In-depth

Alt text for imageClimate information centres established under the Africa Adaptation Project are providing vital information to youths for them to take part in climate change and environmental conversations matters. Photo: UNDP Malawi

Environment and natural resources are the main sources of peoples’ livelihoods and the backbone of the country’s main productive sectors in Malawi. Malawi has a predominant rural and agricultural population with over 80 % of the inhabitants living in the rural areas. The economy of Malawi is largely depended on its natural resources, either from the land (agriculture), biodiversity (agriculture, forestry, tourism) or water (agriculture, fisheries, energy, health). More than 90% of the population practice subsistence agriculture in Malawi and around 98% of the population in rural areas is dependent on wood fuel for its energy supply. As a result, Malawi has been observing the highest rate on deforestation in the SADC region at 2.8 percent per year. The National MDGs Report for 2009 indicates that the ‘proportion of land covered under forest’ in Malawi has decreased from 41 percent in 1990 to 35 percent in 2008, against an international agreed MDG target of achieving 50% forest cover by 2015.

UNDP is working with the government of Malawi and other developing partners to ensure that the country benefits from the effective management of environment, natural resources, climate change and disaster risk reduction. UNDP’s energy and environment portfolio boasts of four broad programmatic areas as follows:

Climate Change
The government of Malawi has been keen to raise the profile of climate change concerns and mainstream these into national planning, budgeting and decision-making. Progress has been made to establish supporting strategic frameworks and institutional mechanisms under the existing National Climate Change Programme, supported by UNDP, WFP, FAO, and funded through DfID, Norway, UN and Japan, though several needs and challenges remain. The continuing National Climate Change Programme, supported by UNDP, will strive to implement and climate-proof the policies, strategies and plans of the sectors of the economy most directly affected by climate change and to create an enabling policy and regulatory environment within which vulnerable communities will be empowered to adapt to these challenges.

Environment and Natural Resources Management (ENRM)
UNDP and Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Management (MoECCM) have developed an Environment and Natural Resources Management (ENRM) Programme Support Document (PSD) which highlights current and emerging ENRM issues reflected in MGDS II, UNDAF 2011-16 and UNDP CPD 2012-2016. The PSD outlines a strategy for dealing with prioritized activities under three broad themes: Mainstreaming, Information & Knowledge Management, Coordination and Capacity Development at national and district levels. The PSD is still in draft form and is expected to be finalized in 2012.

Disaster Risk Management (DRM)
UNDP and Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) signed a Programme Support Document (PSD) that provides the framework of UNDP’s assistance to the Government of Malawi on Disaster Risk Management (DRM) for 2012 – 2016 period. The DRM PSD is in line with the MGDS-II, United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and Country Programme Document (CPD) priorities. Although progress has been made to establish supporting strategic frameworks and institutional mechanisms, several needs and challenges remain and some of them will be addressed by the PSD of UNDP to better assist the Government of Malawi on key issues of disaster risk management aimed to reduce damage and losses caused by disasters.

Sustainable Energy Management
UNDP and Ministry of Energy have developed a Sustainable Energy Management support project for Malawi (SEM) which highlights current and emerging access to energy issues reflected in MGDS II, UNDAF 2011-16 and UNDP CPD 2012-2016. The PSD outlines a strategy for dealing with prioritized activities under three broad themes: Mainstreaming, Information & Knowledge Management, Coordination and Capacity Development at national and district levels. 

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