Malawians, both young and old, Tuesday shared their vision of the world they would like to see in the next 25 years.
Speakers during the UN75 National Dialogue held at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe included President Lazarus Chakwera and United Nations Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed. Their overriding message? More needs to be done to achieve the desired Malawi come 2045, when the United Nations will be clocking 100 years.
From discussions around climate and the planet, justice and human rights, gender equality, poverty and inequality to the discourse on global cooperation for development— all speakers highlighted the need for significant policy changes to be implemented to deliver a Malawi free from poverty.
Chakwera joined Mohammed and UN Resident Coordinator Jose Maria Torres in discussing the role of global cooperation for development, where the three speakers acknowledged the need for increased cooperation.
In his speech, Chakwera said he was impressed with the optimism demonstrated by speakers in each session.
He said the UN75 National Dialogue provided a platform for his administration to hear directly from Malawians on the future they want.
“In fact, I see this as an extension of the national dialogue already being facilitated by the National Planning Council to formulate the Malawi National Transformation 2063, which is our collective vision of the country we want by the time Malawi turns 100.
“In a special way, the fact that the deputy secretary-general has been with us in this discussion gives us assurance that these views will form part of the whole UN family’s global conversation about the future we want to create together,” Chakwera said.
He said there was an urgent need to build capacity and resilience in critical areas exposed and highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic, citing border control, income security, healthcare systems, internal security, testing and tracking capabilities and emergency rapid response, among others.
Speaking during a panel discussion, Mohammed said the dialogue further strengthened the long partnership between the UN and Malawi.
She said Malawi had to find solutions that would build resilience and protect its vulnerable communities.
“Everyone has a role to play individually and collectively. Vibrant young women and men that can lead to the future that we want in the next 25 years. Together we can ensure that the world leaves no one behind,” Mohammed said.
Torres said Malawi occupied a special place in the UN because of its unique contributions to the promotion of global cooperation and peace.
She observed that over 20 UN entities had been working with the national authorities to ensure the food security of millions of Malawians, provide essential medicines to health facilities, increase antiretroviral therapy coverage, promote human rights for all persons living in Malawi and support the continued consolidation of democracy.
“The UN’s support in Malawi goes beyond the current public health crisis. The UN has also supported government’s efforts on climate change and expanding the use of smart agriculture techniques as well as generating more green jobs and markets.
“For example, through the Spotlight Initiative, the UN is also boldly working with partners to tackle violence against women and girls from multiple directions, including cultural transformation,” Torres said.