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Delegates at Southern Africa Bonn Challenge Ministerial discussions that took place in Lilongwe, Malawi have agreed to work extra harder in order to restore the region’s forest cover. Southern African signatories under Southern Africa Development Community-SADC glanced the occasion under the theme “Advancing restoration of degraded and deforested landscapes in Southern Africa”.

Among other countries; Rwanda becomes the leading country in protecting the environment and advocating for clean Energy. Rwandan delegates underscored the need to restore the region’s forest cover. It says, “Kigali to reduce the numbers of people who use charcoal by 80 percent”. And in their developmental agenda of “Vision 2020” Rwanda plans to restore all degraded areas through the use of clean energy and technologies that reduce high biomass consumption.

Malawi is one of the countries in Southern Africa which has badly been hit by the changing of weather patterns causing dry spells, droughts, floods and heat waves. This has also resulted in poor agricultural output that has hindered the economic growths such as Malawi which has been relying on agriculture for over 50 years.

The host country-Malawi bemoaned the presence of dignitaries to Southern Africa Bonn challenge discussions saying natural resources are important for everyday life. Malawian Environmental Minister Bright Msaka admitted that the country’s forest cover has been exploited hence the need for the citizenry collective effort in order to restore the environment.

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The Minister raised concerns over the deterioration of water and land quantity which exert pressure on authorities and how to address the phenomenon where most of their people live below poverty line.

“To address these problems we need to restore the degraded environment. And Malawi has put aside 4.5 million hectares of land to be restored under the Bonn Challenge”, He proposed the solution.

Summit delegates agreed to bring an alternative source of power that would replace the use of charcoal amongst SADC states. Rapid population growth has exerted pressure on natural resources like trees where people have intensively depleted forests in order to meet the demands of charcoal in urban areas.

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By 2030, SADC region expects to restore 100 million hectares of currently degraded land, recover 250 million tonnes of carbon and create a minimum of 350,000 jobs in rural areas.

It is high time now where countries should come together and speak with one voice in addressing environmental challenges which have not singled-out society but the whole world. Every power is on politicians because are the ones who lead most of the globe’s developmental agendas.

Bonn Challenge is a world’s effort to bring about 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. Underlying the Bonn Challenge is the forest landscape restoration (FLR) approach, which aims to restore ecological integrity at the same time as improving human well-being through multifunctional landscapes.

Out of 150 million hectares, 75 million is pledged by African countries and this includes the SADC region which contributes 17.5 million hectares; 8 million for DRC by 2020, 4 million for Madagascar, 4.5 million for Malawi and one million for Mozambique by 2030.

The Bonn Challenge is an implementation driving seat for national key areas of water and food security and rural development, while on the other hand helping countries contribute to the achievement of climate change, biodiversity and land degradation commitments.

 

By Lovemore Khomo – Lilongwe, Malawi