Speech by His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, The President of The Republic of Malawi
AT THE LAUNCH OF MALAWI PARLIAMENTARY CONSERVATION CAUCUS (MPCC) AT PARLIAMENT BUILDING ON 3rd AUGUST, 2015
- Your Excellency Gertrude Mutharika, the First Lady for the Republic of Malawi
- Your Honour, the Right Honourable Saulosi Claus Chilima, Vice President of the Republic of Malawi and Mrs. Mary Chilima
- The Speaker of National Assembly, Right Honourable Richard Msowoya
- The Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly and President for Malawi Congress Party, Right Honourable Lazarus Chakwera
- Dean of Diplomatic Corps, Mrs. Dumbuchena and members of the Diplomatic mission
- The Chairman for International Conservation Caucus Foundation, Mr. David Barron and your delegation
- The Chairperson for Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change, Hon. Welani Chilenga, M.P. and your committee
- The Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Hon. Bright Msaka, SC
- The Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture, Hon. Kondwani Nankhumwa, M.P.
- All Cabinet Ministers present
- Member of Parliament for Lilongwe City Central, Hon. David Bisnowatty, M.P.
- All Members of Parliament present
- Members of the press here present
- Distinguished ladies and gentlemen
Africa is a beautiful place. Malawi is a beautiful country of beautiful hearts and precious natural resources. It is a rich country, sitting on abundant riches, and we ought to be a rich people, a great people. The only thing we need to change is the way we think, and the way we do things. We can only change our country by changing the way we think.
The launching of this Parliamentary Conservation Caucus is a symbol that we are set to think of our natural resources differently. We are set to do things differently. For this reason, I am deeply proud, and highly honoured, to preside over this landmark, in the history of conservation of natural resources in our country.
We have no other choice, but to conserve the resources that nourish our existence. It is our duty. Today, human existence stands in great danger because the natural resources that sustain our existence, are in danger. Our human tragedy is that we take our existence for granted, and we take our natural resources for granted.
The importance of our natural resources does not need to be over-emphasized. Our economy is agro-biodiversity based. We can only sustain economic growth through agriculture, if we ensure optimum and ecologically balanced use of land-based resources. They are the pillar of our economic growth.
Natural resources constitute a sector that employs almost 90% of the population of our people. This is where nearly 40% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), comes from. Fisheries, Forestry and Wildlife sectors alone, contribute 12.8% toward GDP. And do not forget, fisheries provide the highest protein intake to the Malawi nation. Our natural resources are our life.
Despite this importance, we keep destroying foundations of our existence and development. Unprecedented degradation of our natural wealth continues. We keep stealing from our source of pride. There is increasing poaching and illegal trafficking of our rare species of fauna and flora. We have endangered our elephants and rhinos. We have endangered our high-value tree species such as mkalati, mopane and phingo. We have endangered our national pride, and committed crimes against our own existence.
But somehow, we do not define and understand these primitive and unpatriotic acts, as high level crimes. Yet, they undermine the rule of law and regional security. They undermine a fundamental pillar of economy and development. They undermine our spirit to preserve life and beauty for next generations of mankind.
As a leader of this country, a patriotic African, and a citizen of mankind; I am determined to stop and reverse wanton destruction of our natural resources.
This Parliamentary Caucus is the show of our political will. With this Caucus, we are determined to build political leadership capacity at legislative level. With this Caucus, we are determined to provide checks and balances in the natural resource sector. With this political will, we are determined to collaborate with local and international partners who share our concern and fear for natural resources. Together, we are this day, intensifying the fight against wildlife and environmental crime.
Our Parliament is now being challenged to enact the best laws that protect our natural resources. But the enforcement and implementation is our common challenge. As your leader, I will always demand your optimum team spirit in all line ministries and departments such as Forestry, Wildlife, Fisheries, Environmental Affairs and Land Resources. Together, we must cooperate and coordinate efforts in combating illegal acts and unsustainable utilization of natural resources.
We have a huge task before us, and time is not on our privilege. Ladies and gentlemen, while the need to develop an appropriate national conservation policy is urgent, there is also the pressing need to formulate legislation that harmonizes wildlife and environmental crime enforcement and penalties. In particular, we must elevate appropriate wildlife and environmental crime to the level of serious crimes.
We have an urgent duty to the human community. Malawi is a signatory to Arusha Declaration on Regional Conservation and Combating Wildlife and Environmental Crime. I call upon all government departments in the sector, to prove our commitment to this Arusha Accord. This is the Accord that gives us the opportunity to collaborate with our neigbours in tackling heinous crimes in the wildlife and environment sector. This is our duty to the regional community.
We do not work and exist like lonely islands. That is why, I express my heart-felt thanks to the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF) for working with us in this common cause. They have been instrumental in the establishment of the Malawi Chapter of Parliamentary Conservation Caucus.
To this chapter, count on my moral and political support. Count on my political will. Count on my commitment to see you succeed.
I now declare Malawi Chapter of the Parliamentary Conservation Caucus officially launched.
I thank you for listening & God bless you