Lawmakers dared to join forest conservation fight

Members of Parliament (MPs) have been challenged to play a leading role in the fight against encroachment and destruction of forest reserves in the country.

The call follows continued reports of the country`s forests being encroached and depleted at a worrisome rate.

But when appearing before the parliamentary cluster on agriculture and food security and natural resources, Director of Forestry Clement Chilima said the battle against the vice can only be won if there is concerted efforts.

“When you talk about people, some of these people are powerful people in terms of influence and parliamentarians even involve some the corrupt and illegal activities.

“So yes, we have the capacity but we need the support from the members of parliament and what we are asking for is support,” said Chilima.

He added that that with the prominence the lawmakers have, their role in support the fight against destruction and encroachment of forest reserves is critical.

Chilima said: “If there some influential people disturbing our operations in forests protection then we should have a backing of MPs, it helps.”

During his State of the Nation Address (SONA) President Lazarus Chakwera acknowledged that one environmental challenge of great concern to him is the depletion of the country`s forests and loss of biodiversity through the wanton cutting of trees and burning of charcoal.

He reported that to counter this, his Administration has overseen the implementation of activities on the phase-out of Ozone Depleting Substances, the integration of environmental considerations into programmes, the planting of over 55 million trees.

Chakwera also said his government plans to facilitate the establishment and operationalization of the Malawi Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA), finalise Atomic Energy regulations, protect 88 forest reserves and 20 state owned industrial plantations and complete the review of the Forest Act.

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