Global Climate Change Alliance in Malawi

The economy of Malawi and livelihood is largely dependent on its natural resources, either from the land (agriculture), biodiversity (agriculture, forestry, tourism) or water (agriculture, fisheries, energy, health). Over half of the population lives below the poverty line and more than 90% of the population practice subsistence agriculture with around 98% of the population in rural areas depending on wood fuel for their energy supply. This dependence on natural resources, coupled with rapid population growth, makes Malawi particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and variability.

The Government of Malawi developed its National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) in 2006. The NAPA recognises that the affected majority have the least resilience to cope with the impacts of climate change and its adverse effects. Currently, the Climate Change Policy is awaiting ratification by Parliament. A Climate Change Investment Plan was launched in April 2014 which looks at priority sectors requiring financing, while a National Climate Change Communication Strategy is in place to sensitise various stakeholders and the general public on their roles in this arena.  A draft report on a Sector-Wide Approach for climate change was prepared at the end of 2011 but since then there has been no further movement. Despite the number of planning and policy documents Malawi has prepared or that are under preparation it is widely acknowledged that the emphasis must now move from formulation to implementation.

Mainstreaming climate change at national and local levels

Overall objective:

To alleviate poverty through enhancing the resilience of Malawian institutions and communities at national and local levels to climate change risks and impacts.

Specific objectives:

  • To contribute to climate change mainstreaming at regional and district levels.
  • To increase the resilience of vulnerable communities to climate variability and change.
Main expected results and activities: 

Capacities at district levels are strengthened with regard to designing and implementing climate resilient development plans.

This will involve an assessment of the specific needs of a climate sensitive sector, irrigation and the design and implementation of a capacity development programme to enable Government of Malawi staff working at regional and district levels to ‘climate proof’ their planning and specific implementation activities. As a foundation the programme will use and build on the Climate Change Manual for training district councils of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

Vulnerable communities' efforts to better adapt to the impacts of climate variability and change are supported.

Activities are expected to include promoting sustainable natural resource management, energy supply, improved agricultural practices and climate resilient livelihoods. Depending on specific circumstances these will include, but not be limited to, community forest management and reforestation; low carbon technologies including stoves and carbon financing schemes; conservation agriculture; small scale irrigation; community grain storage facilities; small livestock asset transfer; micro-watershed management; basic community infrastructure; community early warning systems; water supply and sanitation; village savings and loan schemes.

In addition the programme will support the process of communicating lessons drawn from the community level to relevant decision makers via learning / coordination meetings with the Government of Malawi, Development Partners, NGOs and civil society organisations, universities and research institutions. Targeted investigations will contribute to knowledge management including the development of illustrative case studies to be shared with the larger GCCA community.

Key achievements: 
Component 1: Planning for Climate Change (PCC) 
A Training Needs Assessment (TNA) from Sept-Oct 2015 covered 15 districts. Focal group discussions were held with representatives of 15 Water Users’ Associations (WUAs).
Following the TNA, the PCC team developed modules for the training programme: 20 modules covering areas such as i) Climate Change: science, global and national responses and the associated policies; ii) Renewable Energies and Climate Finance instruments including those captured in the Kyoto Protocol; iii) Watershed (Catchment) Management in relation to climate change; and iv) Climate Change and Irrigation. PCC also developed a specific module on climate change mainstreaming in development and in district development planning.
The validation of the training programme, including the training manual, was done by Lilongwe University for Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR); LUANAR recommended splitting the manual into a comprehensive PCC Mainstreaming Sourcebook and a workbook containing key messages and exercises.
LUANAR has been contracted to develop a specific irrigation design course on climate change to be delivered to participants from March 2017.
 
Component 2: Strengthening Community Resilience to Climate Change (SCR - CC) 
Following the training of Community Based Facilitators in August 2016, roll out of the community outreach stands at 55% of the target for 2016.
A total of 51 micro catchments have been mapped in Traditional Authorities and have formed the basis for targeting and siting the community outreach nuclei. Climate hazard maps and database system were shared with the Department of Surveys.
Farmer Field School (FFS) groups were linked to an emergency agriculture inputs support programme following effects of dry spells during the last agricultural season, where individual members accessed quality seeds of their choice through seed fairs.
Lessons learned: 
  • Component 1 : It is anticipated that the service component (Planning for Climate Change) will commence in March 2015.
  • Component 2 : the contract awarded under the Community Resilience Call for Proposals is due to commence in March 2015.
Way forward: 

Recommendations from the PSC and ROM 2016 will be carried out; Additional funding for PCC capacity building activities are being sought.

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