Malaw Leader President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera on Thursday closed the first ever National Chiefs’ Forum on Natural Resources Management at Botanic Gardens in the capital Lilongwe.
Speaking during the function Chakwera commended the Forum saying its crucial towards conserving the ecosystem.
Chakwera said the initiative comes as a timely intervention in conserving the environment which has for decades been at the mercy of rogue elements of the community.
He said the choice of chiefs as frontline personnel in conservation of land, forests and natural resources is commendable because of the cultural and traditional leadership they provide in enforcing discipline and best practices among communities.
He said he was convinced that with the support of chiefs, the country will manage to reverse the sort of destruction that has seen the country lose 17 percent of forest cover in the past two decades.
“I have presided over the first National Chiefs Forum on Integrated Natural Resources Management and Transition to Sustainable Agriculture and Livelihoods in Malawi.
“As government, we will collaboratively provide necessary support to all chieftaincy structures across the country as they undertake this commendable task in collaboration with development partners,” said President Chakwera.
The chief’s forum is coordinated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change, in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, along with collaborative partners including the USAID-funded AFIDEP-led BUILD project.
The initiative augurs well with President Chakwera’s development agenda in which chiefs are a core component through which government can easily push through development.
Since his assumption of office, Dr Chakwera has advocated for proper utilization of chiefs by government in view of the influence they exert on social issues within communities.
This is a total departure from tendencies of previous regimes who abused chiefs by forcing them to promote errant causes.
Among those attending the function are Vice President Right Honourable Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima, cabinet ministers, district commissioners, traditional leaders, representatives from development partners and members of the general public.