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Scottish University Signs Pact to Help Preserve Malawi’s Botanic Gardens

Professor Gillespie planting a tree as a symbol of the partnership Professor Gillespie planting a tree as a symbol of the partnership - pic by Pilirani Tambala

The National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens of Malawi (NHBG) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Scotland’s University of Dundee to promote civil engagement and value creation of sustainable natural resources.

Board chairperson for the public institution Professor Sosten Chiotha says the emphasis of the MoU which was signed Tuesday in Lilongwe will be on sharing best practices on the role of botanic gardens in promoting urban green space management, biodiversity conservation and nature-based solutions for sustainable development.

It is a follow up to a meeting at the UN Climate Change Conference last year, the COP, 26 between vice president of the university Professor Iain Gillespie and the then natural resources minister Nancy Tembo on combating climate change effects using botanic gardens. 

Professor Gillespie says they have been working with Malawian universities for several years now, particularly on promoting sustainable climate change, addressing issues of equity inclusion and training health professionals. 

“We’ve also been having conversations for some time about how we use botanic gardens as the core of the cities to create much more connectivity for people to see the impact of the resources in their lives and value nature more,” Gillespie said.

The two parties, through the new partnership, expect to develop and deliver educational materials designed to promote sustainable means of conserving biodiversity that responds to climate change.

“The areas we will be investigating how we use botanic gardens as a resource for green space within the city so that we connect up the vision of individuals for what sustainable climate change means with relation to what is on the ground in the green space,” he added.

Board chairperson for the NHBG Professor Sosten Chiotha expressed hope that the move will strengthen the development of skills needed for sustaining botanic gardens as a reserve for rare and endangered plant species needed in the wake of the impact of climate change on nature.

“This MoU is to ensure that we share the skills that are needed to make sure that trees that are endangered and are rare are protected because they are no longer found in large numbers,” he said.

He added that skills are also needed in this era to multiply endangered species in the herbarium and botanic spaces where they are preserved.

Natural resources minister Eisenhower Mkaka said the MOU marks the launch of a strategy to make Malawi’s botanic gardens more educationally relevant, commercially successful and central to environmental and the plant conservation agenda.

NHBG was established by an Act of Parliament in 1987 to develop and manage herbarium and botanic gardens in Malawi for the purpose of research, education, conservation of indigenous plants and recreation.  

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Last modified on Thursday, 04/08/2022

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