The United Nations through the office of its Director General on Biological Diversity in conjunction with the Government of The Arab Republic of Egypt has organized the Conference which was inaugurated on the 17th of November, 2018 by His Excellency Abdel Fattah el Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt and has drawn participants from almost all institutions across the globe who are involved in the preservation and protection of environment and general biological diversity.
In his opening speech, President Fattah el Sisi touched on a number of issues ranging from protection of the environment from invasive species like water hyacinth (Namasupuni), animals, flora and fauna. He asked African members to the Conference to help in facilitating as to how best Africa could benefit from such global conferences where he said also are good platforms for knowledge and experience sharing, discussions and interactions with a variety of stakeholders on biodiversity.
On her part, the Egyptian Minister of Environment, Mrs Yasmin Fouad asked all members to have a critical look at emerging technologies as to how they can be positively utilized by African research institutions and government on disease-burden reduction such as malaria, ebola, chikungunya, and dengue and how crops too could benefit from such research activities.
The conference has preceded one for cabinet ministers who among other things agreed that African countries should tirelessly work at this Conference for, but not limited to, the restoration of ecosystems, coastal and marine biodiversity, invasive alien species, biosafety, climate change and biodiversity, natural capital accounting, fight against poaching and all illegal wildlife trade, access and benefit sharing and strategic environment assessment.
But how important is this Conference to Malawi? Gusto Mabvuto, Director of Administration in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining is leader of the Malawi delegation to the Conference and carried this interview with the ministry’s spokesperson, Sangwani Phiri of which this publication has sourced.
“We are talking about the 25th anniversary of this conference since its inception and we have been assessing critical priority areas that are affecting African Countries. High on the agenda is restoration of ecosystems and dealing with poaching and evasive species. In Malawi these issues are equally on our agenda and you know even how the water hyacinth affects operations of electricity generation and a number of issues such as scrutinizing benefits that we have to get as a country through research on our rare and endangered species like Mulanje Cedar. So this is quite an important meeting and lessons learnt here will surely be put to good use,” said Mabvuto.
Malawi also is seen to be quite critical on making sure that there is good approach taken by countries as to how humanity has to live in harmony with nature. Malawi is also asking fellow members as to how countries could be preparing themselves for the 2020 Framework that input into such a Framework are well articulated and incorporated.
The country as a signatory to a number of protocols to the Convention on Biological Diversity, alongside South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and many more other African countries has taken a bold step in enlightening the African Group as to the direction the country has taken on such issues.