Climate change is already evident in Malawi. Projections for the coming decades suggest more erratic and less predictable rains, more frequent and extended dry periods and a gradual increase in average annual temperatures. The vulnerability of Malawians and their ecosystems to the adverse impacts of climate change is increasing with high population, growing poverty levels, poorly managed land, land degradation and increasing deforestation. In March 2013, the United States Government and the Government of Malawi (GoM), through the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Management, signed a Statement of Cooperation for an agreed work plan for the Enhanced Capacity for Low Emissions Development Strategies (EC-LEDS) Initiative. Through the agreed work plan, USAID/Malawi will help the GoM to lower emissions by strengthening institutional capacity for planning, formulation, implementation and monitoring for progress. Other focus areas will improve the quality, storage and utilization of greenhouse gas inventories. Apart from this, additional efforts will also support Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) activities and integrate low emission development considerations in the energy and agriculture sectors.
Other focus areas of USAID/Malawi’s Global Climate Change Initiative include climate change adaptation and supporting improved forest and agriculture land management to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
USAID/Malawi Climate Change programs build capacity of the Department of Forestry in REDD+ readiness. Through this support, a national REDD+ Expert Group has been streamlined with the National Climate Change Program governance framework. Through this structure, REDD+ readiness and implementation will be overseen in Malawi.
USAID supports a community-based Forest and Biodiversity Conservation Program to alleviate poverty and resource deprivation through forest and biodiversity conservation. The program engages a wide variety of stakeholders in different activities in order to have an improved national and sub-national capacity to participate in REDD+ pay-for-performance programs. The program will also reduce net greenhouse gas emissions from targeted landscapes and conserve biodiversity in targeted geographical locations.
USAID is finalizing a climate change vulnerability assessment to identify current and future environmental challenges through climate modeling, crop modeling, and extensive consultations with local communities to understand their vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies. The vulnerability assessment is identifying key priorities for climate change adaptation activities and opportunities to mainstream climate change across sectors. Assessment results will direct USAID/Malawi-funded adaptation activities, as well as apprise other development partners on how they can best address Malawi’s climate change challenges.
Sustainable climate change mitigation and adaptation measures can increase community and ecosystems resilience to climate change impacts.
Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Management, Department of Forestry, Department of Environmental Affairs, U.S. Forest Service
Cybill Sigler, Team Leader, Sustainable Economic Growth
Last updated: October 04, 2013