This is the first
in a series of State of the Environment Reports for Malawi, prepared by
the Environmental Affairs Department.
The major objectives
of this State of the Environment Report are to:
In compiling the
State of the Environment Report, emphasis has been on identifying key environmental
indicators for each of the main environmental issues identified in the
NEAP and in compiling information on national trends for selected environmental
indicators in order to facilitate the monitoring process of the condition
of the environment. A number of indicators have been identified that will
assist in the monitoring process (see list in appendix). The indicators
are divided into those that provide information on pressure on the environmental
condition, those that describe the actual state of the environment, and
those that aim to relieve the pressure and improve the state of the environment.
Future SOE reports could focus on compiling district information for these
key indicators and/or on preparing environmental audits within key sectors
of the economy.
provide the Malawi
public and decision makers with accurate, timely and accessible information
concerning the state of the environment in Malawi;
understanding of environmental issues and problems in Malawi and at the
same time seek public support and participation in addressing them
on the progress the government has made in addressing environmental problems
as stipulated in the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) adopted
in December 1994;
provide a basis
for the development of a meta-database of environmental information, within
the Environmental Affairs Department, that may be used for planning and
develop a baseline
for key environmental indicators in Malawi against which changes in the
state of natural resources and the environment can be monitored; and
provide a framework
for monitoring the impact on Malawi's natural resources and the environment
of international environmental conventions and treaties.
In this report
the presently available information is presented to meet two basic requirements:
This has been done
using data on:
to report on the
nine key environmental issues as described in the National Environmental
Action Plan (NEAP), adopted by government in 1994;
to compile and analyse
data on important environmenta1 indicators for each of the environrnenta1
issues, in order to provide the information needed to lay a strategy for
addressing environmental problems more holistically in line with Vision
This report consists
of an overview and nine main chapters, each describing a key environmental
issue identified in the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP). A number
of recommendations have been consolidated to guide actions to address the
problems and are presented on a chapter by chapter basis in the Overview.
emanating from socio-economic, political and institutional shortcomings,
which influence or contribute to changes in the state of the environment;
condition of the specific natural resource sectors; and
responses to the
problems, as reactions to the unwanted trends in the pressure and state
indicators, which aim to stop, slow down or reverse the changes.
Management in Malawi, gives an overview of the current environmental
policy, legislation and institutional framework, the process that led to
the current situation and the measures that still have to be taken, in
to cover all aspects of a holistic approach to environmental management.
highlights some of the main economic development processes that have taken
place in the country to date.
and land degradation,
highlights the reasons for, and suggests means to abate, this very serious
problem in Malawi that has far reaching consequences on the long term sustainable
productivity of the land and great impact on the economic development of
reviews the state of the country's forests and the main reasons for the
sharp decline of forest covered land in Malawi.
reviews the state of the country's fisheries and suggests alternatives
to the overexploited inshore fisheries.
Resources, reports of declining water resources and water quality
accounts for the very varied biodiversity of Malawi and the threats to
this variation due to the pressures on all natural resources in the country.
Habitat, reports of severe and increasing shortage of housing in
the country, low access to safe sanitary facilities, safe drinking, refuse
collection and disposal services.
change and air quality, reports of significant variations in weather
patterns over Malawi. Variations that seriously affect agricultural production
and development. The chapter also accounts for the possible measures to
put in place to mitigate the effects of this variation.
were made to present as much data as possible in this report, lack of more
recent data on many of the issues, as well as time and resource constraints
precluded a more comprehensive analysis. It will be the strategic task
of subsequent reporting exercises to generate and report on the main socioeconomic,
political and institutional issues and settings affecting and contributing
to changes in the state of the environment and natural resources, including
more responses to the problems.