Revised Decentralized Environmental Management Guidelines launched in Malawi
On June 26, 2013 the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) and the Environment Affairs Department launched the revised Decentralized Environmental Management Guidelines (DEMG). The launch was attended by government representatives, including from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, all district councils, civil society and the media.
The revised DEMG is critical for ‘mainstreaming environment and natural resource issues into District Development Plans’ according to LGRD’s Principal Secretary, Mr. Kester Kaphaizi. This is particularly important as Malawi continues to face alarming environmental degradation and climate change which has ‘impacted negatively on communities in rural and urban poor areas whose livelihoods largely depend on natural resources,’ emphasized Mr. Kaphaizi
Districts require the right information to be able to plan well to mitigate against the degradation of the environment and the effects of climate change, as highlighted by the UNDP Assistant Resident Representative, Mr. Jan Rijpma, in his opening remarks at the launch. Both Mr. Kaphaizi and Mr. Rijpma were convinced that the revised DEMG now will help the District Councils to ensure that poverty-environment linkages are being integrated in the local planning processes through the District Development Plans (DDPs) and Socio-Economic Profiles. Through better planning it is expected that Districts will be better placed to assist communities in restoring and improving livelihoods and build resilience to climate change and natural disasters, and thereby contribute to sustainable economic growth.
Closing the launch Mr. Kaphaizi expressed gratitude for the support rendered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) through the Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI), which facilitated the production of the DEMG.
The launch stimulated interest in the Malawi media including the Daily Times, Mana Online (article 1, article 2), The Nation, weADAPT Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and Zodiak Broadcasting Station which all either referred to the PEI supported Economic Valuation on Sustainable Use of Natural Resources or the speeches delivered during the launch, to further raise awareness of the need for improved environment and natural resources management for poverty reduction.
PEI Malawi is further supporting poverty-environment mainstreaming efforts at the district level through the training of Land Resource Conservation Officers in the use of sustainability indicators that have been included in the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach plan (ASWAp). Key reports such as the Economic Valuation on Sustainable Use of Natural Resources in Malawi, and the Malawi State of Environment Report, have been widely disseminated, and used by officials and civil society to advocate for improved Environment and Natural Resource Management at the district level.