President Lazarus Chakwera will participate virtually and deliver pre-recorded speeches during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (Unga).
The assembly will run from September 14 to 30, when Chakwera will speak on behalf of Malawians and in his capacity as Southern African Development Community Chairperson.
Foreign Affairs Minister Eisenhower Mkaka disclosed this yesterday at a press briefing in Lilongwe, where he indicated that Chakwera would participate in eight meetings.
The Minister said there would be unquantifiable losses for not participating physically, but Malawi’s position on matters of national interest would be adequately articulated.
“Online participation has some limitations. The President will take part in all the meetings but you will appreciate the fact that, when the President is attending Unga in person, there are side-meetings he attends,” Mkaka said.
He indicated that Unga would have given the President time for bilateral talks and side-meetings but “now the side-meetings have been cancelled; he cannot have those because of the limitation given by the virtual participation”.
He added that, in his speeches, Chakwera would focus on areas such as the fight against Covid, access to vaccines and energy as well as agricultural innovations.
Among other things, the 2021 Unga would reflect on the importance of collective action in fighting Covid and recovery from Covid, with much emphasis on sustainable development and investments in conserving the planet.
The assembly will be held under the theme ‘Building resilience through hope to recover from Covid, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people and revitalise the United Nations’.
Among other meetings, Chakwera would participate in a high-level discussion on the 26th Conference of Parties on Climate Change and the second Sustainable Development Goals Moment.
Mkaka said the President would delegate Cabinet ministers to perform some of the tasks.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.