinator Julius Ng’oma said the current NDCs were not realistic, lacked clarity and ambition in terms of targets and on how the set targets of reducing emissions were to be achieved.
“We are likely to miss out on consideration of support from the international community towards the implementation of the same. Our NDCs will always have the element of unconditional support which developed countries are obliged to meet. However, the delay may mean developed countries would prioritize developing countries which may submit their NDCs earlier. Also, this would mean a delay in implementation of the same as the case for the current one” he added ” said Ng’oma.
Ng'oma said the review provides an opportunity to close gaps in the current NDCs: " The costing of the various interventions was not done properly an element which affected its implementation. The current NDCs also lack an elaborate section of the Adaptation component which needs particular attention as the review process is being undertaken considering that Malawi’s efforts should mostly be directed towards climate change Adaptation than mitigation."
South Africa based climate change resilience expert with strong connections to Malawi Katharine Vincent said while content development is still underway, the review process somehow cements Malawi’s commitment to the goals of the Paris Agreement including ensuring that the people and the economy are able to adapt to projected climate change.
" The costing of the various interventions was not done properly an element which affected its implementation. The current NDCs also lack an elaborate section of the Adaptation component which needs particular attention as the review process is being undertaken considering that Malawi’s efforts should mostly be directed towards climate change Adaptation than mitigation."
Agriculture Forestry and Other Land Uses (AFOLU) tops the list of polluting sectors at 33.35% followed by energy and transport 36.7 % waste management 27.79% and Industrial Processes 1.11%.
The NDCs are expected to feature highly during the next global climate change meeting to take place in Glasgow UK in the last quarter of 2020.
Addressing the 2020 climate ambition summit which was organised as a way of observing the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement President Lazarous Chakwera highlighted several commitments Malawi is implementing including restoration of 4.5 million hectors of degraded and deforested areas, the introduction of the carbon levy to capitalise the national climate change fund and replacing diesel generators with a solar system to generate additional power for the national grid.