Malawi: Bingu calls for UN reforms, lectures world leaders on climate change

malawi_bingu_at_unMalawi President Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has called for reforms at UN and says there is need for leaders to strengthen collaboration so that the international community responds effectively to global challenges.

In his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York, Malawi leader adding his voice to the theme of the meeting Effective Responses on Global Crises: Strengthening Multilateralism and Dialogue among Civilizations for International Peace, Security and Development, said there is no longer an excuse for reluctance of world leaders to move closer together and to stimulate the debate on how multilateralism and dialogue could be strengthened.

In a speech monitored on live webcast, Wa Mutharika said: The first agenda in multilateralism is to reach a global consensus on reforming the multilateral institutions including the United Nations, to ensure equitable and geographical representation of both developed and developing countries.

He said it is imperative that developing nations have an effective voice on matters that concern them and that UN should promote dialogue that ensures inclusiveness, transparency and accountability needed to attain genuine global peace, security and development.

The Security Council must be made flexible to allow Africa, Asia, Latin America and Middle East countries to have fair representation in this world body. The continued monopoly of this body by the Super Powers is no longer justifiable, said the Malawi President.

He added: Developing nations cannot continue to be silent spectators in matters that affect them. Every sovereign nation is an integral part of the global village.

Wa Mutharika said the second agenda for multilateral dialogue is to attain world food security, pointing out that food shortages threaten the foundations of democracy and good governance.

The United Nations cannot sustain a world system where huge populations permanently live with hunger and starvation. This world body must find a formula whereby the world can produce enough food for all at affordable prices. I believe that it is possible under the auspices of the United Nations to achieve global food security, said Malawis Head of State.

Wa Mutharika, who also holds a ministerial position of Agriculture, used his UN speech to lecture world leaders on agriculture and food security . He told the General Assembly that Malawi has a well organized agricultural development strategy and can contribute to the UN efforts to attain world food security.

Malawi has within a short period of time transformed from being a food deficit and hungry nation to a food surplus nation. Malawi now produces enough food for all the people and we are able to export to the neighbouring countries, Wa Mutharika told the UN.

The factor behind the success story is that Malawi allocated large budgetary resources and heavy investment in the agricultural sector. We also successfully introduced Agricultural Input Subsidy Programme that enables the poor and low income households to buy fertilizer, seeds and chemicals at a heavily subsidized cost, explained President Mutharika.

As a result poor smallholder fanners became more productive. At the same time there are visible signs of improvements in the standard of living of the rural poor, he told UN.

Commenting on the subject of Climate Change, Malawi President said he was happy that the matter will be fully discussed at the conference in Copenhagen, Denmark in December this year.

The Copenhagen summit will produce a new treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto protocol which expires in 2012

Wa Mutharika however pointed out that at the national level, Malawi is responding to the challenge of climate change through intensive irrigation farming and moving away from heavy dependence on rain fed agricultural system.

The Government has introduced the Green Belt programme that will irrigate up to one million hectares of land for small, medium and large scale fanning by harnessing water sources from the rivers and lakes to provide extensive irrigation, he said.

We shall grow a large range of food crops such as rice, wheat, maize, beans and lentils as our way to contribute towards the solution to world food shortages, said Wa Mutharika.

He said the threat of climate change is real and that the price for complacency will be much higher if we fail to act today.

Malawi President said Africa and other developing countries need to adequately address the issue of deforestation, environmental degradation and agriculture productivity.

He also questioned why industrialized countries continue to marginalize Africa and hold the continent back from its potential as a true multilateral trade partner.

Malawi is concerned that under the DOHA arrangements, industrialized nations continue to protect their industries against processed and manufactured goods from Africa while insisting that the poor nations completely liberalize their economies, said Wa Mutharika.

He said Malawi would like to see an international trading system that is fair and can enhance sustainable growth and development in Africa and other developing countries.

This is possible if the G8 countries are willing to engage in genuine dialogue to solve the problems, he said.

In his concluding remarks, Wa Mutharika said there is need for a global dialogue on democracy, good governance, human rights, the rule of law and the fight against terrorism in all its manifestations.

We also need new understanding on how developing nations can cope with the shocks of the global financial crises and escalating fuel prices, he added, I believe that working together, all nations of the world, rich or poor, powerful and powerless, we can strengthen multilateralism and dialogue for lasting international peace, security and development.

Said Wa Mutharika: We live in one world. We have the same destiny.

The General Assembly, which was established in 1945 under the UN Charter, is a chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN and is a unique forum for multilateral discussions of full spectrum of international issues.

Nyasa Times

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