The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Malawi has said the country’s development path is not sustainable.
Speaking during the opening of Public Affairs Committee (Pac) 5th All-inclusive Stakeholder Conference in Blantyre on Wednesday, UN Resident Coordinator, Mia Seppo, said Malawi’s socio-economic challenges have created a cruel cycle.
“With more erratic weather patterns, the rate of deforestation, the pressure on service delivery from a rapidly growing population, a decade of year after year of short term humanitarian responses, high stunting rates, the pressure to create jobs in an undiversified economy, and the high levels of violence against women, girls and boys, the development trajectory of Malawi is not sustainable. It is a trajectory of a vicious cycle,” Seppo said.
She, however, said there are no easy and quick solutions to turn around a situation that has evolved over several decades. “It will require a map for the future that spans over many years and many administrations and it requires all Malawians to join in its implementation,” she said.
Seppo said the newly launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) constitute a new global social contract between citizens and their states.
The UN envoy said the voices calling for change in Malawi see the politicisation of everything eating away much needed patriotism in Malawi and affecting the quality of the public discourse.
“With the challenges the country faces, the best brains and ideas of all Malawians need to contribute to government decisions and policies; all Malawians need to feel part of the map to the future. This conference provides spaces, where all Malawians irrespective of party religious or ethnic affiliation can meet and air out their views, trust that their views will be listened to and debated with respect and not coloured by either conspiracy theories, or superstition,” Seppo said.
Pac Chairperson Felix Chingota raised some factors justifying the holding of the conference saying the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration is on record requesting anybody who has a solution to the problems rocking the country to come forward.
“We believe that a gathering of this nature comprising a cross-section of Malawian society is a fitting response to that request. We also believe that the DPP administration has appreciated not only the gravity of the situation we are in, but also the necessity for concerted efforts by all Malawians to find solutions to our problems,” Chingota said.
He said the lenten message of sacrificial love for others should be the grounding of the conference.
“I wish also to extend the same message to our honourable members of Parliament that as they convene next week for a mid-year budget review, they should allow the spirit of sacrificial love for others to reign supreme during their deliberations. I, therefore, appeal to your religious conscience,” he said.
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