Environmental Management Framework

Development and the Environment

Soil and Land



Water Resources

Biological Diversity

Human Habitat

Climate Change

Environmental Management Framework in Malawi

The deterioration of the country's natural resources and the environment is a great concern to the government and all the sectors of the Malawi nation because of various economic losses and social impacts that result from the degradation.

Several policy and legislative measures were put in place in the past to better manage natural resources. However, the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP), 1994 described three main failures in the system to be contributing to degradation. These are (1) weaknesses in legislation; (2) lack of proper co-ordination among sectoral agencies responsible for enforcement and policing of legislation and, (3) absence of a coherent and comprehensive enforcement mechanism. For example, the discounted economic cost of soil erosion, deforestation, water resources degradation and fisheries depletion, amounted to over 10 percent of the GDP by 1994, and it represented a substantial income loss to the country.

Since the NEAP, recent efforts to implement the proposed recommendations include the preparation of and adoption of the National Environmental Policy and the Environment Management Act which have established the overall policy and legislative framework to guide the review of sectoral policies so that they are consistent with the principles of sustainable environmental management. The empowerment of local communities in the management of their natural resources is a strategic guiding principle in formulation of new policies.

In addition, an Environmental Support Programme (ESP) is being implemented to ensure integration of environmental concerns into the socio-economic development of the country. Three major objectives are guiding implementation of the ESP. (1) To support key policy reforms; (2) to strengthen institutions involved in natural resources and environmental management and, (3) to implementing core investments related to environmental protection.

One of the critical statutory requirements in the Environment Management Act, is that projects likely to adversely affect the environment must undergo an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). This is not meant to curtail development, but to ensure that development programmes and projects do not degrade the environment, and to fully incorporate mitigative measures in the project cycle. A prescribed list of such projects is being prepared for publication and wider circulation.

The government continues to work with As development partners, including the international community, to strengthen its environmental education, awareness and communication programme, while strengthening efforts to reduce poverty, which has been recognised as a major contributor to environmental degradation.

In order to maintain effective co-ordination, a system of Environmental Focal Points (EFPs) has been established. The focal points will act as major sources of information not only for the future state of the environment reports, but also in identifying solutions to the country's environmental problems. Therefore, close communication between them will need to be strengthened.

It is in recognition of the various environmental problems and the inherent policy, legislation and institutional weakness that the recently initiated legislation review exercise requires to be speeded up. A study has already been completed which lined up the following statutes and pieces of legislation requiring reform or a streamlining of the institutional coordination and cross-sectoral management issues.

 Contents | Foreword  | Acknowlegdements | Editorial Process 
Contributors | Preface | Acronyms  | Overview
Chapters: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Appendix I
Lists: Maps | Figures | Tables | Boxes | References