Top decision makers and NGO’s in Malawi continue to advocate for sustainable development

The economic Valuation on Sustainable Natural Resources Use in Malawi and the Malawi State of Environment Outlook Report (MSEOR) continue to be used by top decision makers and NGOs to advocate for improved environment natural resource management (ENRM) in Malawi.

In an interview in the Daily Times on June 12, 2013 the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Management, Jennifer Chilunga, bears witness that the MSEOR exposes how Malawi is affected by environmental degradation and that such observations have influenced the government to enhance public awareness through for example the National Climate Change and Communication Strategy.  ‘We have started bridging the gap and promoting positive behavioral change for sustainable development’ says the Minister.  

At the Government-UN meeting on Land Cover Analysis and Atlas for Malawi on June 11, 2013, the Acting Principal Secretary and Director of Crop Production, Department in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Ching’oma, and the FAO Representative quoted the Economic Valuation on Sustainable Natural Resources Use in Malawi to justify the need for the country to ensure that it puts in place measures that would mitigate effects of climate change. They emphasized that the economic loss due to unsustainable ENRM for Malawi requires decisive action to ensure that the country deals with the effects of climate change.

Dr. Ching’oma further decried the use of the 1992 baseline data for soil loss which is outdated and emphasized the need to update this information. In support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, PEI Malawi commissioned a study to update the soil baseline data in 2011 which is to be finalized in 2013. The new study aims to develop a new baseline of soil loss in order to establish reference information for the indicators set for the government’s sustainable land and water management subcomponent.

Despite the improved government efforts, the Center for Environmental Policy and Advocacy (CEPA) has expressed concern about the proposed 2013/14 national budget allocations to climate change, disaster and environment management. In The Nation on June 17, 2013, William Chadza, CEPA’s Executive Director, says that allocations to these sectors are insignificant and although ‘on the surface, the budgetary allocations to these areas have increased…when we compare the value of the Kwacha of last year and today, the allocations are insignificant.’  Considering that conservation agriculture is more sustainable than Malawi’s Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) CEPA  questioned the Members of Parliament on why the FISP gets 50% of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security budget while conservation agriculture only gets 0.16 % of the ministry’s total budget (The Nation).  

PEI Malawi is a catalytic program which aims to motivate i) the government to include pro-poor environmentally sustainable natural resource use as a core objective in development planning and implementation ii) donors and other stakeholders to support long-term investments in sustainable natural resource management iii) raise public awareness and provide evidence of the links between poverty-environment so that civil society can better advocate for sustainable development. The rationale for this is that using natural resources unsustainably reduces the economic and social benefits generated from natural resources which in turn make it more difficult to achieve development goals such as poverty reduction. 

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