Box 1.2:  The EIA process in Malawi


     Box 1.2 The EIA process in Malawi

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is, as of early 1997, a legislative requirement in Malawi for certain development activities. EIA is a process by which the potential environmental effects associated with development activities are minimised through proper planning of' those activities before they are implemented A prescribed list of projects for which EIA is mandatory in Malawi has been drawn up and will in the near future be published in the government gazette and other communication media. Also available are Guidelines for EIA and a directors of experts capable of carrying out EIA in Malawi. These publications are available and efforts are underway to ensure that they are widely distributed.

The key responsibility of the Environmental Affairs Department, the government agency responsible for the coordination of the VIA process in Malawi, is nod' to sensitise and train developers and government regulatory agencies to the fact that EIA is a requirement and how it applies to their activities. So far, there are several success stories where developers have submitted a project brief; in accordance with the Malawi EIA Guidelines, and terms of references have been developed by a technical review committee to provide guidance to the developer on how the detailed EIA work have been carried out. These examples include:

  • The Ministry of 'Works' proposed Mangochi Bridge Reconstruction Project;

  • The National Bank of Malawi's Malangalanga Industrial Park; City of Lilongwe;

  • Viphya Corporation's proposal to log the Viphya Forest Reserve and site a pulp and paper mill at Chintheche; and

  • The Ministry of' Water Development's proposed Shire River flow Augmentation Project.
It should he noted, however, that there have been several failures a well, especially in the urban development and infrastructure sectors, where the EIA process has not been applied properly or in a timely manner and these have required costly and time-consuming remedies. 'lliese examples include:
  • The Ministrv of' Water Development's Expansion to the Mulunguzi Dam, Zomba mountain:

  • The Department of Lands' commercial development adjacent to the area 3 Round-about. City of Lilongwe, and the proposed Malida Industrial Park, City of Lilongwe 


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