From as early as the 1980s, Malawian environmentalists had been calling for a framework legislation on environmental management. For some time this was resisted as it was felt that the various sectoral legislations adequately covered all environmental concerns in the country. Later a study was conducted and resulted in the production of a document 'Malawi's Economic Report on Environmental Policy'. This was considered by government and led to the preparation of the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) which was adopted by the Malawi Government, and officially launched by the Vice President in December, 1994. Malawi's attendance at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in June 1992 gave impetus to her initiatives to address the country's environmental problem.
The Malawi NEAP identified nine major environmental problems and outlined steps on how to address them. Of the major environmental problems foremost was soil erosion, followed by deforestation, water resource degradation, threat to fisheries, threat to bio-diversity, high population growth, human habitat degradation and air pollution.
The NEAP, among other things recommended that there should be legislation on environmental management, confirming earlier calls for this, the adoption of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process and a comprehensive programme to manage and sustainable use the country's natural resources and the environment.
A crucial requirement in environmental management is the availability of appropriate instruments to manage the process, Malawi now has an Environmental Policy, an Environmental Management Act enacted in 1996 and EIA guidelines which will regulate the EIA process in the country.
It is expected that the EIA process shall be used on all programmes aimed at addressing the deteriorating environmental situation as well as development projects. The Environmental Affairs Department has had its staffing levels increased and training in areas of environmental management is in process and will continue and this will be accompanied by similar training and public awareness of other stakeholders.
The Environmental Affairs Department is indebted to the consultants
who compiled the EIA document, the special team of reviewers both in country
and outside, to the kindness and hard working spirit of the Chief Documentation
Officer and the Environmental Affairs Departmental staff whose patience
and untiring efforts resulted in the finalisation of the document.
R. P. Kabwaza
Foreword | Preface | Contents | Acknowlegdements | Acronyms | Glossary
Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | References
Appendices | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | Annex I