Malawi Environmental Endowment Trust (MEET) hosts the First National IUCN Committee Meeting
On Thursday 1st September 2011 the Malawi Environmental Endowment Trust (MEET) hosted a meeting of all IUCN members in Malawi to formally establish a national committee that would facilitate networking among the existing Members of IUCN in Malawi and work towards increasing membership. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM), the Coordination Union for the Rehabilitation of the Environment (CURE), Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT) and MEET. Speaking in his welcoming remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of MEET, Mr Stephen Nanthambwe expressed his happiness that Malawi now has the required number of IUCN Members to allow the establishment of a National Committee and thanked Mr. Hastings Chikoko, Head of Constituency Support and Communication (Eastern and Southern Africa) based in South Africa for accepting the invitation to attend the meeting and facilitate the establishment of the Committee.
Mr. Chikoko briefed the meeting on the roles and functions of the different organs of IUCN including the national committees before the meeting went into a working session to develop a constitution for the IUCN National Committee of Malawi. Elections were then held for office bearers where Mr. Carl Bruessow, the Executive Director of MMCT was elected as Chairperson, and Mr. William Chadza, Executive Director of the Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy (CEPA) was elected Vice Chairperson. The other office bearers elected were Mr. Christopher Mwambene, Executive Director of CURE and Mr. Stephen Nanthambwe of MEET who were elected Secretary and Treasurer respectively of the newly established National Committee.
In his acceptance speech the Chairperson Mr. Carl Bruessow thanked all the members for entrusting him with the responsibility to lead the Committee but emphasized the importance of working as a team in carrying out the activities of the Committee. He noted that there is a lot to be done to increase the membership base in the country and also to ensure that the committee is able to link the IUCN members in Malawi to the IUCN structure. “I would like to see that IUCN recognizes the committee so that we can effectively work together with the IUCN structures to advance conservation and development work in Malawi,” he said.All members agreed to prepare and fully participate in the IUCN Regional Conservation Forum in Johannesburg scheduled for 20th to 23rd September 2011 in preparation for the 2012 IUCN Congress in Korea.
The Malawi Environmental Endowment Trust (MEET) hands over 16 computers to the Natural Resource Management Department at Bunda College, Lilongwe
On Friday 29th April 2011, the Malawi Environmental Endowment Trust (MEET) officially handed over 16 computers to the value of MK1.5 million to the Natural Resource Management Department at Bunda College of Agriculture in Lilongwe. The Natural Resource Management Department, housed in the Nature Building, is the youngest department on campus, born out of the demand from stakeholders to introduce programs in Natural Resource management and Environmental Science at Bunda College. The computers will assist equip students with practical knowledge and skill in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS is a cartographic technology that is used to capture, store, analyze and present geo-referenced information. MEET recognized that there is limited local capacity in this emerging field and support to the College will increase the level of GIS expertise in the country.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, the Head of the NRM Department, Mr. Felix Kalowekamo expressed his sincere gratitude on behalf of the Natural Resources Management Department and explained that 80 students in the department will benefit from the equipment already installed in the GIS laboratory, as a tool for monitoring and managing natural resources. The Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Science, Dr. Matiya further expressed that the timely donation will take the mission and vision of the College to greater heights, in becoming a center of excellence and a leading facility in the provision of GIS services. Dr Matiya further highlighted that the students in the NRM department are the best students in the faculty, and are frequently listed on the Dean Honour’s List. He encouraged them to work extra hard.
On behalf of the Principal, the Vice Principal, Dr. Masangano reiterated his gratitude for the timely support to Bunda College. He explained that computer skills are non-negotiable for graduate students, and the equipment has strengthened the NRM programme to provide both theoretical and practical skills that will produce well-rounded graduate students for the sector.
In his few remarks, the Chief Executive of MEET, Mr. Stephen Nanthambwe on behalf of the Trustees, Governors and Management of MEET enthused that it was a pleasure to be associated with the success of Bunda College, by making the humble contribution to the growth of the Natural Resources Management Department. Mr. Nanthambwe commended the efforts made by the department to identify and address a critical teaching need. “GIS is a must in natural resource management. Natural Resource Mapping informs stakeholders on the status of the resource for the development of appropriate management interventions and decision making” he explained. In his concluding remarks, Mr Nanthambwe encouraged the students to take care of and make best use of the equipment.
Meeting with the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Parliament Building, 28th April 2011
On Friday 28th April 2011, MEET was invited to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources at Parliament Building in Lilongwe. The aim of the meeting was for MEET to make a presentation to the committee and share views on deforestation and the loss of biodiversity in the country.
The Chair, Dr. Alan Chiyembekeza, welcomed MEET to the session, explaining that there are 19 members in the committee from different political parties. 11 members were present at the meeting, while others were engaged in other official activities.
MEET’s CEO Mr. Stephen Nanthambwe introduced the MEET Team, The Programmes Director Mr. Chipezaani and the Senior Projects Officer, Ms. Price. The presentation covered the history and background of MEET, which included governance structures, endowment performance, areas of grant support, MEET partners and the 2010 – 2014 Strategic Plan. Thereafter the presentation focused on the state of forests in the country and the causes deforestation and biodiversity loss. MEET highlighted on-going interventions that promote the conservation of biodiversity and suggested policy options to curb the rate of deforestation.
Following the presentation by MEET’s CEO, the Committee had the following comments and questions:
1. Does MEET have teeth to bite, when something is going wrong in the environment? Can MEET call stakeholders and share views on how best we can manage the environment? 2. There is political will at the high levels, as demonstrated by the number of conventions that have been signed. 3. How much does MEET do to sensitise politicians and decision makers on environmental issues? 4. In tree planting, how much are communities empowered to take care of the trees? 5. What are MEET’s views on charcoal liscensing? 6. Can MEET consider sponsoring Members of Parliament to conduct sensitization activities on deforestation and re-afforestation? 7. How does one benefit from the Trust?
MEET responded to all the questions raised by the Committee.
In conclusion, MEET’s CEO thanked the Parliamentary Committee for inviting MEET to present in the session.
In his closing remarks, the Chair of the Parliamentary Committee encouraged MEET to use the committee to interact with the decision makers and communicate issues to the powers that be.