AEJ, MCHF launch Deforestation Dossier

The Association of Environmental Journalists (AEJ) and Modern Cooking for Healthy Forests (MCHF) have launched a deforestation dossier to help conserve the country's forests.

The launch was held at Bingu Inter1 Convention Centre in Lilongwe on Tuesday.

Speaking before the launch, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources & Climate Change, Dr Yanira Mtupanyama, highlighted the importance of the dossier to highlight forestry issues the country is facing and may continue to face in the near future if the status quo is not challenged from all fronts.

She said 75 percent of the urban population use charcoal which is one of the contributing factors fuelling deforestation.

Mtupanyama also said the launch of the deforestation dossier will provide a platform for highlighting the essence of expediting the availability of alternative sources of energy.

Mtupanyama handing over the Dossier's copy to Julius Ng'oma, CISONECC 1 Coordinator

She said: "With these investigative journalists around and doing their commendable job, it will be easier for us to track all burning issues on deforestation in the country and take appropriate action."

In his remarks, Secretary-General of AEJ, Charles Mkoka, said the association is impressed with the dedication of the journalists and the quality of their output.

"As journalists, we have done our part to fish out all sticky issues. Once we investigate and 1 such stories we expect other institutions to take up their rightful roles such as the police and the Anti-Corruption Bureau. We have a limit where our efforts end. The systems ought to talk to each other," said Mkoka.

Summing up, MCHF Chief of Party, Ramzy Kanaan, said there's a need for more action to end crimes in the forestry sector.

"There's need for better collaboration between Department of Forestry and Malawi Police Service even including the judiciary so we conclude all forestry-related cases swiftly. This approach will eliminate corruption and enhance accountability in the forestry sector. Moving forward we feel the journalists have done a good job and we will continue supporting such efforts on a rolling basis," said Kanaan.

Selected journalists from different media houses across the country investigated various issues affecting forestry in the country which have been highlighted in the dossier.

The Forestry Accountability Journalism Initiative in Malawi (FAJIM) is funded by USAID and UK Aid.