Godfey Mfiti continues his series of public talks on oil in Lake Malawi with a talk “Is Oil Drilling in Lake Malawi Sustainable Development?” scheduled at Blantyre Sports Club, 12 January 2016, at 6pm.
Mfiti recently wrote this piece on oil in Malawi and has been advocating for Malawi to honour the World Heritage Convention through which Malawi’s Lake Malawi National Park is recognised as a World Heritage Site. Mining in Malawi covered UNESCO’s examination of the Park and oil exploration here in August 2014. UNESCO recommended the Government of Malawi to prohibit exploration in the Park and around the buffer zone as well as to expand the area that is part of the Park. In December 2015, the Government asked for an extension to respond to the recommendations.
Mfiti gave a presentation in December 2015 in Lilongwe. One audience member, a Malawian aquatic specialist, advised that Mfiti’s arguments need to be made more robust and accurate and be based on greater scientific evidence. Mfiti noted in response that he was only given a limited time to speak and therefore was unable to cover all ground in this time. Take a look at his slides and arguments below (the presentation is available here for download).
Note that exploration for oil in Malawi is at the preliminary stages (with seismic surveying conducted in some blocks). No exploratory drilling has taken place to date and for this to happen, the companies in question will need to conduct further Environmental Impact Assessments. In addition, only one company, SacOil, is at present able to continue exploration work (Block 1 in North-Western Malawi) given the government’s ongoing review of petroleum exploration licences (including all those that cover Lake Malawi National Park and Lake Malawi).