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Malawi Government Launches the Decentralized Environmental Management Guidelines

Ulrika Åkesson

26th June 2013 marked another milestone in the environmental history of Malawi when the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development launched the Decentralized Environmental Management Guidelines (DEMG), which is a tool for spearheading bottom-up planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of environment and natural resources management in the Country. Speaking during the launching ceremony of the Guidelines at a function that was held at Capital Hotel in Lilongwe, the Secretary for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Kester Kaphaizi said the “Decentralised Environmental Management Guidelines will be a catalyst in addressing the gaps and inconsistencies from the previous Decentralised Environmental Management Manuals (DEMM) and in the process, facilitate the integration of environmental issues in District Development Plans across the country”.

Malawi is among the Southern African countries that continue to suffer horrendously from the negative impacts of environmental degradation that have resulted in significant loss of soil fertility, serious deforestation, water pollution, natural resource depletion and degradation, and loss of biodiversity amongst others. This scenario has negatively impacted the lives of the majority of Malawians who rely on subsistence agriculture for a livelihood. The country’s economy is predominantly agriculture based; hence the negative impact of environmental degradation might have a significantly negative bearing on social and economic growth. In order to mitigate the current situation, the Government of Malawi, through the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II (MGDS II) has prioritised the management of climate change, natural resources and the environment as vessels for sustaining and accelerating economic growth in the country.

Financial support towards the preparation and launch of the guidelines was provided by UNDP and UNEP through the Poverty Environment and Initiative Project (PEI) while technical support was provided by LEAD Southern and Eastern Africa.

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