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Malawi, Switzerland sign carbon credit pact

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By Tiwonge Kampondeni in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt:

Malawi has signed a carbon trading bilateral agreement with Switzerland to facilitate the implementation of projects that will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) that contribute to climate change.

The agreement is in line with Article 6 of the Paris Agreement (2015, PA) which provides for bilateral arrangements on carbon trading between countries.

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Carbon trading is an agreement where countries that fail to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere, as demanded by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) framework, are asked to contribute to efforts aimed at reducing levels of carbon in the atmosphere.

They do so by financing climate change mitigation projects in a country that is performing well in that area.

The 34-year framework will facilitate initiatives such as the establishment of biogas plants, acceleration of solar energy access, tree planting and scaling up of modern cooking methods which will also help in stemming deforestation cases.

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Speaking at a Conference of the Parties (CoP)27 fireside event in Egypt, Natural Resources and Climate Change Minister Eisenhower Mkaka expressed optimism that upcoming projects will not only facilitate the creation of green jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities but will also accelerate Malawi’s implementation of laid-out national mitigation targets, also known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

“The agreement means we will have the government, or companies [from Switzerland] that would come to Malawi, undertake projects that will reduce the presence of carbon in the atmosphere. There will be money exchanging hands, specifically for implementation of projects,” Mkaka said.

Mkaka also said he was aware of some unscrupulous entities that are exploiting countries and taking advantage of their weak capacity.

“We, as a country, will make sure that we are wide awake so that no one takes advantage of us. We are also going to strengthen our regulations, improve our data management and build the capacity of our staff.

“It is my expectation that, under this framework, we shall be able to have meaningful benefits from carbon trading through large and impactful projects in line with the conditional actions that are outlined in our NDCs. It is also my sincere hope that we will put in place mechanisms for monitoring, reporting and verification of the transactions to ensure that they are in line with the article 6.2 decision from the Conference of the Parties,” he said.

Swiss Ambassador for the Environment Franz Xaver Perrez described the development as “an important step and a clear demonstration of how the Global North and Global South can collaborate in dealing with the existential threat of climate change”.

He added that Malawi stands a chance of benefitting from Ghana and Senegal’s experiences, where his government has been supporting the implementation of similar projects.

“The project will benefit both of us. Malawi is helping us reduce carbon from the atmosphere, something we could not have done on our own. At the same time, this is an investment into Malawi towards a sustainable future as it will help Malawi implement projects it would not have been able to implement without our help,” Perrez said.

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