Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Deputy Executive Secretary Thembinkosi Mhlongo Wednesday called for a deep conversation on climate change mitigation efforts.
Speaking in Lilongwe at the opening of the Sadc Green Conference, Mhlongo said while the region was coming up with mechanisms aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change, it needed to ensure speed when reacting to information generated through early warning systems.
“We have developed warning systems that alert us of what cyclones and storms are coming. Only when the roofs are gone, water levels are up, that’s when we start moving up and down. We can do better,” he said.
The Sadc climate change conference centres on having collective responsibility for enhanced climate change action in Southern Africa.
Chairperson for the conference, who is Malawi’s Natural Resources and Climate Change Minister Eisenhower Mkaka, said sub-Saharan Africa was highly vulnerable to disasters due to its low adaptive capacity and low resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Mkaka said reports suggested that the Sadc region would continue experiencing climate change impacts.
He said variability was likely to include increasing incidences of extreme weather events that would bring severe economic and social losses.
“I believe that this Green Climate Conference is an ideal platform for taking stock of climate action and identifying how we, as member states, can work together to further reduce climate risk, among others,” he said.
Acting United Nations (UN) Representative Shigeki Komatsubara said the UN would continue supporting Sadc member states to advance the climate change action agenda in the region by, among other things, supporting efforts to build back better in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
At the conference, children, through United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef), demanded inclusion in the development of initiatives and policies put in place to fight climate change, stressing that they are a highly impacted group.
Mkaka has since signed Unicef’s Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action.