By Deogratias Mmana:
President Lazarus Chakwera has challenged the United Nations (UN) to silence petty and narrow interests and provide answers to four crises facing it: Climate change; Covid; sustainable development and the UN governance.
Chakwera said this in his virtual address to the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (Unga) on Wednesday.
On climate change crisis, Chakwera has told the UN that the starting point is for rich countries to fulfil their pledge of paying $100 billion towards climate mitigation and adaptation.
“These are nations that tell the rest of us to consider them as friends, nations that call us corrupt and unworthy when we say one thing and do another, nations that tell us that they are the leaders in this global village.
“Well, it’s time to show that leadership. Fulfill your pledge. Mind you, this is 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 up,” Chakwera said.
He spoke strongly on the need for member states to protect children from carbon emissions.
He said children should have a future of zero carbon emissions or a future of zero daily climate catastrophes that wipe out crops, homes, cities and some nations.
Chakwera also lambasted the rich member states for not making available Covid vaccines.
His message to the UN: “Release the vaccines and the vaccine production rights to save human rights.”
He has accused the UN of playing double standards on the release of vaccines which, he said, has not favoured the 46 member states that are Least Developed Countries and the 16 member states of the Southern African Development Community which are chaired by Malawi where vaccination rates are below two percent.
“As such, you can imagine our disappointment to be at an assembly like this, rubbing shoulders with nations that are now administering booster shots while most of our people have yet to get their first one. This form of vaccine nationalisation is wrong. It is insensitive. And it must end,” Chakwera said.
The President also called for debt cancellation for poor countries to recover from the economic devastation caused by Covid.
“This is the single most impactful thing that would help developing nations like Malawi build back better and not be left behind,” Chakwera said.
He added that Malawi already has a Social Economic Recovery Programme for addressing the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.
“But what is missing is the debt cancellation that will help us on recovery,” he said.
He said the effectiveness of this approach has already been proven by the G20 Debt Service Suspension Institute.
On the sustainable development crisis, Chakwera urged UN member states to work together to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“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,” said Chakwera.
He also accused the UN of lacking democracy, accountability and transparency and called for its reformation to reflect what it preaches.
He cited one area that the UN needs to urgently attend: Implementation of the African Union’s Ezulwini Consensus which demands two permanent seats for Africa, with veto power, on the UN Security Council.
“It is time for the United Nations to practise the democratic values it preaches. That is the UN we want for the millions of new-borns entering the troubled world we have created because that is the UN they can trust to create a better world,” Chakwera said.
The 76th Session of the General Assembly opened on September 14 2021.
This year’s Unga is being under the theme ‘Building Resilience through Hope to Recover from Covid, Rebuild Sustainability, Respond to The Needs of The Planet’.