Chapter 6: Institutional Framework for the Implementation of NEAP

Institutional Framework for the Implementation of NEAP

6.1. Introduction

Chapter 2 provides the description of the integrative and participatory NEAP process. The description of the current status, the identification of environmental degradation and the suggestion of interventions, were done through multi-sectoral task forces with broad representation of ministries, departments, public offices, the university and NGOs. Localized environmental problems, their causes and how they could be minimised or arrested were identified by local people at district workshops. The implementation of the NEAP will therefore require the same broad participation of all involved, but with specific roles and responsibilities for each, as specified in section 6.2 in accordance with the following principles:

a) Government guidance on NEAP implementation must be provided continuously to ensure its compliance with Government policies.

b) In the implementation of the NEAP, focus on key environmental issues and focal points of intervention, must be maintained. To ensure this, strengthening of DREA is urgently required.

c) The complexity of actions and projects and the implementation methods will vary. Some will be relatively simple and fall well within the purview of individual Government ministries, departments and other institutions. Others will be more complex requiring multi-sectoral solutions, while some will depend on the involvement and participation of local and traditional authorities. The actual implementation responsibilities will be specified accordingly.

d) While some actions and projects address one or few specific environmental issues, others are all encompassing. Important examples are systems for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), Environmental Information Systems (EIS), overall environmental legislation and public awareness. Such actions and projects must be implemented by institutions with a global mandate (DREA).

6.2. Institutional responsibilities

While DREA will play the role of facilitating the implementation of NEAP, the responsibility to implement the actions will be with the respective implementing agencies. The implementing agencies will be expected to produce an annual report indicating the actions that have been undertaken towards the implementation of either stated actions or environmental investment projects.

It will be the responsibility of the different institutions to ensure that projects being undertaken by them are properly managed. DREA's role will be limited to drawing up stated objectives for monitoring purposes.

Individual responsibilities of some of these institutions are stated in the following sections.

6.2.1 National Committee for the Environment (NCE)

For NEAP to be properly implemented the NCE will need to provide the overall guidelines that will ensure a coherent and integrated structure of the NEAP. The NCE will need to be broadened to include NGO's and should report to the National Economic Council.

6.2.2. DREA

As Secretariat to the NCE, DREA will be central in ensuring that the objectives of NEAP are observed. DREA will therefore need to have capable officers to undertake the following responsibilities:

  1. Facilitate the formulation of projects that will be part of the Environmental Investment Programme (EIP).
  2. Agree on the main objectives of those projects and the time frame for their implementation.
  3. Develop the key indicators for monitoring purposes  with the implementing agencies and ensure the monitoring capabilities.
  4. Assume the responsibility to oversee the enforcement of the environmental law.
In all this, DREA will co-ordinate the efforts of different but relevant institutions who will implement the different actions and projects aimed at protecting and managing the environment. DREA will specifically ensure that the following is put in place: Environmental impact assessments (EIA)

DREA will facilitate and co-ordinate, where necessary, the provision of environmental impact assessments of projects that will require this. Initially DREA will draw up guidelines on the requirements in an environmental impact assessment for different types of projects. Developers and implementing organisations will have the responsibility to provide EIAs as part of the project preparation exercise. A technical committee under the NCE will review the EIA and either recommend its acceptance or the need for more information or modification of the project. Only when an EIA has been accepted will the project start. Minimum delay in examining EIAs will be exercised. Environmental monitoring and environmental information systems (EIS)

The establishment of the environmental monitoring programme in DREA is the major effort towards improved natural resources conservation in Malawi. The multi-sectoral nature of most environmental and natural resource problems requires the coordinated development of digital data sets that can be subjected to integrated analysis through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and related environmental information technologies. It is therefore necessary that to support continued research and monitoring of environmental phenomenon, that a National Environmental Information System (EIS) is established.

The Environmental Information System is intended to provide timely information to support the inventory, investigation and monitoring of the environment. An organizational structure needs to be developed to provide a mechanism for the development, dissemination and the use of a National Environmental Informational Database. This database will consist initially of an off-line archive of coordinated data sets, developed through a distributed group of independent mapping activities within existing agencies, but accessed through a centralized body such as the Information and Documentation Centre at DREA. At a future date, an on-line network system can be considered. In the meantime, emphasis will be placed on the display and analysis of data through the use of independent software and hardware systems in a variety of contexts. Environmental framework laws

In the preparation of NEAP it became evident that the scattered natural resources protection and management acts needed a major review. As this task would have taken a long time to accomplish, an environmental framework law has been proposed as the umbrella law for environmental protection and management. A draft act has been prepared by UNEP and is currently under discussion. It generally provides for an agency to be responsible for environmental protection and management with powers to sue or be sued, sets out penalties for abuse of the environment after outlining the rights of individuals to a decent environment. The Act establishes the institutional set up, the actual procedures, the specific responsibilities of the agency, the different Ministries and Departments and private organisations. It also explicitly specifies how offenders would be prosecuted as well as the appeals mechanisms.

The draft Act should be fully discussed and considered for adoption by June 30 1994 or soon after. Environmental awareness campaigns

DREA will play a leading role in mounting national environmental awareness campaigns and assist in their promotion by identifying those responsible for addressing different environmental concerns. The collaborating agencies will include schools, universities, the media, and the appropriate NGOs. International conventions

The Government of Malawi has signed various international environmental conventions:

  • The Convention on International Plant Protection ;
  • The Convention on Wetland of Significant Importance;
  • The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage;
  • The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals;
  • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES);
  • The African Convention on Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources;
  • The FAO International Undertaking on Plant and Genetic Resources;
  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea;
  • The Montreal Protocol for Protection of the Ozone Layer;
  • The Convention on Biological Diversity;
The Department of Research and Environmental Affairs has a monitoring role to ensure compliance. Monitoring of implementation of NEAP

Successful implementation of the NEAP requires continuous monitoring of all NEAP implementing institutions. In this regard DREA will have the task of monitoring the implementation through an annual review of the NEAP. This will be in the form of DREA requiring all agencies implementing different parts of NEAP to provide annual reports of their achievement in both actions and EIP. These reports will be compiled by DREA for the attention of the NCE. The initial task will be to develop the alias that will require reporting on.

6.2.3. The Land use and Planning Committee

This committee, whose Secretariat is the Department of Lands and Valuation, and is chaired by the Secretary to the President and Cabinet ( also the chairman of the National Committee on the Environment) will be reactivated. This committee acts as a forum where all public sector agencies involved in environmental resources management (and depletion) are members.

The membership includes the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources with its Departments of Forestry, Geological Surveys, -Fisheries and National Parks and Wildlife; the Ministry of Agriculture; the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development; the Department of Water in the Ministry of Works; the Office of the President and Cabinet; Departments of Lands and Valuation, District Administration and Rural Development; Housing and Physical Planning, Surveys and Research and Environmental Affairs; the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Local Government. The Committee which oversees the development proposals on land use, can be very useful and the Secretariat would develop a good land use data base.

6.2.4. Ministries and departments

It will be the responsibility of ministries and departments to further operationalise the Plan's strategies and actions and to implement these through their on-going activities, which will be re-oriented accordingly. They will have proposed EIP projects and it will be their responsibility to ensure implementation of these by providing counter part funding and staff to carry out the actual project execution. They will annually provide a report on the implementation of the NEAP actions and the projects under their purview.

6.2.5. University

The University has participated actively in the task forces and in accordance with NEAP strategies and actions, efforts will be made to strengthen their environmental curriculum and research. They will be responsible for the implementation of research projects under the EIP.

6.2.6. Parastatals

Parastatals carry out activities, which effect natural resources and the environment. As Government institutions they have special responsibilities to ensure that they do so in accordance with the NEAP. Furthermore, the EIP will include projects to be implemented by parastatals for which they will have the same responsibilities as ministries and departments.

6.2.7. Private sector

Private groups, with interests that have a bearing on natural resources either as users or protectors, should be encouraged to co-operate with DREA and other public offices involved in similar occupation. Their projects should be available to DREA for Environmental Impact Assessment and this can be done both as a result of public awareness or through an enacted law. Special efforts will be made by DREA to promote the participation of the pivotal sectors in order to implement strategies pertaining to management of industrial and agro-chemical waste.

6.2.8. Non-governmental organisations

Non-Governmental Organisations have been involved in the NEAP process. These NGOs will be encouraged to play an active role in both promoting NEAP strategies through awareness campaigns and also to be actively involved in the implementation of EIP projects, particularly at local level.

6.2.9. Donors

For the implementation of NEAP and the EIP the Government will seek financial and technical assistance from multilateral and bilateral donors as well as from international NGOs.

6.3 Capacity building

6.3.1 Training

There is need for training of personnel who work in institutions that deal with natural resources conservation, utilisation and monitoring. These institutions include Ministries of Forestry and Natural Resources, Agriculture, Department of Lands and Valuation, Surveys Department, Water Department, the University Colleges, the Malawi Bureau of Standards and Non-governmental organisations to ensure trained manpower in all aspects of environment for sustainable development. Provision of necessary equipment for better execution of their duties and proper career paths to ensure continuity should be provided. The scarce resources should be redistributed to allow conservation of nature in the development efforts by each sector of the economy in Malawi. More use should be made of the available resources in natural resources to orient private sector and non-governmental organisations, and create environmental awareness in the implementation of development projects.

6.3.2 DREA

DREA needs manpower development to cope with its many tasks, which include co-ordination and advisory duties on environmental issues as well as monitoring of the implementation of NEAP and its Environmental Investment Programme. Even if a recruitment and training programme was undertaken, it could only begin to bear fruit in two to four years time. The NEAP Secretariat which was created in DREA, was entrusted with the task of producing the NEAP with this constraint in mind. With the manpower development within DREA the Secretariat should be able to integrate into the DREA establishment in three years time, thus further providing needed human resources. The evaluation of the Environmental Investment Programme will be co-ordinated by DREA through the Secretariat initially, but later on this role will be performed by the different implementing agencies or independent agencies.

The implementation of NEAP will, to a large extent, depend upon the active participation of local and traditional authorities as well as the local population. They will be supported by Regional Environmental Officers attached to the Regional Administrators

offices. These three officers should have sufficient resources and autonomy to be able to provide essential support to local and traditional authorities in the implementation of NEAP and the EIP and other local environmental activities, particularly the District Environmental Action Plans, as described in section 5.4. Eventually each district should have an environmental officer to co-ordinate the district environmental action plans.

6.4 District environmental action plans

The local population has actively contributed to the NEAP through the Consultative District Workshops, where all districts have participated. The local and traditional authorities not only played a pivotal role in identifying environmental problems but also proposed actions and projects to improve natural resource management end to combat environmental degradation. Implementation through local participation and awareness raising is critical for real headway to be made.

Arising from the District Consultative Workshops, it is expected that District Environmental Action Plans will be developed. Their implementation will be at three levels:

  1. actions to be taken by the local communities on their own;
  2. actions to be undertaken by the local communities with assistance from Government or any organization; and
  3. actions to be undertaken by Government or non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The District Environmental Action Plans will dovetail into the National Environmental Action Plan. Every project taking place in Malawi will be within the area of one or more Districts. Its activities will be communicated to the local communities through the District Development Committees and through District workshops. All leaders will be sensitized of the development projects to be carried out in their areas and they will be allowed to contribute ideas to the implementation of projects.

6.5 Malawi environmental investment programme (EIP)

A Malawi Environmental Investment Programme has been prepared grouping the project proposals that emanated from the NEAP process. The EIP is presented as Volume 3.

The various proposals or interventions were subjected to tests in order to categories and prioritize them. Criteria for the categorization and prioritization of projects were agreed upon by all members of task forces and broadly followed the following principles:

(a) Categorization of projects

Before prioritizing the project ideas, due consideration was given to the need to group the PIs in each Key Environmental Issues. To facilitate this initial process, the project ideas were analyzed with special emphasis on their likely impact in addressing environmental degradation. To determine the direction of the approach, the process took into consideration all project objectives and goals, intended benefits and extent of beneficiary.

Within the seven Key Environmental Issues, the project ideas were either categorized as direct impact (approach) or indirect impact Direct Impact PI may be defined as PI which will entail direct investment in correcting environmental degradation for instance financial injection in establishment of indigenous woodlot, whereas indirect impact may entail monitoring for purposes of control or inventory.4. Project ideas falling under Indirect Impact were further de-categorized into the following groups: Institutional Building, Environmental Monitoring, and Environmental Research.

The preliminary results indicate that there are more project ideas falling under Environmental Research irrespective of the Key Environmental Issues. This, largely, reflects the high priority that is accorded to environmental research to finding ways of reversing environmental degradation, and the need for more information on environmental issues.

(b) Prioritization of projects

The need for prioritizing projects arose to ensure allocations to the needy areas in consideration of the Government, variability in impact or approach, and differences in the expected benefits and extent of beneficiary. The process therefore accorded greater consideration to the environmental implication of project ideas, which would contribute to long-term sustainable growth.

It is important to note that, there is rarely any simple choice between development and environment. What is needed is a more comprehensive consideration of environmental implication of any future projects from the earliest stages of project preparation.

In order to prioritize the project ideas the Secretariat devised criteria which is shown in Table 5.1. The criteria advocates ranking projects by awarding points according to the following points:

  1. Seriousness of the environmental problem: especially with respect to irreversible degradation.
  2. expected Efficiency or Impact of Project cost in relation to capability to efficiently mitigate environmental problem.
  3. element of uncertainty with respect to expected efficiency.
  4. distributional effects related to income distribution or poverty alleviation.
  5. bottleneck assessment : the extent of stumbling block towards achievement of environmental goals.
The criteria constitute. a starting point towards the formulation of bettor criteria and its strength lies in the simplicity Ah application.

Contents | Foreword | Acknowledgments 
Chapters:  | One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven
Lists: | Figures | Maps | Tables | Appendices